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The Faculty of Computer Science was created with the goal of becoming one of the world’s leading faculties for developers and researchers in data analysis, machine learning, big data, theoretical computer science, bioinformatics, system and software engineering, system programming, and distributed computing. In cooperation with major companies like Yandex, Sberbank, SAS, Samsung, 1C, and many others, the Faculty provides both deep theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical experience in many branches of contemporary computer science.
In 2020, almost every field of the Faculty's work changed, but international cooperation suffered the most: around the world schools were cancelled, conferences took place online, internships were conducted remotely. Nevertheless, in 2020, twenty-two students of the Faculty of Computer Science were able to go to the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Finland, Turkey, Germany, Denmark, UK, and Australia under the aegis of mobility programmes.
Eight students have received Eramus+ scholarships, which provides the student with a monthly allowance of 850 euros and covers transportation costs. The Faculty has already nominated eleven students for mobility programme in the spring of 2021; five of them will receive Erasmus+ scholarships and the Finnish-Russian FIRST+ scholarship.
Of course, we were worried about students going abroad amid the pandemic but we supported their decisions and tried our best to help. When the year began, it seemed that all mobility will cease completely. Some students who were supposed to leave in the autumn could not get visas for a long time and until the last moment, they did not know if they would be able to go. Fortunately, all our partners were aware of the complexity of the situation and did all they could. But all is well that ends well, and we are very happy that we were able to send more than twenty students on mobility programmes.
I was not ready to participate in the mobility programme in the spring of the first year of my master's, but in the autumn I heard that second-year master students still can apply for the exchange programme in spring. The list of Faculty exchange programmes included the University of Ghent, where I participated in a conference, and where the best experts in genomics and plant evolution work - and these are the fields of my special interest.
Overall, I enjoyed the free spirit of the university, its order and method - this was all the more important when, one and a half months after the start of my studies, the pandemic erupted. The teaching process had partially been online already. Except for laboratory workshops, it went almost without a hitch - all the teaching materials, including videos and summaries of last year's lectures, could be found in the student's account, the live lectures were soon online too. Student and employee support services appeared very quickly, and regular mailings from the rector's office with detailed explanations of what was going on and how to live and work or study in this completely new reality were reassuring and supportive.
Of special importance to master's students is the fact that the spring semester of the second year is fully dedicated to the preparation of the thesis and exchange studies move the thesis' defence to the autumn of the next academic year. Despite this, the exchange during the spring semester gave me the chance to choose the subjects of interest and the study load without looking back at the curriculum. Most of the information I received at Ghent University came in handy for my academic work and for successfully preparing and defending my thesis. The experience of living in another country helped me to mature and improve my language. So don't be afraid to participate in exchange programmes even before graduation!
Learn more about the Faculty of Computer Science's mobility programmes here.