MSc Environmental Sustainability stories

MSc Environmental Sustainability student, Alexandra Bantock, talks about her love for Edinburgh and the support offered to her by Edinburgh Napier University during lockdown

Tell us a bit about yourselfMSc Environmental Sustainability student Alexandra Bantock

My name is Alex Bantock, I am a 24 year-old international student who has called Edinburgh her home for the past four years. I am currently doing my master’s in Environmental Sustainability, a new-found love which I hope to share with all those around me.

Why did you choose to study at Edinburgh Napier University?

After spending four years doing my BSc Molecular Genetics undergrad in Edinburgh, like most people, I had formed a strong attachment to the city. However, as an international student, the concept of studying further felt far-fetched as postgraduate programmes are often so costly. However, Edinburgh Napier University gave me the opportunity to pursue my growing passion, by providing a top-class programme that is more affordable.

What attracted you into studying your course?

Following my graduation, I found myself looking for a direction, being unsure of whether biological research was my field. I have always had a sustainable mindset, which I felt was growing stronger with each passing day surrounded by the doom-and-gloom of climate change. It often left me feeling helpless and that I needed to play a role in the fight somehow. When I stumbled across the Environmental Sustainability programme, I knew it was for me. The acceptance of any academic background coupled with the programme’s real-world and practical approach to sustainability made me confident that I would really be able to apply myself and engage in this new subject.

Do you have any highlights of studying at Edinburgh Napier University?

My time studying at Edinburgh Napier University, albeit virtual, has been an amazing experience. I have been able to fully immerse myself in a completely new field, and despite sometimes feeling out of my depth, I have been supported and uplifted by all of the academic staff. I am learning completely new skills, such as building design and energy modelling in the Building Energy Performance module, as well as integrating waste mitigation actions into my everyday life for my Waste Management coursework, a 2-in-1!

Have you faced any challenges?

I started my studies during lockdown, which has not been an ideal beginning to my postgraduate experience. Online learning has been a big adjustment and I am really missing the in-person contact of lectures, being on campus and meeting new people. However, I am getting used to the virtual learning environment and it is sometimes quite nice to be able make myself a cup of tea and sit down a couple of minutes before a lecture!

Would you recommend the course to others? If so, why?

I would highly recommend the MSc Environmental Sustainability course to others. I have been blown away by how much I am enjoying the course content already and I can feel that it is impacting my everyday life in a positive way too, rather than the information being bound by a textbook. If you have any interest in sustainability or the built environment, this course is definitely something to consider. After all, it is the future, so why would you not want to get involved?

What key skills have you learned from your university experience?

I have already broadened my skillset from learning how to use building design and energy modelling simulation software to understanding proper waste and water resource management techniques. However, my studies are still a long way from completion, so I am really looking forward to all that is to come.

Can you sum up your student experience living in Edinburgh?

Unfortunately, my time at Edinburgh Napier so far has spanned the lockdown, however, I have still been able to experience the beauty of the city through walks through the many parks and gothic streets.

What advice would you give to anyone considering study the course?

I would say: trust that your passion will be enough. I came into the course without an architectural or geological background and often found that I was doubting myself and my abilities. However, I soon learnt that diversity in the built environment is in fact needed and that the integration of different backgrounds provides the opportunity for change and growth. Adapting to a new field will always be tough, but any interest or passion that you have will always fuel your learning and ultimately your success!

What’s next for you?

As I have just begun to immerse myself in this new field, my career prospects aren’t quite evident yet. However, the programme has opened so many doors and I can possibly see myself working as a sustainability consultant, helping companies to put their most sustainable foot forward.

What support did you find available to you from Edinburgh Napier University as an International Student?

Edinburgh Napier University provided online webinars and introductory sessions prior to the start of the programme to make us feel more comfortable with our studies, student life and to answer any questions that we had. The International Support Team also helped me with my Tier 4 Student Visa application by providing me with all of the necessary information and proofreading the application form with me before it was submitted.