Alumni Services

Pilar Luque

Pilar Luque remembers her time with a touch of poetic romance, and explains how her Edinburgh education made subsequent career choices much easier.

Name Pilar Luque

French and European History

Year of Graduation 1992
Pilar Luque

Your time at the University

I first went to Edinburgh in August 1986 as I was attending a summer course for translators and simultaneous interpreters at Heriot-Watt University when they were still based in Chambers Street. My own university, Catholic University of Paris, had an exchange programme with them and we were recommended to attend such courses during the summer. I instantly fell in love with Edinburgh and with university life. I enjoyed the Edinburgh festivals as well as Scottish history and culture. I then decided I wanted to spend a whole academic year in Edinburgh once I finished my degree back in Spain.

I got a grant after numerous interviews and tests and moved to Edinburgh in October 1991, becoming one of the first Spaniards to be part of the Erasmus group of students. I thoroughly enjoyed campus life in Pollock Halls of Residence where I stayed until I graduated in 1992. Everything was new to me as tutorials and essays did not exist in Spanish university life.

Socially, I thoroughly enjoyed the University balls and the Students' Unions, which, again, do not exist in Spain. Edinburgh is also a city where you can feel history in every corner of it. One could imagine John Knox talking to assembled crowds about Mary Queen of Scots while simulatenously imagining Queen Elizabeth II throwing a summer party in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

And then there's that unique and permanent smell of beer brewing in the Edinburgh air, and the majesty of Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument and Castle Hill all being rocked by the unceasing sound of trains arriving into Waverley Station.

Experience as much as you can and open your ears to the ideas and thoughts of other people around you, especially tutors and older students.

Pilar Luque

Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University

Since I left the University, finding a job has never been a problem. Edinburgh has such a high reputation within and outside the United Kingdom, and I had also acquired a very good level of English after living there for 10 years. People even tell me that they can perceive a little Scottish twang in my spoken English.

During five years of professional experience in Edinburgh, I worked in very different sectors: teaching, translating, and sales and banking, all thanks to two main skills I acquired and mastered at the University: essay writing and public speaking.

Once I returned to Spain the main skill which has served me best has been mastering the English language, and I have again been able to work in very varied sectors: education, Internet, tobacco, banking, the media, gambling, and oil and gas.

I currently work as a Translator for Repsol, one of the biggest oil and gas multinationals in the world.

Alumni wisdom

Experience as much as you can and open your ears to the ideas and thoughts of other people around you, especially tutors and older students.