School of Social and Political Science

Suzie Loader


MSc Africa and International Development

  • Age: 31
  • Graduated: 2020
  • Winner of Best Overall Performance in MSc Africa and International Development in 2020

Studying at the School of Social and Political Science

What made you choose to study at the University of Edinburgh?

I chose to study at the University of Edinburgh for a number of reasons: Edinburgh is a beautiful city, the course looked fascinating and the Centre of African Studies has a great reputation.

How have you enjoyed your programme?

It's been a particularly bizarre year with both the pandemic and industrial action, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the course and gained a lot from it.

My background is in the arts and not political science, so I have loved the challenge of being outside of my comfort zone and learning something new.

What has been your favourite course?

I'm really pleased that I chose to study Swahili as one of my electives – it's a lovely language and the lecturers are fantastic.

I'd also thoroughly recommend both Humanitarianism and the Media and Digital Activism as both were topical, fascinating and the lecturer was utterly brilliant.

Aims for after University?

In these strange times I'm not really sure what I want to do next – I'm teaching media studies for the moment and am using some of the content I learned as part of my MSc, but once things return to normal, who knows!

What does a typical weekday look like for you as a student at SPS?

I don't think I really got to see what a 'typical' weekday looked like! Prior to lockdown and the strikes, I had lectures at the Old College, Lister and Chrystal Macmillan Building' (CMB), and often met my friends in the David Hume study spaces or CMB cafe between classes. I loved being able to walk to campus and often got coffee on my way.

During lockdown, I set up my computer in my flat in the morning, worked for a few hours and then gave myself time in the afternoon to walk and explore the city.

What are your highlights from your time at the School of Social and Political Science?

Although I wasn’t able to travel for my dissertation, I still thoroughly enjoyed the research process. I found my topic fascinating and had an incredibly supportive dissertation supervisor – my personal tutor was brilliant too and checked in with all of my cohort weekly.

I’m thrilled (and surprised!) to have won a prize for my overall performance this year, but it is testament to the support and guidance I have had from my lecturers.

Attending the SPS Ceilidh and Burns Supper were experiences I won't forget in a hurry - I’m just sad we didn't have chance to celebrate properly at the end of the year!

Knowing what you do now, what would you say to your past self before starting the course?

Things won't go to plan, but that's nothing to panic about!

University life

What has your University experience been like, in just three words?

Challenging, unexpected and fascinating.

Where have you lived while studying at Edinburgh?

Having lived on my own for a number of years, I chose to live in my own flat in the Calton Hill area. I absolutely loved it – friendly and not too far from campus, it was ideal for me.

If you recommend ONE thing to do in the first semester what would it be?

Go to a ceilidh – it's a great opportunity to meet people in a situation where no one knows exactly what is going on!

The City of Edinburgh

What are your favourite things to do in Edinburgh at the weekend?

The Pentlands is great for a walk (as is the Hermitage, Arthur’s Seat, Portobello, Leith – there are so many options close to the city!) and there are some lovely beaches a short drive away.

The Hermitage was my favourite spot to go for a walk to clear my head and make sense of the essays I was writing.