Student Profiles

Andrea – MSc Sustainable Energy and Environment

Why did you choose to study a postgraduate degree at Cardiff University?

I decided to study at Cardiff University because it is one of the best universities in the UK, mainly for research. I was interested to a topic related to renewable energy and looked for several postgraduate programmes around the UK, however the one at Cardiff University was the best in terms of topics and structure.

Additionally, I am from Mexico and I was nervous about going to a completely different country away from my family. At the end, I did some research and realised that Wales was a very safe place and people were very friendly, so it was a great option not to feel alone.

How was your experience as a postgraduate at Cardiff University, in terms of the programme?

I chose this specific programme because it was very attractive in terms of the topics, everything looked very interesting.  At the beginning it was difficult for me to adapt to another language and although I have been learning English since I was a kid, the accent was different. However, it is just a matter of weeks that you adapt to the accent and it gets easier.

One of the most important things was that the course was interdisciplinary, and that was the best part of it, as it gave me the chance to meet people from all over the world and from different backgrounds, not just engineering. I realised the importance of not just having a good programme but being in a place where you can hear different opinions with different perspectives and learn from every single one of them.

Additionally, during my time studying the programme, we went to visit plants, sites and we had experiments in the lab, which made the programme more dynamic and interesting.

Then, while I was finishing my masters I realised I was passionate about research and I decided to continue and do a PhD in the same topic I was working on.

How was your experience of living in Cardiff, in terms of the city, social life and accommodation, again specifically as a postgraduate student?

All my experience in Cardiff has been positive. I come from Mexico City, which has a population of 26 million people and you can be stuck in traffic for hours and I wanted something different. I love that everything in Cardiff is within walking distance and that I can go running to Bute Park or Roath and be surrounded by trees and nature.

At the beginning, I signed up for the activities with Give it a Go to get to know more about Wales and the UK and there is always something to do here, from waterfalls to small towns to beautiful beaches and amazing hiking trails.

About social life, I did make a lot of friends during my programme, friends that we are still together after two years of finishing the masters. I think that the Students’ Union is very helpful with this, the University is always organising events to meet people.

Also, the passion for sports in Cardiff is the best part for me. I love football and see the passion in every pub for rugby and football reminds me of home. Everyone singing, people on the streets and having fun.

My experience about accommodation was good as well, I stayed in private halls and it was great, people were really nice and the location was perfect!

What was different about your postgraduate experience at Cardiff University compared to your previous degree?

From the beginning you start working on your final project which becomes the most important thing and when you finish it the satisfaction is unbelievable.

Mainly the structure, as a postgraduate student you have more responsibility, it might seem as more free time but it is because they are expecting more from you.

Also, the dynamic was different, I had the lectures but also the University records them so that was for your exams or any other assignment you can easily access the online portal and get the answer.

How did you fund your postgraduate degree?

I am funded by the Mexican Government.

How do you think that your postgraduate degree is helping prepare you for the future – job aspirations, career development, future study etc?

I feel that thanks to my MSc I manage to understand the world of renewable energy and gain a better understanding about the difference between the jobs in the industry and academia.

I am sure that my job opportunities increased and I discovered a passion for research that didn’t know was there.

I had the option during that year to develop a project on my own and I wanted to continue to that, thanks to this was at the end of my masters that I realised how passionate I was about research and decided to stay for the PhD.