Faculty of Science and Engineering - Germany, Munich
|Datum:||29 oktober 2020|
My name is Codrut-Andrei Diaconu and I’m a Computing Science Master’s student, following the specialization Data Science and Systems Complexity. In September 2019 I started an Erasmus exchange at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. I’ve made this choice knowing that it's a very good university and also because they offer many Data Science related courses.
Munich is a great city with plenty of opportunities. But at the same time, it is also one of the most expensive cities in Germany (for example, the average price of a room in a shared apartment is around 550 euros), so the Erasmus scholarship covers less than a half of the living costs.
Fortunately, I’ve been accepted to receive a support from Groningen University Fund which helped me a lot during the first months. Finding an accommodation there was also very challenging and stressful.
In the first two weeks of October there were many introductory activities organized for international students, including a city tour that ended with a visit to the History of National Socialism museum, a tour in the BMW factory, a hike in the Partnach Gorge and a visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle. The Faculty of Informatics from TUM has also offered to each exchange student a personal mentor who in my case was a German guy who was doing his Bachelor’s there. We had very nice discussions and we stayed in touch even after the mentoring program ended.
During the first semester I followed 4 courses (with a total of 32 ECTS) related to Data Science. One of them was a practical course (10 ECTS) which consisted in a semester-long project under a close supervision. I was lucky to work with a local student, we had a very good time together and with his help I’ve discovered many interesting aspects about Munich, Bavaria and German people in general.
I enjoyed the countryside from the south of Munich a lot. I cycled more than 1000 km in that area, around the lakes or close to the Bavarian Alps and I enjoyed the amazing landscapes. I also went hiking a few times near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a place surrounded by wonderful mountains.
Towards the end of the semester, in order to support my living costs, I started to work as a student assistant at the Institute of Computational Biology from Helmholtz Zentrum München. I had to face the annoying German bureaucracy a few times, for instance when I had to prepare the documents needed for the contract (at least 10). A funny situation that I won’t forget was when the company asked me to get a German statutory health insurance to be able to get the contract and then, when I made a request for this to an insurance company, they asked for a copy of the working contract. Nevertheless, I was very lucky with this job because some topics were related to my studies and the working schedule was very flexible.
Given that I enjoyed my time in Munich, a few months before the end of the semester I requested an extension of my exchange for the second semester too. I managed to do the necessary steps and this way I did my Master’s thesis there. As a topic, I chose something completely new for me (Genomics) so I had to put in a lot of effort. Fortunately I worked in a very nice group and with their help I managed to accumulate a minimum background. The restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus pandemic also affected me since I had to work online all the time for a few months. After 6 months of hard work, I managed to submit my thesis in September 2020.
Altogether, I am very satisfied with the choice I did regarding the host university and I think the entire experience helped to improve both my technical and personal skills.