Originally from Canada, Nicole Moll first learned of Queen Margaret University (QMU) through the partnership Mohawk College Pathway Agreement between QMU and Mohawk College in Hamilton, Canada.
With so few public relations programmes available to her in Canada, Nicole was instantly drawn to the MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations course at QMU, in addition to the prospect of studying in one of the world's most vibrant and dynamic cities.
Tell us a little about yourself such as your hobbies/interests that are related or not related to your course of study.
In my free time, I enjoy travelling around Scotland and other parts of Europe. During my travels, I pursue my passion for food by visiting different coffee shops and restaurants in various cities. I also enjoy documenting my experiences through photography which ties into my career in communications and public relations.
Why did you choose to study at QMU and what attracted you to the course?
I chose to study at QMU because I am a part of the Mohawk College Pathway Agreement between QMU and Mohawk College in Canada. This pathway was introduced to me in 2017 and I was immediately interested because there are very few public relations-based programmes in Canada which would allow me to earn an MSc in one year.
Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh?
Edinburgh’s history and architecture played a significant role in my decision to study here. In addition, it is a fantastic hub to access transportation to other parts of Scotland and England which has made travelling affordable and simple for myself and other international students.
My interest in the entertainment and arts industry was also a factor in my decision to study in Edinburgh. I am looking forward to experiencing the Fringe festival in the summer!
What have you most enjoyed about your course? What has been your highlight?
I have enjoyed learning more about the theory behind the practical methods I have used in my previous work experience in public relations. In-class teaching sessions have also been a highlight because the majority of people in our course are international students and it adds to our education to have discussions with people who hold different opinions and perspectives.
Has there been a particular course activity you found especially interesting?
A particular course activity I found interesting was when we presented an internal communications campaign for a company to their manager. This kind of practical experience and the opportunity to hear feedback from someone currently working in public relations was invaluable.
What have been some of your challenges with the course and university life? How have you overcome them?
Balancing readings and assignments as a master’s student is always challenging. However, I have managed to overcome this by creating a ‘to do’ list every day, and by having homework sessions with my peers in order to generate discussion and dig deeper into readings.
Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?
Take part in the events that lecturers and the moderator emails will notify you about. There are many opportunities to network and this is key if you are hoping to pursue a career in public relations. Even if you are going to be moving away after a year in Edinburgh, you may meet people who could be valuable references for future jobs.
Enhancing our student learning and personal development
Have you joined any schemes/initiatives to enhance your learning and development such as a mentoring scheme, volunteering scheme, etc.?
I am the class representative for the MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations course. This has provided me with the chance to build a working relationship with my professors and attend academic council meetings which have given me insight to the inner workings of a large institution. There are also several training sessions which are provided to class reps that provide learning opportunities surrounding mental health and how to communicate effectively with peers.
If applicable, what University services have you used to support you through your journey and how have they helped you?
I have frequently visited and asked questions at the International office, and each time they have been extremely helpful! They are quick to answer any questions and have been able to refer me to the right person or department if they do not have an answer.
Life as a Student at QMU
Are you a member of a QMU club or society? If so, what was the reason behind your choice and what do you enjoy most about it?
As a student representative I am a part of the Academic Council. I enjoy hearing opinions from my classmates and having the opportunity to relay their ideas to the Academic Council at QMU so that a positive difference can be made for students.
What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student?
If you attend QMU as an international student, don’t forget that you’re in a beautiful city and country! Make sure to take time to explore and immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of Scotland. Taking this time to explore is fun, will help you to meet new people and will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by school. Take advantage of any small trips the school offers, as this experience could help you to make connections with the local community.
What has been the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned at university?
It’s important to get involved with the school, whether it is by being in a club, on a sports team or as a representative. It will help to make you feel closer to the school and ultimately has a positive effect on your confidence.
What are you plans after graduation? Tell us about your ambitions and where you see yourself in the future?
After graduation, I hope to continue to build my career in public relations. I see myself living on the east coast in Canada or in the UK in the near future. I am determined to use my education and experience in communications to take on a role which allows me to explore the world and learn something new each day.
"I have frequently visited and asked questions at the International office, and each time they have been extremely helpful!"
[Published February 2019]