Sofia's student experience

A Greek student talks about her studies at Edinburgh Napier.

Sofia Papaioannou, MSc Wildlife Biology & Conservation P/T

"What I like the most is the bike ride along the canal which basically links all three campuses together."

My lectures take place at Sighthill which is also where most sport societies are. However, a lot of my course field trips have taken me to the Craiglockhart campus and I use Merchiston’s library a lot because I live close by. The Jack Kilby Computing Centre at Merchiston campus is open 24 hours, so it’s bound to keep me company at some point during my studies. What I like the most is the bike ride along the canal which basically links all three campuses together. Given that I like to stop to admire the ducks and birds, being on the bike has given me the liberty to enjoy beautiful scenery while exercising on the side.

"When I first arrived, I needed help with my transition to Scotland. I booked an appointment with ENSA student advice and got all the guidelines I needed towards a smooth transition to my life here."

When I first arrived, I needed help with my transition to Scotland. I booked an appointment with ENSA student advice and got all the guidelines I needed towards a smooth transition to my life here. I’ve also attended different workshops to help brush up on my academic writing skills since it had been a couple of years since I studied at university. It is amazing how with only a few hours of group interactive workshops all the knowledge came back and I got a new insight into searching and organising different articles.

"The structure of the programme is perfectly balanced between providing us with the necessary academic skills and background knowledge whilst implementing them in practical projects."

Coming from Athens it seemed only natural for me to continue my studies in the "Athens of the North". I was working as a pharmacist back in Greece, however, it wasn’t really where my heart was. Researching through opportunities for further studies I came across Edinburgh Napier University’s Wildlife Biology and Conservation MSc. The course seemed too good to be true as it combined all the principals I was looking for. The structure of the programme is perfectly balanced between providing us with the necessary academic skills and background knowledge whilst implementing them in practical projects. We learn the required taxonomic identification of the surrounding wildlife and the statistical analysis of data. 

Tips from our students

If you're thinking about joining Edinburgh Napier University, read advice from our international student ambassadors.

What has struck me so far has been the "hands-on" approach of the University. Nothing is taught inside an imaginary sphere- ID skills and wildlife conservation case studies and examples are provoked throughout."

What has struck me so far has been the "hands-on" approach of the University. Nothing is taught inside an imaginary sphere- ID skills and wildlife conservation case studies and examples are provoked throughout. Professional assessments and development proposals have taken the place of traditional exams. We’ve had key speakers from different conservation areas and past MSc students come in and talk to us about their work and experience. The barrier between teaching staff and students is certainly gone- everyone is approachable and happy to engage in any issue you might be struggling with. I’m really looking forward to how the programme will unfold as I’ve chosen to study part-time. For me, it was crucial to be able to attend part-time as I wanted to continue working and also enhance my ecological background through the numerous volunteer positions and plant ID workshops Scotland has to offer.

"Scottish tradition and history are embedded in Edinburgh while an international atmosphere surrounds the city and never lets you feel like a foreigner."

Nobody really prepares you for living inside a postcard. I had heard about how beautiful Edinburgh and Scotland were but the reality didn’t really hit me before coming here. Many a time I have stopped to admire a beautiful sunset, even when I’m in a hurry, or just the view of Arthur’s Seat. The city in itself is quite magical and manages to perfectly balance the old and the new. Scottish tradition and history are embedded in Edinburgh while an international atmosphere surrounds the city and never lets you feel like a foreigner. Edinburgh is also a great spot to have as a base towards exploring the amazing Scottish outdoors. Inverness, Loch Lomond, Isle of Skye and many more are ideal locations to explore during the weekends.

"Hearing the different key speakers I’ve met so far throughout my studies talk so vividly about their work and interests have motivated me again into thinking that a dream job within the environmental sector is actually possible."

I plan on staying in Scotland while I finish my studies. My focus lies in marine mammals, however, seeing how the programme unfolds I’ve already started developing new interests and I’ll see where they take me. My Master’s allows me to work on my thesis in anyplace I chose and I’ll explore different options to join a meaningful project to me. I'm looking forward to gaining new tools and knowledge within conservation and biodiversity and gear them towards where my interests lie. Hearing the different key speakers I’ve met so far throughout my studies talk so vividly about their work and interests have motivated me again into thinking that a dream job within the environmental sector is actually possible.

Study with us