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Meet Madina Atymkhanova, 2nd year master student from Kazakhstan studying Data Science at the Faculty of Computer Science. She told us about advantages of HSE University, upcoming international mobility and what motivates her in life.
Why did you choose HSE University?
During my bachelor studies at Bauman University, I was noticing activity and good results of HSE University students in ICPC (International Collegiate Programming Contest), in which I competed at that time. Also, I used to watch videos of Postnauka popular science publisher in my spare time, and many speakers were HSE University professors. Moreover, I enjoyed Coursera courses by HSE University on difficult topics where a good explanation is hard to come by (e.g. Galois theory). Soon, I came to realize that many interesting people among students and scientists work here. The diversity of labs and collaborators added points to choose HSE University as a place to proceed with research and master studies.
The biggest benefit of HSE apart from high academic excellence and rich academic freedom is people and the international community. I became a part of an English-taught master's programme and made a lot of foreign friends, got in touch with different cultures and mentalities. It convinced me to move forward and to choose one more country to study in! And HSE University provided me with such an opportunity because the university has many agreements with universities all over the world and very actively promotes mobility programmes. I'm preparing to become an exchange student next semester at Ecole Polytechnique (France).
Apparently, the level of content of the courses and professors' way of teaching, interacting and supporting every project/initiative help students to become a person worthy to study in the best universities worldwide. With the support of my professors as referees, I got an invitation from ETH Zurich to join Vision for Robotics lab.
I would strongly emphasize the attitude towards students from the professors' side. In my experience of studying at HSE University, I met so many great professors and scientists who inspire me in my field of studies and are interested in student's success.
It's also worthy to mention that the good attitude from the study office makes the studying process more comfortable.
What are your favourite subjects at university? Are they the same subjects you liked in high school?
math. Almost every course I've chosen falls into this category. Mainly, we tend to study data science, machine learning, and other math applications to the field of computer science and artificial intelligence. I can emphasize the courses that challenged me the most - advanced probability theory, statistical learning theory, high dimensional statistics, Heidegger and contemporary philosophy.
This indeed is a continuation of what I've always liked, enjoying math and its applications (in physics, computer science, etc.) in school, participating in various math competitions.
Does HSE University challenge you to try something new or allows you to develop knowledge and skills you already have?
Sure, it does! First, it shows me that many things that seemed unreachable could become understandable. Second, I obviously gained a lot of new knowledge and ways to get it. What else can I develop except capacities I do have? Thus, sure, I improved the skills I already have.
What keeps you motivated?
My mom keeps me motivated. In my opinion, family support is the strongest source of power to dream, dare, and try.
Regarding the inspiration - I appreciate many ideas and heritage, which I consider brilliant, but what inspires me is people. I love to observe their way of thinking, creating. The student community enriched me with professional and personal skills as much as university classes. Definitely, I am inspired by my friends, who have taken roles of my teachers, first code-reviewers, teammates, and my pupils.
Among people who inspire me are professors, especially the ones who really love what they do and are full of desire to share their passion. It is very important because it is not the case everywhere or always! And HSE University is the exception.
My HSE University math professor and his academic excellence inspired me to decide to study in France, where his formation took place, and which is, at the same time, the origin of one of the biggest heritage of math and a place of contemporary research activities.
What do you think about the general atmosphere at HSE University?
For me, the general atmosphere at HSE is extremely friendly and nice! Students, professors, and managers are very welcoming and open for interaction! The service, the atmosphere of coffee-points, cafeteria, and libraries makes me and my classmates feel comfortable to communicate, study, spend time together sharing ideas and experience.
Of course, the main goal is to succeed with the studies. For me, in particular, this means many nights in our round-the-clock library where I see many people working throughout the night. Though sometimes it's tough, I'm glad I have such an opportunity to use this work atmosphere.
It is all the more interesting because of many events, colloquiums, exhibitions, which are held permanently and are quite interesting.
Is it hard to balance your studies with your personal life?
Simply, I don't have a very active personal life. Among HSE University's extracurricular activities, several align with my hobbies. One of them is dance, and my faculty building is placed very conveniently for visiting the dance studio. But my timetable hasn't let me visit the dance classes yet. One other is a yacht club that also didn't match with my curriculum yet, but I hope the next study year I will participate in club activities. The same goes for the tourist club.