God Jul / Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of you! 

I hope you are having a great time with your loved ones and have an opportunity to enjoy some quality time wherever you are!

I left Edinburgh and currently I am in the Czech Republic for Christmas and in January, I will go back to Sweden to work on my Master Thesis which I hope will be a smooth process but in any case it is a huge thing for me and I hope it won´t be too stressful. I am excited about that but affraid, too.

If you intend to apply to SLU, you should make it before the deadline on 15th of January. I will keep my fingers crossed and I hope some of the previous articles may help you with the beginnings at SLU. 

But really… now it is not time to think about university duties and application, so have wonderful Christmas time and new year full of success and happiness.

Sending greetings from Prague! Denisa

Posted in Student life | Leave a comment

Course: Management Skills and Entrepreneurship

Hi,

I would like to describe what courses I had at SRUC. I had already descibed the courses that I took here, so you can check previous articles if you want to see more.

The last course that I took at SRUC was Management Skills and Entrepreneurship. In this course, we discussed the motivation of employees, innovative process and opportunities, leadership, teamwork, idea generation, financing of businesses. We covered some important theories related to motivation, innovation or industry research. We were supposed to visit a Buffalo Farm with this course which I was very happy about because  I think it is the best how to get valuable insight into real-life business and see the people behind it, but unfortunately the trip was cancelled and we had an external lecture instead which was great but I believe that the farm would be much better experience. I think this course could have been really interesting, however, the lecturer was not really involving students into discussions and did not tell us many examples of real business which made everything more boring.

We were divided into groups to work on the business plan for our own idea. Within the group, we had to come up with the business idea and work on the plan spanning from the introduction of the product, through financing plan and market research to the future development of the product. We had to give a presentation with the group and present our product. Overal, this business plan comprised of 50% of the grade and the rest was the final exam where we were given 4 topics/questions and had to choose 2 out of them and write an essay. We had one hour and a half to finish both questions.

It is highly possible that this was my last exam ever at the university, because during the next semester, I will work on my Master thesis and during that time we have no courses scheduled. That is kind of relieving feeling but on the other hand, it is strange to see that my studies are coming to an end. Anyway, I am glad that we finished our exams before Christmas and I can think about the topic for the thesis.

Have a wonderful Christmas time,

Denisa

Posted in Student life | Leave a comment

Course: Action for Biodiversity

Hi,

I would like to describe what courses I had at SRUC. First of all, my courses here were quite different from what I study at SLU because business courses here were similar to the ones that I had already taken and there could be problems with overlapping courses eventually. But I think it was great to see something different and it gave me other perspectives and overall overview of how the environment works.

The third course at SRUC was Action for Biodiversity. Within this course, we covered various topics related to biodiversity loss and what has impacts on it, legislation and policy related to biodiversity protection, landscape changes, conservation of species and habitat, rewilding projects, biodiversity hotspots and differences between in situ and ex situ conservation. With this course, we had a possibility of going for a visit to Edinburgh ZOO which I was already writing about here and it was very a rewarding experience and I found out many important insights into ex situ conservation, what ZOOs do to conserve species and how do they do it. I think the video below can give you some of the insights, too.

We had to write an essay where we discussed how rewilding may conflict with nature conservation objectives and whether passive management is a realistic option in the UK. This topic was new to me but it was good to find out more about conservation/rewilding projects and see some successful projects that have been already done. The essay had to be 2500 words long again and we did not have to give any presentation or do any other tasks. During the exam weeks, we had to take an exam which was 50% of the final grade. We were given 4 topics/questions and had to choose 2 out of them and write an essay. We had two hours to finish both questions. I liked this system where you can choose the questions because you always have some areas with deeper knowledge hence you can show your knowledge better.

I think it is great that during Erasmus we can broaden our knowledge in the areas that we usually do not have an opportunity to get deeper into. Therefore this course was valuable for me.

Bye, Denisa

Posted in Student life | Leave a comment

Course: Global Climate Change

Hi,

I would like to describe what courses I had at SRUC. First of all, my courses here were quite different from what I study at SLU because business courses here were similar to the ones that I had already taken and there could be problems with overlapping courses eventually. But I think it was great to see something different and it gave me other perspectives and overall overview of how the environment works.

