My international exchange experience in Epitech – Interview with Evgeniia
“At Epitech the classrooms are very different from my home university. You feel like a part of a big team working in the same classroom with other students from your group. You are free to ask questions anytime you want. Another thing that I enjoyed very much is meeting new international students. We became good friends, and we even went on a summer vacation together at the end of the semester.”
Evgeniia was born and raised in Russia, in small city next to Moscow named Tula. She moved to Saint-Petersburg in 2018 for her bachelor’s degree studies in Information technologies at ITMO university. She always wanted to do a study exchange abroad and to discover a new culture. In her third year of studies in 2020-2021 she choose to follow the semester exchange program in Epitech – “a choice that turned out to be one of the best she could do” says Evgeniia. Below we can find her full testimony:
Tell us more about how you discovered your passion for the field of IT & what made you follow this pathway in computer science.
I’ve always been keen on math, but I realized that I do not want to just study math in my future professional career. That’s why I’ve decided to follow this pathway in computer science.
If you had to choose just one word to describe yourself, what would you choose and why?
Purposeful because when I set a goal, I do all my best to achieve it.
Why have you chosen to study abroad and more precisely, why did you decided to come to France and study at Epitech?
In my home university I’ve received a long list of exchange universities. From all that list, I’ve chosen just three and one of them was Epitech. I have finally chosen Epitech because of its innovative learning methods.
What is one part of French culture that you were excited to experience before coming here?
I was excited to start studying French language and during both of my semesters we had French courses, which helped me improve my language skills.
How was your arrival and what was your first impressions of France and Epitech?
The International Relations Team gave all the foreigners students a very warm welcome. On the first day we grabbed a coffee together and then we went to Epitech for a quick introduction on our exchange program receiving as well all the practical information we needed for our stay in France.
The accommodation was quite hard to find. I rent my first accommodation with Studapart. In the end of first semester, I realized it was quite expensive to rent this room outside of Paris and I’ve found a better deal through my friend and moved to the other place.
What did you hoped to learn during your time studying abroad?
I wanted to improve my programming skills in C++ and C. I’ve made a great progress on it during my time studying in Epitech.
What are the biggest differences between education in your home country/university and education in France, at Epitech?
The biggest difference I notice I would say is the way the education prosses takes place. There are no exams in Epitech because during the whole semester you are submitting practical projects and get points for it. Also, a new concept for me was how lectures has been proceeded. They are not just boring ones we have in my university in Saint-Petersburg. They are short educational videos which you can watch anytime. The classroom looks different as well. You feel like a part of a big team working in the same classroom with other students from your group. You are free to ask questions anytime you want.
What has been the most academically challenging portion of your immersion experience in Epitech?
The most challenging portion of my immersion was prolonging my visa to stay for the second semester there. It took me 2 months to finally be done with all the paperwork I needed.
What other facets of this experience have been challenging?
The hardest was making all the documents to stay for another semester but it was difficult mostly because of my home university.
What did you enjoy the most during your study exchange in Epitech? How did you find the Epitech’ learning methods?
As I mentioned earlier, I think Epitech learning methods are practical which is exactly how it should be. The thing I enjoyed the most is being a part of the group of international students. We became good friend. We even went on the summer vacation together after our semester there.
What do you like the most about France?
The thing I do like the most are parks to where you can easily go for a picnic. My favorite one is probably Luxembourg garden. Moreover, I went to a few festivals. It was so much fun just meeting new people and making friends.
Has your experience here helped you gain an ability to communicate effectively within and among diverse cultural groups & helped you learn to respect cultural differences? If so, can you cite specific examples?
I have made new friends though one of my roommates. They were always there for me if needed. We get along well.
From your experience, which skills acquired in Epitech were the most useful on the professional ground?
On the professional ground I have learned to have the courage to ask questions. Even if sometimes the questions may be silly ones, I still asked our professors for help.
Do you have a funny story to share with us regarding the cultural differences between France and your country (that you have experienced during your exchange)?
Greeting people with kisses were quite unexpected for me but this is just the French way to say hello here.
If you could you give some advice to our future international students, what would that be?
I would recommend they make sure to check the information/documents about their visa application in advance. And to not postpone the projects they have gotten before New Year’s Eve because it’s just seeming that they have loads of time during holidays, but that’s not the case as time flies so quickly.