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SPS student voices and experiences
Melissa joins the blog!

Melissa joins the blog!

Hi! My Name is Melissa and I’m a postgraduate student studying International Relations of the Middle East!

I’m from the United States, just outside New York. I studied as an undergraduate at American University in Washington, DC where I specialised in International Studies and Arabic, graduating last year, before moving to Edinburgh this September.

I’m part of the Supply Chain Justice working group of Amnesty International, which is essentially just a society focused on advocating for better international human rights in the production of goods. We have been trying to raise awareness, and held events such as a sustainable Halloween Fashion show, and an ethical chocolate sale on Valentine’s Day! We had our meetings in the Law School last semester which was pretty cool – I got to see how gorgeous the law school classrooms were without having to study law!

I also enjoy swimming in the pool at St. Leonard’s Land (one of the University’s sports buildings), going for walks in the Meadows, and going out to dinner at cool new restaurants (when my bank account allows!). I have done a lot of fun window-shopping at all the bookstores around Edinburgh, and I love how many cute coffee shops there are near campus!

The Meadows
The Meadows in its resplendent Spring beauty

I’m really enjoying my course, so far. My favourite class last semester was Political Contestation with Professor Ewan Stein. I really enjoyed the content we studied, and thought the readings were super interesting. My class was small (only 16 people), and I found Professor Stein to be approachable, kind, and good at fostering discussion.

This semester my favourite class is Gender and Media in the Arab World, with Professor Ebtihal Mahadeen. This class is actually in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, which isn’t included in the School that I study in, Social and Political Science. I find it’s pretty common to take classes outside of the school of SPS in my Masters, and I know that there are options to do so for undergraduates too.

I live near campus in University accommodation. This has been really nice, and has made it easy to meet new people – I made most of my friends during the first week at the accommodation events. I made three of my best friends during an pub quiz hosted by our accommodation, where we won enough money to buy each of us a toaster from Tesco. I live with six other people, one of those people being my current best friend in Edinburgh, Gwyn.

Gwyn and I live in the same flat, often share Tesco dinners, and have together eaten eight wedges of parmesan in the past two months (we have a tally). Gwyn is from Canada and is studying Biotechnology, which is cool because it’s so different from my course, so now I’ve learned a lot more about biology and technology.

Gwyn plays futsal, so I go to her matches whenever they’re in Edinburgh, which has been fun to watch. In the first semester we travelled up to Isle of Skye and to Loch Ness with Erasmus, which was great.

I’ve loved my experience at Edinburgh so far – keep following the blog to hear more!

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