Another course at SRUC was called Global Climate Change and I really enjoyed this course because it gave me structured knowledge about the interconnectedness of global warming and its impact of the environment and organisms living in it. We broadly discussed social, environmental and economic impacts of climate change, evidence of global changes and different measurements of those changes, mitigation and adaptation strategies. We also covered differences between regions. For example, impacts of climate change are different in Asia and in Europe so we investigated how local communities are affected and what projected impacts are. In the picture below, you can see the level of CO2 emissions and within the course, we also discussed different policies that strive to reduce the level of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

Source: https://climate.nasa.gov/system/downloadable_items/43_24_g-co2-l.jpg

Also for this course, we had to write an essay where we had to evaluate how evidence of climate change gathered from a range of sources has contributed to the understanding of human influence on the climate system. The essay had to be 2500 words long and we had to use a lot of references. This was done individually and made up 50% of the final grade. Then we had to prepare a presentation about regional impacts of climate change in groups which was not graded but was helpful for the final exam. Another group task was a preparation of infographics about climate change mitigation. I found this very helpful because for our Master thesis we will have to prepare a poster and by preparing infographic, I learned how to do that. It was also interesting to see infographics of other groups.

The final exam made up 50% of the grade and exams at SRUC followed the same pattern. We were given 4 topics/questions and had to choose 2 out of them and write an essay. We had one hour and a half or two hours to finish both questions. I liked this system where you can choose the questions because you always have some areas with deeper knowledge hence you can show your knowledge better. Similarly as in Sweden, all our belongings had to be at the back of the room. We will receive the results at the end of January which is a really long time but hopefully everything is fine.

Bye, Denisa

Posted in Student life | Leave a comment

Course: Ecology: Management and Impact

Hi,

I would like to describe what courses I had at SRUC. First of all, my courses here were quite different from what I study at SLU because business courses here were similar to the ones that I had already taken and there could be problems with overlapping courses eventually. But I think it was great to see something different and it gave me other perspectives and overall overview of how the environment works.

shallow focus photography of black and yellow bee lying on flower

One of my courses was called Ecology: Management and Impact which was the course I lacked basic knowledge in ecology in, but I learned many interesting things how species live in the environment, what the interactions are between species, how they are affected by habitat change and land use change. These are probably the things that I would never find out by myself, however, I am happy to have this knowledge as it gave me completely new insights into the environment and its interactions with other living organisms, how biodiversity is vulnerable and ecosystem services essential.

We had to write a literature review on a chosen topic from the list. I wrote the literature review on “The restoration of species-rich vegetation” which was something I had hardly any knowledge but in the course of reading the literature and articles, I got fascinated by many different approaches to increase species richness. The review had to be 2500 words long and was done individually. In the second half of the course, we had to present our topic to the class, which was also graded. This together comprised 50% of the final grade and the rest depends on the final exam.

Exams at SRUC followed the same pattern. We were given 4 topics/questions and had to choose 2 out of them and write an essay. We had one hour and a half or two hours to finish both questions. I liked this system where you can choose the questions because you always have some areas with deeper knowledge hence you can show your knowledge better. Similarly as in Sweden, all our belongings had to be at the back of the room. We will receive the results at the end of January which is a really long time but hopefully everything is fine.

I think it is great that during Erasmus we can broaden our knowledge in the areas that we usually do not have an opportunity to get deeper into. Therefore this course was valuable for me.

Bye, Denisa

Posted in Student life | Leave a comment

My application process for Erasmus

Hi all,

it´s time to describe my application process for Erasmus since it was not that easy as for the others due to poor communication from SRUC´s campus. I think it is important to mention how it was for me so that in case you decide to apply for exchange studies you know that it does not have to be always a smooth process.

