An amazing eye-opening chance to see the world (and myself) from another angle

Hugo Perez

Master’s student Hugo talks about his experience of studying at Kent

What is your name and degree?

Hugo Perez, MSc Computer Science (Computational Intelligence)

Why did you choose to study at Kent?

As part of my fourth year of studies in my school [EPITECH] in France, I am required to do one year in a partner university abroad. While I was initially looking more for a nice country to stay in, I shifted (rightfully, I think) to focusing more on the modules taught in the university itself, the choice of the country being second.
Following that thought process, I filtered the available universities that teach modules related to Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is a domain I want to specialise in. I was surprised to discover that a particular degree was specifically focusing on AI: the MSc Computer Science (Computational Intelligence) degree. That interested me a lot and I heard positive feedback from the students in France that also went there for their fourth year of studies. The proximity of the country with mine also sealed the deal.

What has your course been like?

The first word that come to my mind is “theoretical.” During my entire year, I only had to write approximately 40 lines of code. While I agree that quantity is not very relevant, it definitely highlights that the subjects that are taught are going for the most part at a certain deepness. And for me, wanting to get into AI more concretely, I have been well served! Even if I was already into AI before (I founded the AI group in my French school in Toulouse) I feel that I have gone way deeper and I feel that I have a stronger knowledge of a vast side of the AI tools, methods, uses and work to do in that domain.

What have you enjoyed most?

What I enjoyed the most here was the society system. Back in my school in Toulouse, there are no societies or similar structures for extra-curriculum activities or interests (besides the students’ union). Finding this system here made me really curious about what kind of interests were present among the students. And the answer was: everything! From sports to artistic societies, as well as more spiritual, thinking and intellectual society, there is everything for everyone!
The society that I have joined (and I consider that to be the best decision I have taken that year) is the Swing Dance Society, which helped me having an amazing year. Besides the timeless cheerful dance that is that of swing, I have discovered an amazing group of friends that I kept during the whole year. If there is only one reason I would come back next year for a visit, that would be for them. I am amazed to think about how much joining this society has brought to me.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned?

Regarding my course, mmmh… That is difficult to select only one point! I would say that the most interesting thing I have learned is how, using data mining techniques from a dataset, you are able to extract a lot of knowledge that might be useful (or even decisive), and that we would not be able to humanly discover by ourself.

What are your plans after you graduate?

In France, masters degrees take two years. Therefore, my year at the University of Kent will count as the first year of master degree. After I graduate from my French school, I plan to take either a pedagogical role in a computing school. I already did in the past during my second and third years, and I am also going to do as a part-time job during my fifth year. I am also considering a programming / development role in a company, preferably in AI, as it is both my field of interest and of expertise.

Anything else you’d like to say about your course, Kent or your placement?

I would say that the diversity of nationalities and cultures present on campus have been for me an amazing eye-opening chance to see the world (and myself) from another angle, which helps a lot in broadening your view and your self. My year here have also been the opportunity for me to get on one of my long-time dream: learning to play the violin. I got in touch with the Music Society at the start of the year and they directed me to a very kind student (that I later found to be the leader of the String Sinfonia ensemble!) who gave me lessons. She allowed me to fulfil a dream and to start a new hobby. And I thank her a lot.
As a last point, I want to say that the University of Kent is a land full of opportunities for everyone of every type to take on. Whatever your tastes or your interests might be, there is something for you here that will be beneficial for you for a very, very long time. Merci beaucoup !