Nina – Third Year Physics

Nina using one of the telescopes at the University Observatory.
Image © Tricia Malley Ross Gillespie

Having lived in Norway my entire life, I was excited to study somewhere abroad where I would have the opportunity to improve my English. I had never heard of St Andrews or anyone who had ever been there before, and so I did not really know what to expect when I first accepted my offer to study Physics at the University of St Andrews.

Initially, I was a little worried that studying in such a small town would end up being a bit dull, but it didn’t take long until I realised that this was not the case at all! The town is packed with activities and events for students; there is always something to do and you end up meeting so many different people along the way.

Having practiced Karate since I was eleven years old, it did not take long until I was part of the St Andrews Karate Club. It has been a great way to meet students across the University that share my interest for the sport. I also take clarinet lessons and occasionally play in an ensemble, which is great fun.

In addition to this, I am part of St Andrews Physics Society and Astronomical Society.
During spring break this year I went on a trip to Iceland with the University of St Andrews Astronomical Society. The group consisted of Physics students as well as students from other Schools. We had a great time seeing the northern lights, exploring Iceland and getting to know each other better.

Aurora in Iceland, photo courtesy of Amir Ali Emami

As an international student, I was not really aware of the opportunities of going directly into second year of a Physics degree. During my first couple of weeks here, the Physics Department provided me with a lot of information on the Direct Entry course. Along with talking to other students this really helped me determine that going directly into second year was the right decision for me.

During my time here, I have been exposed to so many various aspects of Physics, and I have had the opportunity to gain valuable skills that will also be useful after I graduate. Another part of the course that I really enjoy are the labs; here I get to take charge of my own learning and really delve into a topic and explore it experimentally.

One of my favourite aspects of the Physics Department is how small the gap is between the students and the staff. There is always the opportunity to go talk to a lecturer or a tutor if there is something I did not understand, and rather than just being one of many students, many staff members make an effort to get to know me. As a Physics student at the University of St Andrews, I have become a part of a really supportive and enthusiastic community.

Nina is pictured talking with Dr Chris Hooley at the third year conference

First published BDS 9.5.18