I applied by the SLU´s deadline which was on 1st of December 2017 and got results by the end of January. This was everything simple and smooth. I could choose 3 universities where I would like to go and I was accepted for my first choice, which was SRUC, Edinburgh. After few weeks, I wanted to inquire more information about the courses that I can choose at the host university and I wrote an email in the middle of February to SRUC to a person who was in charge with dealing with coming students. After reminders, I got an answer in the middle of March but it was not any help. I still had not received answers for my questions and other fellow students going on an exchange somewhere else already got plenty of information on how to choose courses and what to do. By the end of May, I still did not know anything and I tried to ask SLU´s mobility team whether everything is alright and they reassured me that I will receive requisite information soon. I received information about the introduction meeting, courses and basically the first official email from SRUC on 17th of August and semester started on 13th of September. Until that time I was not sure if I was really going on exchange, if they count on me or not and I did not want to buy flight tickets and accommodation before I knew for sure that the university knows about me. So I quickly had to arrange everything but luckily it was not that time-consuming.

You can see that communication and provision of information were really poor and it was quite frustrating not knowing if I go somewhere or not.

After arrival at SRUC, everything was fine as SRUC´s Education office was open every day and in case we had to find out something they were very helpful there.

Another thing that I found really annoying was receiving the grant money from SLU. After my arrival to SRUC, I immediately let all documents confirming the start of the mobility singed and uploaded them online not to prolong the process of receiving grant. However, I had not received money for a long period and I asked SLU´s mobility team whether there was some problem but had to wait for an answer for two weeks. I wrote my first email on 30th of October and received grant money on 28h of November which I consider was really late because my semester ends on 14th December. I would assume that we should receive the grant as soon as possible because at the beginning you have to pay the most, so I do not know what was the problem, but luckily everything was solved in the end.

I hope that if you go on Erasmus you will not have to face any obstacles but I also wanted to mention some possible problems that may occur but it seems that everything has some kind of solution, just you have to wait a bit longer.

Despite some occurred problems, I really enjoyed my Erasmus and I am still glad I chose SRUC but to be honest, after experiencing this university I will appreciate our SLU even more.

Bye, Denisa

Posted in Student life | Leave a comment

Castles in Scotland

Hi,

I would like to show you which castles I have visited so far. All of them are either in the surrounding of Edinburgh or in Edinburgh. Scotland is famous for its castles and you can find a lot of them, sometimes within just a short distance from each other. It is worth visiting some of them and since I bought a year membership for Scottish castles, I was able to see a lot of them.

Edinburgh Castle

Stirling Castle

These two castles are located in Edinburgh. Following ones are in the surrounding.

Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle

Dirleton Castle

Craigmillar Castle

Of course, there are many other castles too.

Bye

Posted in Student life | Leave a comment

Cost of living in Edinburgh

Hi,

I was thinking that you might be interested in living expenses here in Edinburgh.

round gold-colored and silver-colored coin lot

  • Accommodation: Surely, accommodation is the most expensive part of living anywhere, but I was surprised that the price of a room here, is very expensive, too. I assumed it might be a lot cheaper than a room in Stockholm or Uppsala, but in reality, it is not. For a room in a shared flat, you usually pay from 400£ – 500£ with bills included. It always depends on the location where you live, but this could be about appropriate range.
  • Transportation: As biking in Edinburgh is not really attractive due to lack of cycle paths and narrow streets with heavy traffic, you would probably use local buses to travel within the city. With Ridacard and student ID, it costs 48£ for 4 weeks. It includes all buses and tram in Edinburgh (a+b zones), night connection and connections to the Airport. It is about the same price as in Sweden.
  • Food: This is really individual and depends a lot on your diet and preferences. I am able to spend less than 100£ and have some tasty food. I always look for something traditionally local as I really enjoy trying new food. Maybe it is worth mentioning that I hardly ever buy meat products in the supermarkets, so that if you eat meat, the price could be higher although I do not know the prices of meat. On the other hand, I always prepare lunch boxes and do not eat out that often, so that it may give you a better overview.
  • Eating out: Going out to restaurants, pubs or cafés is not that expensive as in Sweden, in my opinion. But of course, the price of a dish in the restaurant may vary from 7£ to 20£. I would say that usually the meal is for about 10£ and beer for 4£. In cafés, coffee costs usually up to , cakes and sandwiches around 4£.
  • Travelling: Travelling to other places is not very comfortable if you want to travel to nature reserves and not to the cities. To Glasgow, it is very easy to travel with Megabus buses leaving almost every 15 minutes from Edinburgh and the price of a single ticket is around 4£ (online price). To Stirling basically, the same applies, just the frequency is much lower. Trains for these routes are less than 10£, I guess. When I wanted to do a trip to Loch Lomond, I could not find any simple connection as it would take around 3 hours to get there, with some changes and price around 25£… Unfortunately, in these cases, it is cheaper and faster to rest a car. Price of car rental may be around 40£ per day (depends a lot of the car type).

