Spotlight | MSc Marine Science & Climate Change

Student Emma Hall

Emma Hall

Emma is a student on the Masters in Marine Science and Climate Change course at the University of Gibraltar. Originally from Birmingham in the UK, Emma had obtained her a degree in English Literature at the University of Exeter and spent some time working before deciding that she wanted to retrain and specialise in environmental policy. It was through her search for a course that would deliver exactly what she was seeking that she found the University of Gibraltar. Emma spoke to us about her choice of university and her experiences so far:

Why did you decide to study at the University of Gibraltar?

After my degree I went to work as a policy advisor at a regional authority which in the UK has a pretty wide remit, and I worked as a policy advisor on environmental issues. As part of this I took a short course on plastics in the oceans and discovered a passion for the environment and in particular for the marine environment and how it is affected by changes in the climate. I was particularly interested in how policy is developed and applied and the issues that influence policy and so I wanted a course where I could develop an in-depth understanding of the subject which I could then apply in a future career in environmental policy.

Did you find that the course met those expectations?

I find the course fantastic; I couldn’t ask for anything more. It is challenging, and our teachers are steadily pushing us to exert ourselves to do our very best, yet at the same time, they are incredibly supportive, so that all the time you grow a belief in yourself and a thirst to work hard. I really liked the balance of the marine science and the policy aspect of the course which really addresses what I wanted to learn. I love the diversity of the subject matter and the way that it does gear students towards the job market.

How do you find the facilities at the University?

I found the location amazing – I had never been to Gibraltar before and I was unsure what to expect other than I knew that it was a small place. The university is compact but the building is stunning – a beautiful fusion with old and new – and the facilities are great. As students, we have wanted for nothing, not in the labs, nor in the practicals out at sea. It was also great that even though it was a new course, everything was in place and ready for our studies to begin.
Being in a small group of students has been particularly helpful. I found that the tutors have been supportive and all the university staff have quickly taken on board comments so that the university itself is learning and growing, and you feel a part of that development. In the UK, universities are vast and it’s easy to feel that you are just a number. It’s all much more personal here, and you feel you really do matter to the teaching staff and the rest of the University team.

What aspects of University life and Gibraltar have you found the most interesting?

And it’s been really interesting moving out to Gibraltar, finding my own place to rent and becoming part of a local community that speaks English but is different to the community at home. I love that people are friendly and you quite quickly get to know the people you see regularly – no-one is scared of smiling or saying ‘hi’! It’s nice to travel into Spain with other students too, we’ve been to visit some very beautiful places just a short distance away. It’s nice the university arranges social events. It’s small scale but it is really friendly. And, of course, Gibraltar has its own social life that you can be a part of straight away.
In terms of the course, it has been great to have such a good balance of practical and theory, and the way that you are challenged in a different way almost every week. The course is stretching me and helping me discover skills I didn’t know I had! I do like the small groups and feel that I am learning and developing better through this.

Would you recommend the University of Gibraltar to other students?

Definitely! The course is just right for me and the University has a strong ethos of focusing learning towards careers and jobs, so there is constant support for developing your own personal skills base that you can use in the future to transfer to a variety of career options. It really helps to increase your employability. I have been really impressed!