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Meet our Postgraduate School Rep: Xiaotong Ma

MSc student Xiaotong tells us why she stood in the Students' Association Postgraduate Elections, and how Translation Studies at Edinburgh has opened her mind to critical thinking.

Student representation plays an important role in the continuous improvement of student life at the University of Edinburgh.  

Photo of Xiaotong Ma
Xiaotong Ma is an MSc student in Translation Studies

In October 2019, Translation Studies student Xiaotong Ma successfully stood for election as the Postgraduate School Rep for the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) in the Students' Association Postgraduate Elections for 2019/20.

Elected Student Representatives (or ‘Reps’) gather students’ views about various aspects of their studies and University life in general, communicating this feedback to staff members, and working together with them to bring about change.

Talking to us about why she decided to stand, Xiaotong says that - as a student from China - it was partly a way to push herself outside of her comfort zone and do something alongside her academic work.

“I’ve found that it is very common for Chinese students to be shy. I mean most of us are reluctant to communicate more with students from other nations, maybe out of lack of confidence. It is a golden opportunity for me to challenge myself.”

Outside study, I don’t want to be idle all year round. I need to do something useful and helpful; try my best to negotiate the problems put forward by students so that I can really ‘represent’ them. I hope everything will go well”.

‘Alive’ while thinking

Xiaotong is doing a one-year masters programme in Translation Studies, the most enjoyable aspect of which she says “is that I [can] gradually transform my thoughts. In China, in most cases, we absorb the knowledge that teachers try to impart, but we don’t have critical thinking. Studying in the UK, everything has changed.”

“It’s not enough to merely digest knowledge from classes. What we should do is think critically! I can feel that I am going to be a person who has the ‘real ability’ to think. I am ‘alive’ while thinking.”

If you are a postgraduate student in LLC with an issue you'd like Xiaotong to help with, you can email her at any time.

Are you interested in Translation Studies at Edinburgh?

The University of Edinburgh is an official Higher Education (HE) Language Partner of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and an official member of the SDL University Partner Program. With a wide range of languages offered, our one-year taught Masters programme will enhance your practical skills in, and theoretical understanding of, translation as an activity. We also offer expert supervision in PhDs in Translation Studies. 

Find out more about Translation Studies at Edinburgh

Related links

Find out more about Reps on the Students' Association website

Read our interview with Dr Charlotte Bosseaux on delving into the art of translation