I came to Lancaster University as a visiting PhD student for 3 months. I was in the second year of the PhD and I was specifically looking for some university to visit where there was an interesting group of social scientists researching on environment & society relations. I found those engaging academics at CSEC within the Sociology Department.
Not only these group of experts have nurtured my thesis with their references, contacts, reviews, seminars and time invested in listening to me, but they also have been very open and friendly. They have always offered to help in whatever I needed, and they have been keeping track on my life; on the PhD and also beyond.
During my visit to CSEC I met really fascinating people at university (experts, recent Doctors and fellow PhD students) many of whom also became friends; I also gained some organisational skills by helping prepare an International Conference; I had great fun with the welcoming people of Lancaster town; and I further pushed the PhD forward with refreshing ideas and a better mind structure.
I can definitely say that my time spent in Lancaster has influenced my life in a great way.
Actually, I enjoyed it so much that I have been coming back every year since for a couple of months!
I visited the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC) within the Department of Sociology in October-December 2012.The reason for visiting CSEC was that I hoped to be able to engage in, and learn from, a research environment with high expertise in the field of environmental sociology, science and technology studies, and public understanding of science. Well in Lancaster it did not take very long before I realized that I had come to the right place.
Besides attending the department’s joint seminars and lectures, as well as general seminars for PhD students, I audited two courses of relevance to my thesis (SOCL 521 and SOCL930). The course modules offered both width and depth which made it possible to elaborate on previous knowledge regardless of its extent. For me, as a PhD student in my final year, the courses made me think of previous knowledge in new ways, they allowed me to further specialize in my research, and they introduced me to topics I previously knew nothing about, all at the same time.
Well back at Örebro University, Sweden, I am starting to realize the importance of the stay. To see and experience other research and academic environments adds dimensions to the PhD studies which nothing else can, and the international character of Lancaster University’s sociology department gave insights into a lot more than the British academic system. The knowledge I got from being a part of CSEC’s and the Department of Sociology’s unique research environment made a significant contribution to my research project as well as to my development as a researcher.
I am glad that the stay became a reality and I would like to encourage other PhD students to take the opportunity to do the same.