"The first two years are life sciences in general and then afterwards you start to specialise in Anatomy. I’ve always been interested in looking at bones, understanding the processes of decomposition, and finding out what kind of facts a Forensic Anthropologist can actually figure out. People watch a TV programme like CSI and think that’s amazing. They can just click their finger and know everything, but that’s not the case. It’s quite complicated, as several factors have to be considered.
I decided I wanted to become a Forensic Anthropologist when I was fourteen so I did several internships to see if it would be something for me. I studied archaeology beforehand in Germany as forensic anthropology isn’t a recognised degree pathway yet. I thought about going to the US, as that is quite common, but then I read a newspaper article about the reconstruction of the face of Bach and found this was done in Dundee so I applied.
I’ve enjoyed it over all, it has been a great time and experience. There’s nothing in particular that I’d pick out. The forensic science and law module was very interesting, as the court system in Scotland is different to the one in Germany. This module also showed how important communication between fundamentally different disciplines is.
The staff are really friendly. If you have a problem then you just go and ask. This was a new experience for me. My experience from German universities is that professors are often overworked and therefore it is difficult to get hold of them. They try their best to help but often it is easier to just ask an older student for help. Over here lecturers always have an open door and often respond to emails straight away.
If someone from outside the UK is thinking about coming, and is worried, I’d tell them – just do it. Don’t worry about your English, it’s a great experience and always looks good on a CV. I worried that my English wasn’t good enough, but I was fine. The language barrier isn’t a problem at all.
When I graduate, I already have a part time job lined up in Switzerland, and I am extremely lucky about this opportunity. I will work in a team of anthropologists on archaeological excavation sites. When they find a skeleton, it will be our job to do the analysis on that. As this is a part time job I will still have time to do research and hope to start a PhD soon as well. My studies at the University of Dundee and especially CAHID have prepared me very well for these opportunities and opened doors."