About you

Why did you choose to study at Queen Margaret University (QMU)?

Before joining QMU, I worked in the field of international development and humanitarian assistance in countries like Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Georgia. When I started researching postgraduate courses in Scotland, I was considering Edinburgh, Strathclyde University and QMU. I finally chose QMU because I found the specific course for my interest and the programme structure was the most appealing to me. The Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD) work was also close to my interests as it conducts a lot of research related to strengthening health systems, Mental Health & Psychosocial Support  (MHPSS) and other public health issues faced by different parts of the world. The IGHD also has very strong faculty members with extensive international expertise and diverse backgrounds.

What interested you about your chosen course?

I took a long time to contemplate my options before I finally made a decision to select the MSc in Global Health at the IGHD. My decision was based on the course structure, the research work of IGHD in the field of international development and humanitarian assistance and the faculty members' work in the field of MHPSS, refugee integration and adaption and health systems strengthening.

What attracted you to study in Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is a beautiful city with very interesting history and architecture. Scotland also attracted me with its stunning nature. You get easy access to both the sea and the mountains. It reminds me of my home country with its hills and mountains.

The Course

What have you most enjoyed about your course?

What has been the highlight? I think the students and the faculty members of IGHD have been the highlight of the course. Both the students and faculty members have very diverse backgrounds – medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, nursing, social work, psychology, sociology, etc. I think this mixture of very diverse professionals in the classroom gives each student an opportunity to learn various perspectives, to be critical and open in their learning experience at QMU.

Have you participated in a course activity you found especially interesting?

The IGHD is planning an online speed networking event in May and I am looking forward to it. Plus, I really enjoyed one of my elective courses which I had in January 2021. It was Project Design and Management. I already had practical experience in the project management cycle, but this course provided me an opportunity to reflect on my current experience and skills. I believe it also filled gaps identified in my project management knowledge. I am looking forward to my remaining electives, which are very specialized courses.

How have your lecturers supported your learning?

I think the advantage to being a student in QMU is that you receive very personalised attention and close support of your lecturers due to the small class size. There are approximately 28-30 students in a class. 

What have been some of your challenges with the course and university life? How have you overcome them?

I think the biggest challenge was that we did not get a chance to interact face to face in the classroom or socialise after the classes or during the weekends due to the pandemic.

Do you have any advice for students who might be interested in applying for this course?

I think it is important to have some work experience under your belt before doing the MSc in Global Health. The practical experience you will have gained from doing that will mean you gain more out of the class discussions, readings and assignments. This is my personal belief which maybe not applicable for everyone.

The Student Experience

What QMU student services have you used (e.g. Effective Learning Service or the ‘Employer and Enterprise Mentoring Programme’ or the Wellbeing Service) to support you through your university journey and how have they helped you?

I made use of the employment and career service. They were helpful and provided me with useful information.

What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student?

I believe the students of 2020-2021 are unique in their own way due the COVID-19 pandemic. As a student representative, I reached out to students and offered support with their studies and also with arranging food deliveries during their self-isolation. I believe we should look out for each other in challenging times.

What has been the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned at university?

I believe it is all about making meaningful and lasting connections with your fellow students and faculty members.

After QMU

What are you plans after graduation? Tell us about your ambitions and where you see yourself in the future?

I am planning to apply for a PhD programme within QMU's IGHD. I would like to deepen my research knowledge and skills and continue my career in the field of academia.

"I think the advantage to being a student in QMU is that you receive very personalised attention and close support of your lecturers due to the small class size."
Ainuska Sheripkanova

[Story published in March 2021.]