Dina Kokina, MSc Education 2011
'This programme offers a good range of optional courses, pay great attention to them and do not be afraid to try something new, even something quite opposite to your core modules - you will be pleasantly surprised!'
Why did you choose the University of Edinburgh and the programme you studied?
I had received offers from 3 UK universities but I chose to study at Edinburgh because of its reputation, ranking and location. I had some knowledge and experience of working in education and this programme offered me further enhancement of educational administration skills, the opportunity to broaden my understanding of global educational policies and practices, and allowed me to build up my research skills.
What did you enjoy most about your degree?
I think there are three main aspects of my programme I enjoyed most. First, all the lecturers and tutors were amazing, friendly and helpful. The programme director helped me to shape my individual study programme. All teaching staff were open for discussions and always encouraged students to ask questions. Second, the environment in the school is as such that a new student never feels isolated or lonely, or homesick at any point. You will receive invitations to different social events including a ceilidh. And third, students here are given access to all the facilities necessary for the successful completion of their studies. A large library, spacious and well-equipped gym and swimming pool, as well as atmospheric social places such as the student unions where you can meet with friends.
What specific skills did you develop whilst studying with us?
I am glad I was able to build up my research skills as that was something I had never practised before studying here. I interviewed former Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) officers, some heads of local schools and colleges. It was hard, time-consuming work to transcribe interviews, analyse and interpret data, but this experience helped me to develop as a researcher, someone who has been in the ‘field’.
As there were many students from around the world and myself being in a new country I had a great opportunity to upgrade my communication and interpersonal skills, to learn about different cultures and traditions.
Why would you recommend the degree to other students?
I would recommend this degree for those students who wish to connect their professional life with the educational sphere. I think the degree is great for career advancement as it helps to extend your theoretical knowledge within the field and the programme allows students to build up their research skills.
What did you enjoy most about your time at the University of Edinburgh?
I enjoyed brilliant opportunities organised by Edinburgh Global, including trips to visit some amazing places all around Scotland. I also enjoyed all learning visits to local schools and colleges, as well as a visit to the Scottish Parliament. I was close to the University’s gym and swimming pool and it was very handy to go for a break there just to recharge your brain after long hours in the library. I lived in the centre of the historic Old Town so every day my journey to University was like a fairy tale journey with castles, old houses, cobbled footpaths, and with that amazing feeling that so many interesting things are waiting for me – just around the corner!
How did your experience at Edinburgh help you get where you are today?
After graduating I returned to my home country and within half a year time started working in a well-established educational organisation. I was lucky to be offered this job and I think my education degree was a huge positive factor for my future employer. In my job, I was attending international educational conferences and sometimes hosted visiting professors or researchers from abroad. I felt so proud and grateful to my alma mater and all the lecturers and tutors that I was able to discuss current educational agendas with scholars from around the globe at the professional level.
If you could offer any advice to new or current students what would it be?
This programme offers a good range of optional courses, pay great attention to them and do not be afraid to try something new, even something quite opposite to your core modules - you will be pleasantly surprised!