My international exchange experience in Epitech – Interview with Vera
“ I sometimes find it challenging to adjust to new teams and environements, but at Epitech, I felt completely at ease communicating in both French and English with people from all over the world. The networking opportunities at Epitech are incredible! I made many friends among other international students and established valuable connections with teachers at Epitech.”
Meet Vera Koliverda, a third-year student in Business Informatics at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow, Russia. Before entering university, Vera had the opportunity to study French for 11 years at a specialized school and had the opportunity to visit France twice, once in Provence and once in Paris, which fueled her desire to return one day. When the opportunity to participate in an exchange program presented itself, she knew she couldn’t miss the chance to study abroad and gain a wider perspective on her field of study.
Why Epitech was the Right Fit for Vera?
Vera’s background in IT Business Administration made it difficult for her to find a university that would align 100% with her field of study. “I was looking for a university that offered a lot of programming courses; also, I was really interested when I saw that Epitech had an ‘Innovation Hub’ where I could bring my ideas to life with the support of a mentor” she says. “After considering all the options, I felt that Epitech was the best fit for me.”
After being nominated by her home university to attend Epitech for the fall semester, Vera had an interview with the Epitech mobility coordinators. It was during this interview that she learned about the unique “project-based learning” approach that Epitech is known for, which further solidified her decision to attend the university. “This project-based learning approach really caught my attention and I knew that I had made the right choice to come study to Epitech,” she says.
Highlights of Vera’s experience at Epitech (on a professional & personal level)
For Vera, one of the highlights of her experience at Epitech has been the opportunity to improve her communication and networking skills. “I am not the most outgoing person, and I sometimes find it challenging to adjust to new teams and people, but at Epitech, I felt completely at ease communicating in both French and English with people from all over the world. The networking opportunities at Epitech are incredible! I made many friends among other international students and established valuable connections with teachers at Epitech.”
In terms of professional development, Vera has also seen growth in her hard skills and time management abilities. “I had some experience in programming before coming to Epitech, but it was really beneficial to learn the basics of C, as it contains a lot of important principles that are necessary for anyone looking to build a career in IT” she says. Additionally, the experience of balancing her coursework at Epitech with her studies at HSE and self-study has taught her to be more efficient with her time and to let go of perfectionism in order to achieve good results in all of her projects.
Vera’s Favorite Things to do in Paris
When it comes to her favorite things to do in Paris, Vera finds that walking is at the top of the list. “I live in the district of Vitry sur Seine, which is located in the south suburbs of Paris, so I don’t visit the city center every day. But when I do, I love to walk around,” she says. “My favorite walk is from the Orsay Museum to the Montmartre district. It’s truly fascinating! And of course, walking along the Seine River is always a great option as well.”
Vera also finds that walking has practical benefits, as it allows her to avoid crowded public transportation and get some physical activity. “Most of the times I choose to walk home from campus. It takes 50 minutes, but it’s worth it. It’s much better than taking a crowded tram and bus which takes 40 minutes.”
Did you had the chance to travel during your study exchange in Epitech? If yes, where?
Travelling was a major goal for Vera during her study exchange in Paris. “As a Russian citizen, it’s very difficult for me to travel from my country due to visa and ticket restrictions,” she says. “But once I was here in Paris, I knew I had to take advantage of the opportunity and I spent a most of my HSE scholarship on trips. No regrets at all.”
Vera was able to travel to a variety of destinations throughout Europe. “With my roommate, we went to Orleans, Brussels, Strasbourg, Lisbon, and Luxembourg. And that’s not even all! I also visited Vienna, Nice, and Monaco with my parents when they came to visit me.” she says.
For Christmas, instead of going back home to Moscow, which is extremely expensive, or staying in Paris, they organized a big trip to Italy: Rome, Florence, and Venice.
And during her last month in Paris, in January, she had everything planned. She went to Amsterdam with her EPITECH groupmates and then she visited one of her old friend in Lille.
“I hope that’s it for travelling. And I also hope that I will have at least some money left after doing all these trips” she added while laughing.
Vera’s advice to our future international students
Vera has some valuable advice for future international students at Epitech. “One thing I would stress is the importance of not being afraid to ask questions,” she says. “The teachers and assistants at Epitech are more than willing to help and asking for clarification or additional information can help you better understand the material.”
She also emphasizes the importance of approaching projects with a growth mindset. “The goal of completing a project at Epitech should not be solely focused on getting a good grade, but rather on improving your skills,” she says. “You will learn more by challenging yourself and striving to improve, rather than just trying to meet the minimum requirements to pass.”
One class that stood out to her during her time at Epitech was the Innovation Hub. “It’s a class where you can realize any of your ideas with the support of your mentor,” she explains. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase your creativity and develop skills that can be highlighted on your resume.”
Overall, Vera highly recommends the class and encourages future students to consider taking it. “Innovation Hub is different from other 1-year projects because you create your project yourself, so you need to be motivated and willing to learn new frameworks,” she says. “If you have a passion for innovation, this class is definitely worth considering.”