My name is Tamar Alphaidze. I’m 18 years old and I'm from Georgia. I'm currently in my first year of the Bachelor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at IE University. I chose to study this degree because it combines my love of math and logical thinking—not to mention my fascination with computers and robots.
During my high school days, I regularly participated in Computer Science Week. I would construct relatively basic robots and then present them to parents, other students, and even the school principal. I’ve always enjoyed working on these kinds of projects, and I feel that they played a significant part in my decision to study computer science.
IE University is everything and more
Now that I’m here, I know that I made the right choice. I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoy every single lecture I attend. I chose IE University not just because of its fantastic teaching reputation, but also because we’re taught how to apply our skills to the world of work. For example, we’re given advice on how to run a startup. This is the kind of information I feel is relevant to our future success.
From what I’ve seen, very few programming students are given the opportunity to work on their soft skills. However, this is not the case at IE University. Here, we have to give presentations on pretty much a daily basis. This means that we’re not just solely focused on coding or math, but we’re continuously working on skills that are both useful and necessary for our incorporation into the workplace.
Nobody’s left behind
Another thing that’s really impressed me since I arrived in the attention that is dedicated to each and every student. When I first started considering my university options, I thought that I would be mostly left to my own devices. However, here at IE University, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The teachers are extremely helpful and available to respond to questions or issues at pretty much any time of the day. Some of my tutors have even gone so far as to create a group communication tool in order to make things as efficient as possible.
IE University’s Liquid Learning model has also worked wonders during the pandemic. Even though we haven’t always been able to attend face-to-face classes over these past few months, we’ve still been provided with personalized feedback and attention. On the whole, the resources at hand have enabled us to continue pretty much as normal during these strange times.
Life beyond the classroom
Outside of classes, I’m also a member of several clubs. It’s fair to say that I’ve had to take a step back in this second semester since the workload has increased. But I’m still an active member and try to attend as many meetings as I can because they’re also beneficial to my studies. I also get to work on data from real companies, which means I’m acquiring hands-on experience during my studies. This is sure to open doors for me further down the line and is a great addition to my CV.
I’m also lucky enough to have two mentors who help me out with data analysis. That means if I’m not doing something quite right, or if a problem arises, there’s always someone on hand to help me resolve issues. This is yet again another example of the endless opportunities IE University gives us to apply our knowledge to real-life situations.
I’m also a member of IE University’s AI incubator program, Pier 17th. This fantastic project offers us the chance to develop, test, and present an AI prototype idea over the course of our degree. We’re also given the chance to obtain Technology Readiness Level (TRL) certifications for their new technology, which is followed by the likes of NASA and the European Commission. What’s more, there are also opportunities to gain access to incredible connections with companies and industry professionals which will prove invaluable when it comes to looking for work. The disruptive mindset that we’re able to acquire by participating in this program is second to none, and gives us, as IE University alumni, a competitive edge in the job hunt.
Beyond my wildest dreams
However, I have to be honest and say that I never thought I’d be doing anything like this when I was first applying for entry to IE University. In fact, I actually shied away from these kinds of projects initially despite my strong academic background. I worried that I would be presented with problems I couldn’t handle. At the end of the day, I’m alone in a foreign country and starting out at a university where I don’t know anyone. That said, when I arrived, I quickly realized that it wouldn’t be as difficult as I’d anticipated and that there were plenty of people on hand to help me out with pretty much whatever I needed.
My advice for new students heading to IE University in September is to stay calm, because at the end of the day, you’ll find your feet sooner or later.