Kai Ferguson, MEng Electronics and Electrical Engineering

What do you like most about being a student at the University of Edinburgh?

The thing I like the most about being a student at the University is living in Edinburgh as part of the University of Edinburgh student body.

Edinburgh is a great city to live in, and I am reminded of this when I feel safe walking around at night, or when I’m appreciating the suburban cityscape while commuting to and from the King’s Buildings campus.

Additionally, it is a great privilege to study at a world-class university alongside great students who are similarly drawn to Edinburgh from all parts of the globe. I greatly enjoy collaborating with and learning from my fellow students at the university, both in and outside of classes.

How would you describe your programme of study to a prospective student? What is the most interesting thing about this programme?

The study of Electronics and Electrical Engineering involves applying physics encompassing orders of magnitude, from the movement of electrons and holes in semiconductor material to the generation of electrical power in thermal power stations. As mentioned, it is a broad subject which covers many interesting topics, and the courses I find the most interesting include: Microelectronics which discusses the inner workings of semiconductor devices including LEDs and transistors; Analogue Circuits which focuses mainly on circuits made using transistors and their frequency response; and Signals and Communication Systems where you can learn about signal processing techniques and how they are applied in order to transmit information electronically.

There are also courses which teach you the fundamental mathematics which is required for engineering, and courses which will prepare you for your career in industry. The courses are delivered mainly via lectures, and you are given the opportunity to demonstrate and fortify your understanding of what is taught in lecture through tutorials, and laboratories where you carry out practical electronics work, linking the theory to real world electronics.

University Clubs and Societies: Describe your involvement in any student clubs and societies. What have you gained from this experience?

Engineering is a challenging field of study, so it is important to also spend time away from your studies. I find that getting involved in a society is a good way of spending time away from lectures and labs.

I am half-Japanese, and I wanted to be able to meet other Japanese people and those interested in Japan, so I joined the Japanese Society and I am currently an active member of the society. By getting involved in the society, I have been able to improve my Japanese ability and have met many fellow Japanese students and students on exchange from Japan.

Additionally, I have made good friends with people who study Asian studies, a subject area that I am interested in, and this allows me to have discussions about Asian studies with other students. I believe that the ability to explore and discuss subjects outside your main course of study is a great benefit of studying on campus at a university.

What sort of accommodation are you living in? What do you like about it?

I am currently living in private halls, which are close to the central campus, which is not where engineering teaching takes place (except in Year 1), however there are plenty of affordable public transport options available and there are also pleasant, safe routes for walking, running or cycling to the King’s Building campus, where most engineering classes take place. Commuting to classes this way allows us to keep active. I currently share a flat with four other people who are also studying at Edinburgh University. There is a large common area at the entrance to the building and there is also a communal kitchen/dining room with plenty of space and good facilities.

Is there any advice you could share with new students to help them make the most of their time at Edinburgh?

As many of you will be coming from outside Edinburgh, I would suggest you invest in a good weatherproof jacket, as it is usually quite windy here.

As many others helping you to settle in at Edinburgh will advise you, I strongly advise you to “get involved”. There will be many opportunities that are made available to you both while studying at Edinburgh university, and in the future as a result from studying here. I recommend that you take them. I can sympathise with the apprehension that you may feel from putting yourself ‘out there’ but in my experience, I have only regretted a handful of opportunities that I did take, however, there has been no opportunity that I have passed up and I am glad to have done so.

Finally, choose your elective courses for yourself, I’d caution against an elective just because you think it will be good for your career or because everyone else is taking it. Consider taking a course that is not related to engineering, the University has great teaching in a wide range of fields, I studied Korean in Year 1 and I do not regret it.

What are you hoping to do after graduation?

As a student of engineering, there are many possible paths that can be taken after graduation. When I applied to study electrical engineering, I had a desire to work with an international team of colleagues in a workplace which allows me to travel for work. My time spent studying engineering at Edinburgh has cemented this desire and it has become clear to me that is possible in the city of Edinburgh.

While I had ambitions before coming to Edinburgh, the excellence of the faculty staff and my peers has made me feel more than ever that studying at the University of Edinburgh will open up opportunities to achieve great things in my future career. I feel that my time spent studying here at the University of Edinburgh has and will continue to empower me to pursue my ambitions of working globally at the cutting edge, whether that be in industry or further study.

Kai Ferguson
Kai Ferguson