Sizwe Mabaso completed an MSc in GIS And Remote Sensing at Aber and is currently pursuing his PhD studies. Sizwe also acts as Aber's unofficial ambassador in Swaziland and he is willing to assist any Aber alumnus with locating and/or doing business there. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you remember most about your time at Aber?
The small town of Aberystwyth is very friendly and relaxed, yet diverse in activities. The new experience of the Welsh landscape with a lot of sheep and the different weather (especially the snow) was exciting. The opportunity for sea-side and countryside walks anytime was also great. I cherish fond memories of the ‘Raster Masters’ family. Even though the course was intense, the friendship and support I got from my colleagues was wonderful. I remember how I would spend the evenings with my African family, preparing African dishes. We would set apart Saturday mornings for gathering our groceries, and it was always a great time to cool off.
What are you doing now career-wise and how has your Aberystwyth Degree helped?
After completing my Master’s in September 2010, I returned to Swaziland where I undertook undergraduate teaching and research work with the University of Swaziland. The knowledge and expertise Aber equipped me with came in handy then. However, because Aberystwyth had been too good, and I had not had enough, I returned for yet another stint! This was made possible by Aberystwyth University through the Doctoral Career Development Scholarship (DCDS) scheme. I am now studying towards a PhD in Tropical Forest Mapping and Monitoring in Africa, a research work that will inform the REDD+ initiative, as well as provide empirical evidence to establish whether tropical forests are degrading or improving. Specifically, I am working on advancing the Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) for tropical forests using space and airborne remote sensing data, a project undertaken in partnership with the Norwegian Space Centre. My MSc degree has been pivotal in laying a foundation for the research work I am currently working on.
What advice would you have for a student doing your course now?
Time management is the key to everything. Commitment and dedication to one’s work will make the difference. However, it is as critical to balance one’s academic and social life. Breaks from work are necessary in order to recharge and replenish the body and the mind. The wonderful Welsh landscape is worth enjoying while you can. Simply put: hard work, but find time to play.