Q&A with MSc students

In February, Mattia had a Q&A session with his peers and I believe we now have an overview of their lives as PhD students. This time, I have asked my MSc friends several questions – featuring Crystal Cheung (MSc Applied Linguistics), Stephanie Araya (MSc Developmental Linguistics), Hannah Li (MSc English Language) and Radim Lacina (MSc Psychology of Language).

1. Why did you choose to pursue your degree here at the University of Edinburgh?

Crystal: I did my Master’s here because firstly I am interested in Linguistics, and UoE is very famous for its linguistics. I think it would be a good addition to my academic background, I would be able to learn a lot here and receive top quality training. Secondly, I really like the city and the UK itself, I would like to venture outside of my comfort zone and do my Master’s overseas. I love understanding different cultures and experiencing new things.

Stephanie: I always knew if I wanted to pursue a master’s degree in linguistics it had to be at the University of Edinburgh, even before graduating from my BA back in my country. The reason for this is that PPLS offers a wide range of programs in Linguistics, all equally interesting and interdisciplinary.

Hannah: Because of the culture and history of Edinburgh, and the great academic reputation of UoE.

Radim: I chose to study at the University of Edinburgh because the programme of MSc Psychology of Language allowed me to have an intensive one-year course that was very specific and fit my research interests perfectly.

2. What is your favourite thing about the MSc programme at Edinburgh?

Crystal: My supervisor! She is a very kind, nice person who guides me through my academic ventures, gives advice on my future career and course choices, and answers my questions quickly and thoroughly. I came back to my hometown during the outbreak of COVID-19 and the closing of the university, and I was very surprised and grateful to see her emailing me just to check up on me.

Stephanie: I think it would have to be its interdisciplinary aspect. Not only we have the chance to have professors from different areas of linguistics or psychology instructing us, but also there is room for interaction with people from different backgrounds. Interesting academic relations arise and studying a phenomenon from many different perspectives is very exciting and the future of our field.

Hannah: Staff members who helped me in every way, as well as students who share the same interests as me.

Radim: The most valuable thing I have learnt so far, I think, has been the two statistics and methodology courses that not only significantly improved my workable knowledge of how to use and interpret statistics, but also taught me how to conduct analyses myself in the programming language R.

3. Tell us something interesting or surprising about your one-year study here.

Crystal: I didn’t anticipate that there were programme reps. They were very helpful, and they reflected our opinions quickly to the programme directors, who immediately made changes to our courses and programmes. I still remember that one of our courses were unable to find a big enough lecture-room to house all of the students and had to cancel the first two lectures. We conveyed our opinions towards the programme reps as we were worried that the arrangements might affect our learning. This was quickly and efficiently solved by the office staff, who immediately found a suitable room the week after. The arrangement, as it turned out, did not affect our learning at all. The PPLS student-teacher system is amazing and well-organized to face such sudden challenges.

Stephanie: The passionate community in PPLS. I never thought I would meet so many bright people with lots of ideas from different educational and cultural backgrounds. I am really happy to have found a like-minded community where we all share a passion for Linguistics. I would also add the fact that the PPLS graduate school is very supportive and innovative to give us the best academic but also social experience.

Hannah: I didn’t consider that our teachers would deliver the lessons in such a critical and provocative way, and I really appreciate how they question common knowledge.

Radim: I didn’t think I would have as much freedom in choosing my courses and I was also very much pleasantly surprised by the ability to audit courses easily.

4. What do you plan to do after completing your degree?

Crystal: I am not sure. I might do further study, and I might find a job first. The pandemic has made a lot of things uncertain and unexpected, but I’m sure we can get out of it!

Stephanie: Pursuing a PhD is something that I would very much like to do and I feel the master’s has opened my mind onto research areas that I hadn’t thought of before. I would also like to take these new skills and work on bringing bilingualism to the front of different discussions in my country, as this is an imminent reality of the current world.

Hannah: I want to be a teacher who can be helpful for my students.

Radim: I am currently planning on continuing my studies at the PhD level working on the research topic I am exploring for my dissertation.

If you have any other questions, comment below and we will try our best to answer your queries!