Student Perspective | Maïté Kesteleyn | Marine Science

Student Maïté Kesteleyn
6th July 2020

Maïté Kesteleyn

Maïté is a student on the Masters in Marine Science and Climate Change course at the University of Gibraltar. Originally from Belgium, Maïté had obtained Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical and Biological lab technologies at the University of Ghent. As part of this, she spent a six month internship in the US working in a genetic aqua lab. After graduating, she searched for a masters programme to expand her knowledge and interest in the marine biology field and this led to her discovering the University of Gibraltar.

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

As part of my first graduate course, I travelled to the US to work surrounded by nature – biology is my specialism. When I returned to Belgium, I felt that I wanted to develop my knowledge in marine biology and wanted to seek out new learning opportunities that involved the marine environment. I did some online searching and I saw the Masters course with the University of Gibraltar. The idea that I could also dive as part of my course – something which I really enjoyed – and into much warmer waters than at home really appealed to me.

Did you find that the course met those expectations?

The course is brilliant. I find that it is an ideal balance of practical work and academic work. We spend time in the lab, the library and at sea. My favourite part is the field work. The tutors on the course are very ready to support, although they do drive you hard and make you challenge yourself. There are regular assessments on the course and that means that you are constantly able to review your work.

How do you find the facilities at the University?

I found the facilities at the University of Gibraltar really good. I was used to Ghent University, which is huge, but it is also very competitive. Here everyone wants to work hard and do really well, the course is challenging in a really good way, the tutors push you to do your best but are always there and available to support you. In addition to that, the materials and equipment are exactly what we need to be able to achieve the demands of the course. Also, I found being in a small group of students really useful. Our tutor arranged for all of us to meet up and get to know each other early on at the start of the year and it helped create the bonds we needed to work together and progress our studies. It’s a really good atmosphere and a great environment for learning.
I am also in student accommodation here in Gibraltar. When I arrived, I found that the team here at the University were keen to make sure that everything was running smoothly, and they went out of their way to iron out any problems I encountered.

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

It has been great to travel to a different location and get to know the people and the culture which is very different to my home culture in Belgium.
I also like the challenge of communicating in English all the time and learning my course in English I feel will give me a very useful skill in the world of science. The University sets up events for students to take part in, and, it is not that difficult to go into town and enjoy local events, the bars and the night life.

Would you recommend the University of Gibraltar to other students?

Yes, this is a good course and a good place to learn. There is support and you get the opportunity to learn a whole array of skills and also to look ahead to possible careers.

What advice would you give someone thinking of taking the step to travel away from home to study at the University of Gibraltar?

I would say to make sure you research and understand all aspects of the course and make sure it meets what you are seeking to do. Contact the University as there is always someone ready to talk and answer all your questions. Remember, small really is beautiful and if you are after a practical course that comes with great learning opportunities and great support, where making friends is easy, then the University of Gibraltar is a great place to study.