Tell us about your time at ECA
I chose the Architectural Conservation MSc at Edinburgh for many reasons; it is the oldest running programme of its kind in the UK and the university is highly ranked internationally, but what truly tipped the scale for me was the city itself. To me, its beauty is truly unparalleled, and the fact that I would get to live in a World Heritage Site was the icing on the cake.
I had the best time with my classmates; they were the most amazing, talented and diverse group of people. I was lucky to have them in my journey at Edinburgh and we still keep in touch to this day. We had some of the best experiences during our weekly field trips around the UK as well as the big field trip to Germany at the end of the second semester.
I was also fortunate enough to volunteer with a group of my classmates in field surveys with Edinburgh World Heritage as well as in the restoration project of the University's iconic McEwan Hall, where we assisted in cleaning the historic wall paintings of this magnificent building. The latter opportunity was advertised through the University along with many other events, jobs and workshops available through its online services, which I found extremely useful during my studies.
Tell us about your experiences since leaving
I was lucky enough to be able to stay for 4 months after my course ended. That time was precious to me as I was able to enjoy the city without the pressure of course deadlines and dissertation writing. I used that time to travel a bit to the Highlands, Northern Ireland and England. It was, in a way, my farewell trip; it gave me a sense of closure and prepared me for the next chapter of my life.
Since returning home to Egypt, I have been working as an assistant lecturer at the architecture department at the faculty of fine arts, Alexandria University. Shortly after coming home, I got the news that I was accepted to an internship at the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) that I had applied for during my second semester at Edinburgh. Since July 2017, I have been at ICCROM-ATHAR, the Architectural-Archaeological Heritage in the Arab Region, a regional conservation centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for my internship. It has been a fantastic opportunity to explore the workings of the heritage conservation world on a regional as well as an international level. I finish my internship at the end of September and will return to teaching at Alexandria University.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to participate in the "Know Your City | Alexandria" workshop, organised by Tadamun, The Cairo Urban Solidarity Initiative in collaboration with Save Alex, an initiative committed to protecting and enhancing the built environment of the city of Alexandria and hosted by the Swedish Institute in Alexandria. As part of the outcomes of the workshop, I wrote an online article about Bahari (a historic area in Alexandria, Egypt), its history, its people, its potential, and the challenges it is facing.
Writing so many essays including my dissertation as part of the Masters not only increased my interest and skills in research it also helped improve my writing and critical thinking abilities. With this in mind, I hope to pursue a PhD in heritage conservation in the near future.
To those starting their studies: you are about to start an exciting chapter in your life in one of the most amazing cities in the world, so work hard but make sure you enjoy it and take it all in as the time spent there will fly by so quickly.
For those who have just graduated: congratulations, you made it through and now you have a good qualification under your belt, which will hopefully serve you well in the next chapter of your life - be it in further study or the professional world. It is now on you to continue to work on your skills and develop your abilities. Luckily, the university’s Career Service can give you a push in the right direction, so make sure you check it out!
Do you have a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what you have been doing since graduation.