Student interview: Juan Carlos Pichardo Vicencio

Carlos is a 2nd year student in the EDISS Programme. He was interviewed in May when still studying at Åbo Akademi University. This year Carlos continued his studies at Mälardalen University. In the interview Carlos talks about the courses and the methods of studying, that have challenged him in his professional development. Carlos also mentions the importance of his peer students in learning.  

Why did you choose to apply for the EDISS-program? 

Well, I think when we get out of our Bachelor studies, normally we’re looking for something for  the future, maybe to challenge ourselves or to get out of our comfort zone. While reading about exchange possibilities, I thought maybe this the opportunity for me. I think the main reason I chose EDISS was because of all the possibilities that it is going to give me in the future and the challenges I’m going to face. 

Now that you are here, how would you describe EDISS, what is it about and what have you learned so far? 

Well, EDISS is quite an incredible program. I think it is not only about the studies, the education in data-science and machine-learning that you get in the courses, it is also about the sociality and the international friends that you make here. You will meet so many people from different cultures and get a better understanding of them. 

What were your expectations and has the program met them? 

So far, I have learned about data-science and machine learning discourses that have challenged    me in my professional development, also about the people here. My expectations were to get a lot of knowledge and to learn new things during the classes, and I think the program has given me exactly that. New topics, new things that even I haven’t thought about before. I’m really interested in the different topics that are here. 

How has the financing worked for you? 

I think one of the main troubles that everyone has when applying to the program and thinking about going abroad is the financing. The ERASMUS Mundus scholarship has helped us a lot with that, and I think the money is enough to stay here. You may not afford to buy everything, like all the new stuff and technology etc, but it will give you enough to eat and enjoy, and even go to events and participate in different type of culturing here in Finland. So, it has been great, of course it’s not the best thing around but you will get used to it. 

What do you think about studying in Finland, what has it been like? 

I think studying in Finland is quite different when you compare it to, let’s say your own country’s style of studying where you might have a lot of classes and homework from courses that crave a lot from you. But here in Finland, I think it is a bit more relaxed and it’s more about yourself trying to study and understand the topics. Maybe you will have two classes of each course and a lot of projects, but it gives you the time to develop yourself to understand your projects to understand yourself instead of being in front of a professor all the time. That is something amazing I think because we need to continue working on ourselves, not because of the studies, but because we want to develop. And so far, I think it has been quite an experience, I have learned so many things of myself here. I think this is one experience you need to have in your life. 

What have you been doing outside of your studies in Finland? 

Of course, the studies are the first thing that you think about when it comes to your degree, but I have done a lot outside of studies. I’ve spent time with my new friends that I’ve gotten to know here in the programme, playing boardgames and videogames, just talking and hanging around. Then there is getting to know the Finnish culture. You will go to events such as musicals and you probably won’t understand the language but it’s amazing to see them. Also going on bike-rides in the city or walking and hiking in different forests, Finland is so full of nature. And what can I say about winter, all the skiing and ice skating, there are a lot of activities to do here. 

Thoughts about the Winter school, internship, and your upcoming exchange year? 

I think Winter School is a unique thing that happens in EDISS that other programs don’t have. It’s a week when two intakes come together and socialize in one of the four host countries. It’s a great opportunity and I encourage you to free your mind from other stressful things and just enjoy the week.  

I think a lot of us were a bit afraid about the idea that we needed to find an internship when we started, but it’s an opportunity to grow, to get to know one of the Finnish companies or one from another country. You get to familiarize yourself with data-science and machine learning first-hand, if you don’t already have any previous experience. Three months, you do it, done, enjoy it. 

One of the most important things about this ERASMUS Mundus master’s degree is our exchange in another country. When you read about it you are amazed. I think it’s great, the idea of going someplace new next year and seeing another new country and getting to know their culture. But you know, there is something that they never tell you about, when that day is comes, you are going to miss a lot of your friends that are here right now. It’s melancholic but at the same time the exciting. 

What are your future plans? 

I think future plans are difficult things to imagine, what am I going to do in the next 1-2 years after finishing my master’s degree. I haven’t decided yet, I’m still thinking whether to stay in Finland or going back home and sharing what I have learned here to my country, being with my family and everything. I have a lot of doors open for me right now. 

Last updated on 29 November 2023