Princess Anne is Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh. As part of her Chancellor duties, she visited New College yesterday, and a select group of students consisting of batches of undergrads, post-grads, as well as the Chancellor’s Fellows (post-docs) got to meet her after her tour of the library. I was among the select few.
HRH Princess Anne: Where are you from?
Princess Anne: Where in Alberta?
Me: A small town between Calgary and Edmonton.
Princess Anne: Lots of wide, open spaces out there. Why did you choose to come here?
Me: I’m doing a PhD in both Classics and History of Christianity, and there was a supervisor in both fields I wanted to work with, so Edinburgh seemed the place to be.
Princess Anne: It seems that the Internet was designed for places like Alberta. What do you get from studying here that you would not get studying over the Internet?
Me: I think the one-on-one interaction with the supervisor is very important, and it goes very differently in person over a cup of coffee than online over Skype or e-mail.
Princess Anne: More and more subjects are becoming available online. Is there anything you think wouldn’t work as well online?
Me: Well, a lot of my research involves mediaeval manuscripts. A lot of these are digitised, but a digitisation is not always easy to work with, and it’s always better to see the manuscript itself.
Princess Anne: I’m relieved to hear you say that.
And she moved on to meet the Chancellor’s Fellows. Pretty cool opportunity! 🙂