My international exchange experience in Epitech – Interview with Dhananjay

My study exchange experience in Epitech was so different than what I expected and so enjoyable that I cannot even describe it in words. I had so much fun while studying there and I have created such good memories, that I’m sure I’ll never forget.”

About Dhananjay

Dhananjay Bhardwaj comes from India and he has studied in Epitech Technology campus of Paris during 2018-2019. After completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science Engineering at the Chitkara University in India, he decided to follow the Epitech semester exchange program for international students.

Since he arrived in Epitech, Dhananjay has shown from his first days an excellent ability to set goals and be persistent in achieving them. He quickly integrated into the class group and his teachers and classmates say it has been a great pleasure to have Dhananjay ‘s enthusiasm, positivity and maturity in their class. If we had to choose just two words to describe Dhananjay it will definitely be: Open minded and fearless. Open minded because he has shown enthusiasm and curiosity towards a different culture, being interested in learning about new ideas and opinions, which made it easy for him to adapt to his new environment. And fearless, because “failing” was not an option for him. He always worked hard to progress and achieve his goals, demonstrating a willing and conscientious effort in his daily work in Epitech.

Dhananjay’s passion for computer science. How it all started:

When we asked Dhanjay what made him follow a pathway in IT he simply answered that he had always been interested in video games and computers. From a young age, he was interested in technology, applications and software, being very curious about how they work and how they are built.  From that time, he knew that this was his passion and that this was the path he should follow.

Dhanjay’s international exchange experience in Epitech:

In Epitech, we are trying to keep in touch with our former international students.  Last time we’ve talked with Dhananjay, we were very happy to hear that he is currently working as a Software Engineer in India. That made us very proud and we wish him lots of good luck in his future career!

We’ve also asked him if he would like to share the story of his study exchange experience in Epitech, and he happily accepted. Below we can find his testimony:

Why have you chosen to study abroad and more precisely, why did you decided to study at Epitech?

I have always wanted to study abroad and explore a different culture, learn a new language, discover a new education system… Choosing Epitech was one of the best decisions I could make.

I first heard about Epitech in my home university. We had a long list of colleges we had to choose from to pursue a semester exchange abroad. I did some research and I felt that Epitech is the perfect school for me, and I was right. The education system in Epitech was on another level; the study environment was very similar to the IT industry and prepares you for the future professional life. Another thing that I liked was that when I was stuck trying to solve problems, a mentor was always present and guided me in the right direction

How was your arrival in France and what was your first impressions of Epitech?

When I first arrived in Epitech, a get-to-together was arranged on the first day to meet-up with other international students, who have also come to study at Epitech. We were shown how the system at Epitech works and what should we expect during the semester.

The International Relations Team have also assigned buddies to us. We were matched with an existing Epitech student who has already been there for a year or more. In case we needed any information or help our buddies were always there for us to guide us and help us settle into our new life in France and in Epitech.

What are the biggest differences between education in your home university and education in Epitech?

In my country, most of the universities teaching methods are based on theoretical learning. We have practical sessions and practical exams as well, but they are held separately from the theoretical classes.  Another difference is that in my home university, classes attendance needs to be fulfilled in order to be able to take the final exams, which is not the case in Epitech.

In Epitech the courses attendance is not compulsory. Students are very independent, and they organise by themselves, going in class whenever they feel they need to. They focus more on solving the problems that were assigned to them than attending all classes. The most important for students in Epitech is to acquire a clear understanding and learn know how to anticipate problems, find solutions, and leverage their skills.

When I first arrived in Epitech I participated into the C Pool which is a month of intensive work and immersion into the school learning methods. We were accompanied by technical advisors and other students, and we completed a couple of exercises every day, we learn to rely on each other, to overcome different problems and one of the most important things is that we learned how to learn.

If I look back, I think the C Pool was the experience I liked the most in Epitech…

What has been the most academically challenging portion of your immersion experience in Epitech?

The most challenging portion in my exchange experience in Epitech was completing a high amount of projects which ware assigned to us every day. Although I was able to complete them, it took me a while to do so because project-based learning was something I had never experienced in my life before coming to Epitech. As time passed, however, I began to understand how the system works.

What did you enjoy the most during your study exchange in Epitech? How did you find the Epitech’ learning methods?

Epitech’ learning methods were very different comparing to those of my home university. My study exchange experience in Epitech was so unique and enjoyable that I cannot even describe it in words. I had so much fun while studying there and I have created such good memories, that I’m sure I’ll never forget. It felt like my wish was granted as I wanted to gain more experience of project-based learning.

What do you like the most/the least about France?

There’s nothing that I dislike about France, except it is a little bit expensive comparing to India. But keeping that aside, I enjoyed every moment spent at Epitech and in France.

What did you missed the most about your home country during your exchange?

I missed the Indian festivals during my time spent in France. I remember that in the period of the New Year, in India was the festival of lights, Diwali, and it was the first time that I was not home to celebrate it, as we usually do. But at the New Year, I celebrated that with enthusiasm with my friends from Epitech. We bought tickets and went to Disneyland. We had a lot of fun!

If you could you give some advice to our future international students, what would that be?

The advice I’d like to give to the future international students that are planning to come study in Epitech are:

  • Budget – I think is important to plan your budget before arriving in France by doing some research). Make a list of different expenses such as: housing, transport, insurance, food etc. to have a better idea and be prepared when you arrive. You can also check out different housing possibilities for students (the Epitech’ International Relations Team will guide you and give you a full list of choices).
  • Language – Try to learn French or at least learn the basics. I know that for some people it is kind of tricky to learn French, but you’ll get more familiarized with the language once you are on the ground with people speaking French around you.
  • Culture experience – Studying abroad it’s not just about education but also about the experience of living in a new country. Make sure to make time to experience French culture and try new things from food to entertainment, to national holidays/events and don’t be afraid to exchange with local people (even if your French is not perfect) – English will do it too.
  • Grading system – Grading system at Epitech was very different comparing to the grading system in my country, so make some research of how exams/courses are marked so that you know what to aim towards and what you need to pass.
  • Don’t be afraid – While studying abroad we’re not expected to know everything, so if one is unsure about something check out the history, classes, food, etc. And the most important: never be afraid to ask for help.
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