Semester 2 Check-In

Hi all!

It’s currently mid-way through Semester 2 and our MSc in GIS class has just handed in our formal Dissertation Plans. Only a few weeks of classes left and then we move into full-time dissertation project work! I can’t believe how fast this has come up!!

2017 has started off excellently – I wasn’t able to go home to Australia over the mid-semester holidays, so I stayed in Edinburgh for the winter. I got to celebrate Christmas in Scotland, had the Hogmanay fireworks right next to my dorm and went for a quick holiday trip to Norway and Sweden! The beginning of Semester 2 has been the busiest part of the year yet (if you’re an incoming student – be prepared for February to go FAST), but even though it’s meant a few late nights in the Drummond St computer labs (my second home), I’ve still had enough free time to go on some day trips to Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Fife, North Berwick and the Scottish Borders, go to weekly seminars (there’s always a great bunch on every week, in GeoSciences and beyond!), watch 6 Nations rugby matches down at the pub and catch a few really good movies! Even if sometimes it feels like there’s not enough time to do everything, it’s definitely still possible to fit in fun things around study.

I was prepared for a cold and rainy winter, but the weather in Edinburgh has stayed incredibly nice – still a lot of blue and sunny days! As an Australian, I was very excited to get two (!) days of snow…. I only wish there could have been a bit more of it 😀 But spring is fully on its way – there are flowers popping up all over town and easter eggs in the supermarkets. I’m looking forward to diving in to some project work!


Week Eight: Eight Weeks in the lab

Hello! Here are some things that have been happening in my life as a GIS Masters student so far! Study has been keeping me very busy for sure, but it’s been a good kind of busy  🙂

  • Long days in the computer labs, with your fellow students, going through the shared experience of long days in the computer labs
  • Getting to walk down the Royal Mile every day to get from my dorm to the GeoSciences building, tourist-watching and spotting new buildings I haven’t noticed before
  • Studying a huge range of really useful practical skills – GIS, SQL, Python, R, website building, project management, drones!
  • Getting to go on a field trip to Kindrogan, a remote country field centre south of the Cairngorms; a big weekend of group project work where my team headed into the woods to count trees (lots and lots of trees), but where we still got a few small windows to see some extremely nice Scottish countryside (deer, starry skies, salmon jumping up a waterfall!)
  • Eating lots of scones
  • Going on big walks to try and explore different parts of Edinburgh and sneaking in some day trips close to town – Linlithgow Castle has been my favourite so far!
  • Getting a lot of great weather for big walks around the city. Back home there’s a big misconception that Scotland is ‘grey and rainy’ all the time. Not true! There have been a lot of blue, sunny (if maybe bit colder than Australia) days.
  • Regular drinks with classmates in the library (/Library Bar)
  • Taking advantage of student memberships to the old cinemas in the city and trying to get out to see movies when I can!
  • Getting to see the Australian national rugby team play Scotland!
  • Watching the Christmas markets get set up on Princes St out my window. This year is going incredibly fast, but bring on Christmas in Edinburgh!

More introductions!

Hello! My name’s Charlie and I’ll be one of the GeoSciences students you’ll see around the blog this year.

I’m originally from Perth, Western Australia and I’m very excited to be starting at the University of Edinburgh, studying a one-year MSc in Geographical Information Science. This time last year I was at my office desk, reading this blog and dreaming about what it would be like to study here – I can’t believe that I’ve now actually made it and am sitting in my dorm room with the best view ever of the city!

I’ve come to GeoSciences from quite a different background, originally studying Physics, History and Archaeology. Since completing my undergraduate degree, I became fascinated with GIS, both in the skills it combines and its diverse range of applications and knew it was what I wanted to specialise in. This year will be an intensive (aka busy!) opportunity to build up my skills in a seriously amazing place.

Outside of university I’m into a whole range of things – Star Wars, British music, old DOS games. I also love exploring and I when I’m not buried deep in a computer lab I plan to spend my year walking around the city, seeing as much of Edinburgh (and hopefully beyond!) as possible and trying as many interesting Scottish foods as I can. I’m happy to answer any questions about Australia you might have and I can confirm that I did bring a jar of vegemite with me.


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