Yash Vijay, VIT University Semester Abroad student

"International exposure is one thing I wanted to add to my resume so as to completely prepare myself for the demands of the IT industry. Having faced and overcome the various challenges in my home country, I was ready and eager to expand my horizons and meet the fresh challenges that lie beyond them. I wanted to gain more experience to support my existing knowledge and to add to my skills, and eventually, to be able to stand out from the competition. The Semester Abroad Program would have provided me with an excellent platform to learn, adapt, develop and excel in this field that has come to define me.

I also wanted to learn about new cultures and I feel I have learnt a lot about UK; the fish and chips and football to name a few.

Applying to the University of Plymouth went smoothly without any problems. My home University, VIT, helped me out during the entire process. My application was sent to Plymouth via VIT which had all the documents included beforehand. Later I got a reply form VIT that my application was accepted and then the steps from there were easy. Overall, the process was as simple and the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Plymouth helped us out with everything, from accommodation to university enrolment.

Upon arrival to Plymouth, I did not experience so much of a culture shock, rather that of a 'climate shock'. The cold winds and continuous rains were amusingly too much to handle but we slowly adapted. I guess we were well accustomed to the British culture because of the movies, TV series, which we watched in India. We were told about the rest of the important things regarding the culture in Plymouth by the International Student Advice department. We slowly learned and adapted to what was new to us. The people here were very helpful which made it all the more easy for us.

What was great about my semester abroad at Plymouth was that I have the opportunity to work on a project in the field of my liking - Cloud Computing. The best positive would be the project being successfully completed and the student-teacher dialogue I had. My supervisor, Dr Bogdan Ghita, was always there to help and guide me whenever I needed it. Anyone who has the opportunity to work under Dr Ghita will have a good time while doing their Project as he is indeed an excellent guide.

The best thing about the University of Plymouth 9is by far the people. I never had a bad encounter with anyone here in Plymouth and compared to other cities I visited during my stay in UK, Plymouth certainly had a very good vibe. The staff were always very helpful. It was easy interacting with other students, and even though I did not have any taught courses to attend, I was still able to make friends. Miss Stephanie Ball. She was there throughout the process. She guided us with the accommodation and ice-breaking sessions etc. The student accommodation society helped us too. The welcome note by Mr Byrne and Dr Jenkins informed us of exactly what to prepare for and that really helped us settling in. The International Student Advice department and the English Language Centre also gave us all the information needed.

The infrastructure provided by the University is pretty impressive. Everything is very organized. The post-SAP programs for masters here in Plymouth are very good. The student union really impressed me as it is very different from what there is in VIT. I didn’t use the lab or the equipment; however, the library was available 24/7 which was a good thing. Overall, I am satisfied with all the facilities and support.

During my stay in Plymouth, I took part in the various student activities such as cycling; football and the movie nights. That was until I got very busy with my project. I was able to interact with people, learning new things and hearing their stories. It was very interesting to learn the different perspectives people have and these different outlooks really helped me in my decision-making process.

There were many things I hoped to gain from my time at the University of Plymouth such as, international exposure; different perspectives; technical knowledge from my project, making new friends and exploring new places and experiencing new things. I definitely achieved all of this and it has better prepared me for my placement in VISA Inc. as a software developer, which I had confirmed before coming to Plymouth. I will join VISA in Bangalore in August."