Silvia Ariza was one of the first students to study the LLM in Oil, Gas and Renewable Energy Law at Robert Gordon University. Find out why Silvia decided to join RGU and what her experience of studying the course was like.
Why did you want to study an LLM in Oil, Gas & Renewable Energy Law?
If I am honest the main reason why I decided to study this course was because of my mom. She is a great lawyer and I believe my passion for law came from her. Back in 2017, while I was finishing my undergraduate degree, she recommended that I study a Master’s in oil and gas law in Aberdeen, the famous city of oil.
I always had in mind to not only study oil and gas law but also renewable energy law, so LLM in Oil, Gas and Renewable Energy Law was the perfect choice! I believe that even though my native country Equatorial Guinea largely depends on oil and gas and is one of the largest oil producers in Africa, we are the generation that has to move forward.
I consider my background in renewable energy to be very strong and that is because of the way I have been brought up. I was born in Equatorial Guinea but moved to The Basque country at the age of 8. Since then I grew up in a small town called Lizartza, a place where nature has a say or “a voice”. In both Lizartza where I finished primary education and later in La Salle Berrozpe where I continued
with my studies, I was taught to respect nature
The Basque institutions teach us to not only respect, but to appreciate, maintain and cooperate with nature. This has impacted my way of thinking and my opinion when it comes to the environment and energy sources.
I believe that many African countries are still on the edge of oil production and exportation, this made me search for, and decide to study a course that can be beneficial whilst allowing me to contribute to my native country.
What I would like to achieve is to support Equatorial Guinea with transitioning from oil and gas into renewable energy. Nonetheless, before all of this, I would like to find a good internship, apprenticeship or graduate job where I can gain experience in both industries.
Why did you decide to study at RGU?
I have never studied in a very big institution before. I am used to studying in smaller places where the relationship and communication between teachers, staff and students is more direct. This is why I chose RGU. I felt like I could get more one on one assistance, better interaction and learn more in RGU because of its size and reputation with student support.
What was the most enjoyable part of the LLM in Oil, Gas & Renewable Energy Law course ?
What I liked the most from my course were my presentations and the working environment. Presentations aren’t something you really look forward to doing, but I ended up loving the task and presenting my ideas. I enjoyed the follow up questions by both the other students and lecturers.
I liked the fact that I was very busy on the course. Exposing ideas, working on essays, presenting law cases (by myself and in groups), working on case studies and even writing my weekly 300 words contributions for some modules. All of that kept me on track with my course which made me more secure about my goal of obtaining my Master’s.
The environment of the class and the lectures were professional, I sometimes used to forget that I was still a student and not a professional working in a court, or in a business meeting representing companies and institutions.
How well do you think the course prepared you for starting your career?
I can say that I have a very clear understanding of both oil and gas and renewable energy legal systems, the positives and negatives that they can bring to our societies and of course a broad acknowledgement of the impact of the energy transition.
To me, the experience at Robert Gordon University was very professional and I loved it. I believe this was because of the way I was treated by my lecturers. In RGU, lecturers treated us like professionals instead of as students and that gave me the capacity to study harder while also learning from them and gaining the confidence that is required to work in these industries.
The course prepared me very well. I have been able to understand the oil and gas and renewable energy industry, and I have also been able to understand why there is a need for a transition and the main reasons why renewable energy sources are necessary for the future generations. I feel that I am very well prepared and also passionate about both industries, I am very excited to start working.
Can you tell us a little bit about your experience of being a student at RGU?
I love RGU, it is the best university and I will never regret the decision to study there. RGU is not only a university, it ends up being a home for anyone that moves to study there.
Getting into class to meet your lecturers, classmates and friends almost every day for more than a year can make any person on this planet feel happy! I also enjoyed my daily routine; the feeling of running to get the bus where I would meet my colleagues and other RGU students, to then getting off the bus and walking in such green area with such a welcoming and warm environment. I wished I could have stayed there for longer.
Where did you spend a lot of your time at RGU?
I remember meeting my friends downstairs at the cafeteria during the assessment periods. We used to have a late dinner together, walk upstairs to the library and study all night until the sunrise. Then, we used to catch the early bus in the morning that went from RGU to the city centre, have breakfast together and later go to our houses for a long sleep.
I remember us creating a study group chat for those who studied better at nights so we all could meet and study together. RGU Library was our everyday life and house during the assessment period and we loved it.
Apart from this, I have to say that I loved being in class a lot. My last semester was only based on working on my dissertation and we had no compulsory lectures, however I missed going to lectures that much that I decided to go back to them even though I already passed all these modules! I was very happy because we were given the opportunity to go back and attend classes as listeners in our third semester and that also kept me on track for my dissertation.
Can you tell us about what you’ve been up to since leaving RGU?
Due to Covid-19, I had to go back home to the Basque country and I stayed there during the entire summer. After things got a little bit better, I came back to Aberdeen but this time as an RGU graduate looking for apprenticeships, internships or any graduate jobs.
I have been working on my projects and I have also been assisting my mother’s law firm in the meantime.
What advice would you give to international students considering RGU and Aberdeen?
I would tell them to come to RGU because it will be UNFORGETTABLE!
I am very sure of this because of the people you meet, the friends you make, the strong relationship you build with your teachers, colleagues, the staff, the university as a whole, its resources and the connection with the city.
RGU means good quality to me and that is because of its constant effort to integrate any student regardless of their race, gender, sexuality or background.
The attention that is given to you by the staff, the Student Union and other students is incredible, it makes you feel that they are aware and know that you are living a new experience in your life very far from your loved ones. They will always make sure you get to feel at home in Robert Gordon University and also in the city of Aberdeen.