Photo (above): Denis Arinabo supervising construction works of a water chamber in Nkuringo - Kisoro, Uganda. The project was to help the community by reducing the distance covered when fetching water. The photo also depicts some of the community watching the works.
Ugandan, Denis Arinabo, studied an MSc in Environmental Engineering and graduated with distinction in 2017. Since returning home, he's been working to establish national pilot schemes for the first-ever zero-energy water pumps in the country.
We caught up with him to find out about his experiences at Strathclyde, and how they've helped further his career.
"A big thank you to the Strathclyde family and the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission for making my dream come true."
Since leaving Strathclyde, where are you working and what is your role?
I'm currently working with WSS Services (Uganda) Limited, an environmental, engineering and water utility consultancy firm based in Kampala. Together with Water Powered Technologies Limited, a UK–based firm, we're working to establish national pilot schemes for the first-ever zero-energy water pumps in Uganda, alongside the Ministry of Water.
Why did you choose to study Environmental Engineering at Strathclyde?
Having gained work experience of more than five years in environmental and engineering consultancy firms in Uganda, I was looking for a course that would offer me an opportunity to deepen my understanding of environmental engineering principles.
After careful comparison with other UK institutions offering a similar course, the MSc in Environmental Engineering at Strathclyde presented, by far, the best option for me to gain a broader understanding of various environmental challenges. I knew the diverse range of classes would enable me to develop sustainable environmentally-engineered solutions to tackle issues that are intrinsic to development in Uganda and globally.
The recent extensive modern urban regeneration in Glasgow and the state-of-the-art facilities at Strathclyde further influenced my decision as I was keen to experience first-hand knowledge and skills to develop integrated physical planning models to apply in Uganda.
"After careful comparison with other UK institutions offering a similar course, the MSc in Environmental Engineering at Strathclyde presented, by far, the best option for me."
What did you enjoy most about your course?
I had the opportunity to choose my preferred classes from a diverse range of options, which were tailored towards my professional and career aspirations. This was a very strong motivation.
I also particularly loved the mode of teaching and assessment which involved some lectures being delivered by industry experts. This gave me an opportunity not only to learn from an academic point of view, but also to acquire practical knowledge of sustainable-engineered solutions for the 21stcentury.
What were your experience of living and studying in Glasgow?
I was very nervous when I first came to Glasgow as it was my first time outside Africa, to a continent with different traditions, languages and cultures. However, all my fears faded during my first days because people were very friendly and welcoming, and were willing to help whenever I asked. It was therefore much easier for me to make new friends and this compensated for the anxiety of being away from home. I cannot hide my bias for Glasgow being one of the best cities to live.
"I was very nervous when I first came to Glasgow as it was my first time outside Africa, to a continent with different traditions, languages and cultures. However, all my fears faded during my first days because people were very friendly and welcoming."
How did studying at Strathclyde compare to your undergraduate experience?
My experience at the University of Strathclyde was purely a confirmation of the world-class education the UK offers and I feel privileged to be part of the Strathclyde’s graduate community.
Studying at Strathclyde is mostly student-orientated, rather than teacher-orientated. This gave me the chance to fully utilise and benefit from the modern library and fast-speed internet in order to understand various academic concepts. The mode of lecture delivery and assessment was also much more advanced than what I experienced in the past.
The 24-hour access I had to computer labs and the study facilities at Strathclyde also set my master’s experience apart from my undergraduate experience.
Where did you find out about the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship?
I reached a point in my career where I was keen to undertake a postgraduate course in environmental engineering. I therefore searched on the internet to identify merit-orientated scholarships I would qualify for.
I came across the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission website where I found information about the eligibility criteria, participating universities and available courses. A big thank you to the Strathclyde family and the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission for making my dream come true.
How did Strathclyde help you prepare for your career?
Achieving an MSc with distinction at Strathclyde has definitely set me apart and in the right direction towards becoming a renowned environmental engineer, not only in Uganda but globally. The Independent Study in Collaboration with Industry class gave me an opportunity to interact with Water Powered Technologies, a UK based firm I'm currently working with in setting up pilot schemes for zero-energy water pumps in Uganda, the first of its kind.
As a consultant, being a member of a professional body is paramount. Strathclyde opened the door for me to join the International Association for Impact Assessment where I enrolled as a student member through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) class.
What advice would you give students thinking of studying at Strathclyde?
Strathclyde is more than a university; it's a home for highly motivated and like-minded domestic and international students. The friendly and supportive staff make studying at Strathclyde much more fulfilling and enjoyable. It was partly because of this I never felt stuck during my course. To those thinking of attaining a world-class education, particularly in the UK, Strathclyde is, and remains, “a place of useful learning.”
"Strathclyde is more than a university; it's a home for highly motivated and like-minded domestic and international students."