Three quick questions with three second-year Linguistics PhD students – starring Lisa Gotthard, Alex Lorson and Sarah van Eyndhoven.
How did you end up pursuing a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh?
Alex: For me, this was a professional choice entirely. I knew that the university was very good for linguistics. There were also researchers in Edinburgh interested in what I do (i.e. experimental pragmatics). And then I was so fortunate as to get funding!
Lisa: I knew that there were people in Edinburgh doing the kind of research I wanted to do (i.e. in historical Scots), so it was a choice that made sense professionally. Also, I already lived in the city and knew I wanted to stay. So the choice also made sense for me personally.
Sarah: I ended up doing a PhD here because I started studying historical Scots during my undergrad and later Master’s in NZ, due to the encouragement of one of my lecturers. I became really interested in it, but found it difficult sometimes to find the documents I needed on the other side of the world! When a scholarship opened up to study historical Scots at Edinburgh I didn’t hesitate as it was the perfect choice academically but also personally. I had fallen in love with the city and country 2 years earlier while travelling, so I couldn’t be happier to be here!
What is your favourite thing about the PhD programme at Edinburgh?
Lisa: The friendly collegiality in the department! Both among the PhD students, but also between the staff and PhD students.
Sarah: My favourite thing is the large number of other students working on a PhD, and how we are brought together through various activities and opportunities – which means you really do get to know people in your cohort – and they are awesome!
Alex: I really enjoy that I have the privilege to actually focus on my own project. Of course there is teaching and admin stuff that takes some time, but other than that there is just the project. This is often very different from home (i.e. in Germany), where you are also working on other projects for your supervisors.
Describe the most surprising thing about your PhD experience so far.
Sarah: The most surprising thing for me has definitely been the huge number of opportunities. Having come from somewhere where it’s difficult to take part in much beyond what’s going on in your own city, it feels like there’s always something to get involved with, take part in or be inspired by. There’s never a dull moment in your PhD at Edinburgh it seems. The opportunities to meet other like-minded people and travel has really opened doors for me!
Alex: For me, the high level of supervision was surprising. My supervisors spend a lot of time on me – not only do they advise me on my project, but also on my career in general. That is, by suggesting training opportunities, conferences, and teaching opportunities.
Lisa: I was expecting that there would be a bigger divide between groups working in different subfields, and was therefore worried that it would be lonely working on historical linguistics. However, it turned out that this really didn’t matter. You end up sharing an office with people doing various things and make friends with them!
Find out more
If you want to know more about Lisa’s, Alex’s or Sarah’s PhD projects, check out their profile pages on the University website and get in touch!