Ashinsa from Sri Lanka was lucky enough to visit us from one of our transnational education partners, the Spectrum Institute of Science and Technology. She shares her Edinburgh Napier experience and her thoughts on Edinburgh as she hopes to return in the near future.
Gaining an Edinburgh Napier degree from the comfort of my own home
I’ve loved biology ever since I was a child and I knew biology was what I wanted to pursue my future career in. Growing up in Sri Lanka, I wanted an undergraduate programme that allowed me to stay in Colombo for the entirety of its duration. Thus, I found Spectrum Institute of Science and Technology (SIST), which is the partner of Edinburgh Napier University in Sri Lanka. The microbiology and biotech programme they offered seemed very interesting and covered a variety of topics.
The permanent teaching staff at SIST are excellent in their handling and delivery of the module content. Lectures and practicals are conducted methodically and on time. They often go out of their way to help students who are having difficulties comprehending certain sections and are sure to make themselves available whenever needed.
Thus far, my favourite modules have been Molecular Genetics and Immunology (level 9). I’m quite eager to start all the level 10 modules as I think they sound extremely interesting.
Future career goals
I would definitely like to continue my higher studies. However, before I do, I hope to work in Sri Lanka for a few years, preferably in environmental microbiology or a similar field. I feel as though ‘real life’ experience is necessary moving forward. In 2-3 years (ideally), I hope to do a PhD, possibly outwith Sri Lanka. I feel my course will be immensely helpful in gaining experience in laboratory techniques and correct research methodology for future use.
The opportunity to travel to Edinburgh
I was given the opportunity to visit Edinburgh through the Small Project and Mobility Grant, awarded by Edinburgh Napier. The project aims to provide students with a glimpse of student life in Edinburgh and allowed me to compare the similarities and differences between the programme in Colombo and Edinburgh. It was the first time I travelled entirely on my own, which was an interesting experience.
Edinburgh Napier at a glimpse
"Students at the University should consider themselves very fortunate."
Edinburgh Napier University is wonderful! The faculty and staff were very welcoming and friendly, often going out of their way to make my visit special. While I was based at Sighthill, I had the pleasure of seeing all 3 campuses. Merchiston, with its lovely tower and Craiglockhart, with its sprawling lawn and War Poets display. Both were very memorable. The facilities Sighthill had to offer, from coffee shops to student lounges, were quite a novel experience.
The University definitely exceeded my expectations. I was blown away by the facilities the campuses have to offer. Everything is provided for Edinburgh Napier students, from Wi-Fi, computers, study rooms, cafes and lounges. Everything one would need to lead a life as a student is available. Students at the University should consider themselves very fortunate.
Edinburgh is a wonderful city
Edinburgh itself is a wonderful city. I love how it feels both historic and young simultaneously. The architecture is beautiful, and its rich literary heritage is something I truly enjoy. The weather is very unpredictable, which can be challenging until one gets used to it. The trams and buses make transport within the city very convenient. I like that one can get away from the busy city-centre with a 40-minute drive out to the surrounding hills and be the only person around for miles.
Things to see and do
I visited many places in Edinburgh, determined to make the most of my time there. I walked up Calton Hill and had a panoramic view of the city. I visited the National Portrait Gallery and the Rembrandt exhibition at National Galleries of Scotland, which, as an ardent admirer of Rembrandt’s work, was a great experience. I went to the Writer’s museum and learned more about three of Scotland’s finest authors - Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns. I saw one of the greatest feats of genetics in Dolly the sheep at the National Museum of Scotland. Greyfriars Bobby, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace and Surgeons' Hall Museums were all visited or seen at some point during my many walks around the city. I was also fortunate to witness the annual Riding of the Marches parade, with its splendid pipe bands and majestic 280 horses.
A trip to the highlands
"I fell a little more in love with Scotland"
My most enjoyable experience was the day trip to the Highlands. I visited Loch Ness, which was a dream of mine, and fed a ‘hairy coo’. I found the mountains and scenery absolutely beautiful and I fell a little more in love with Scotland. I also did a hike in the woods surrounding Loch Lomond, which was lovely.
I will return to Scotland..
Scotland exceeded my expectations. Everyone told me it was a beautiful country and that Edinburgh was a beautiful city. While I didn’t doubt it, I didn’t expect the beauty of Scotland to have the high impact it did. It is a stunning country. I also enjoyed hearing the Scottish accent, which I find very pleasant! I feel as though my story with Scotland has just begun and I know I’ll be back in the future!