Apart from these expenses, there are no other for student union/nation as it is in Uppsala and nightlife is student-friendly with a wide range of student discounts, discounts on alcohol included.

I would say that these are the main expenses you will come across and it depends on your personal habits what the final costs could be.

I hope you found this helpful 😊

Denisa

Posted in Student life | Leave a comment

Edinburgh ZOO

Hi,

On Tuesday we had a lecture in Edinburgh ZOO with my course “Action for Biodiversity”. Or probably I should not call it a lecture as it was more like an excursion. One of the employees gave us very nice insights into the lives of animals in the context of biodiversity losses and conservation.

No automatic alt text available.

It was really rewarding experience for me because I had an opportunity to see ZOO from another perspective. We were told how much ZOO does to conserve some species, they do valuable research to find out more about the animals and cooperate with several other ZOOs in order to protect the species and breed them in captivity. After this visit I realised that ZOOs are really important part of conservation and protection of animals and even though some people may think that ZOOs are bad for animals, I know that it is a complete opposite. I found out that some species are of high conservation importance due to only small number of species left in nature and ZOO strives to do many actions to help those and on the other hand, some species are not endangered, however, attract many visitors to ZOO. For example, Visayan warty pigs are not really species that you would go to the ZOO to see but they are critically endangered, while penguins are relatively cheap to keep and present a great visitors attraction. Also, they do research with monkeys to find out more about them, but they do not force them. Monkeys can easily choose to participate in the research as the door to the lab is always open but monkeys know that they will get some treats afterward so they are motivated to stay. Clever solution.

I am really grateful that I could get these insights and know more about what ZOOs strive to achieve and how.

Bye!

Posted in Student life | Leave a comment

Education system at SRUC

Hej hej,

I would like to describe how lectures look like here at SRUC and make a comparison with SLU´s approach.

I must say that after few weeks here, I realised that studies here are not that demanding in terms of time. In Sweden, we always had to prepare and read something lecture to lecture and I basically do not remember a week without not having some assignments, group project or some other deadline. Here, we were given deadlines for essays at the beginning of each course, meaning that we have more or less one month to finish those. That gives you a lot of freedom because of course, you can schedule it according to your own deliberation.

Another thing that surprised me was that here is not a focus on group projects, which in Sweden we always had to work in groups on some project that spanned throughout the course. Here, we mainly work on essays individually. The essay usually has to be around 2500 words and we have to use not less than 12 references. Related to that, in Sweden we have to give several presentations during the semester, however, here some courses require presentation of the essay and some do not. For example, I have to write 3 essays but I will present only one and the other two just require submission.

A less satisfying thing is that lecturers here do not pay so much attention to include the students into discussion and do not raise some questions to make the lecture more interesting. Particularly, this point is not really welcoming as it is not easy to pay attention when lecturers speak in a monotonous tone and only follow the slides without mentioning any examples from the practice. To be honest, lectures here are pretty boring due to the facts mentioned above.

On the other hand, I could perceive that here is probably more attention to include some field trips or excursions into the curriculum. For example, students of the course “UK agri-food industries” went to a whisky distillery, which I believe must be a nice authentical experience. Unfortunately, with one of my courses, we were supposed to visit a buffalo farm, however, the trip was cancelled due to staffing problems on the farm, I was very disappointed by this as I was really looking forward to seeing the reality of some business and have some insights. Luckily, this week, we will go to Edinburgh ZOO for an excursion, which I hope will be really rewarding.

So far, I cannot say anything about the exams because they are scheduled for December.

I hope you are doing fine.

Denisa

Posted in Student life | Tagged , , | Leave a comment