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School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study


Sustainable Development: Yvla

My name is Ylva and I’m in my 3rd year of an MA in Sustainable Development.

I’m taking Natural Resource Management, Global Justice & Citizenship, Nations & Nationalism, Approaches to Politics & International Relations and also Sustainable Development: Cases, International Political Economy.  

I grew up in Norway and wanted to study in the UK all the way through high school, both to experience living in another country as well as to pick up some English skills, and eventually realised that London didn’t really appeal to me. 

I studied International Relations in my first year, as I wasn’t aware of the Sustainable Development degree. I found it very easy to switch, and absolutely love how I can combine my general interest in politics with my more specific interest in environmental issues. It is truly interdisciplinary, which has allowed me to try out a wide range of subjects.

The academic year has two semesters running from September to January and January to May, with coursework throughout and any exams taking place in December and in April/May. 

All the courses specially designed for the Sustainable Development degree have been inspiring. Earth Surface Systems was challenging for me in the sense that it is closer to ‘hard science’ than anything else I have done, but it felt very satisfying to finally understand the processes talked about in environmental policy making. 

Ideally, I would like to do a Masters degree next, hopefully in Britain, and perhaps even in Edinburgh. I’m definitely in no rush to leave!

Living in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the perfect size and a great student city. You can walk or cycle almost anywhere and most places are simply beautiful.

Although I’d never been to Edinburgh, or Scotland before, I had heard so many good things about it. I found it surprisingly easy to settle in. I really enjoy going out here, and if you want a bit more excitement, Glasgow is so close. The Fringe also makes Edinburgh the best place in the world to be during August!

I lived in self-catered university accommodation in first year, and I still hang out with lots of people I met all the way back in Freshers’ Week. Living in student accommodation has its ups and downs, but even if you struggle with some of your flatmates, you learn a lot from it, especially how to respect other people and their habits. I felt it was a nice transition into living independently. The fact that Resident Assistants planned group activities was comforting in the sense that you always had something to do even if you didn’t know many people yet. 

I would recommend getting involved in the societies, simply because they offer so many relevant talks and activities for the Sustainable Development degree.

Student societies are a great way to get to know more people of course. For my degree, People and Planet and The Ecology Society have a lot of relevant events, as does the newly founded Sustainable Development Society, but I also enjoy writing for The Student - our university newspaper. There is always something going on that you can get involved in!

Yvla Longva