In January 2020 I received an offer from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics to do an Erasmus+ Research Placement in the field of #datascience at University of Bradford. Now, in January 2021, I am glad to say that despite all the difficulties brought by the global pandemic, I successfully finished the autumn 2020 placement. I am happy to say that my return to Moscow did not put an end to my collaboration with the wonderful team at Bradford. We continue to stay in touch and explore new avenues of working together – towards my first publication!
My experience was affected by the pandemic and for three weeks I had to live in self-isolation. However, I had absolutely no time to get bored or reflective – the Kickstart programme and various webinars from UBU and the project team kept me going. I also quickly made friends with my flatmates in the student accommodation provided by the Green, which allowed me not to lack social interaction and communication.
The help from the University and the Green (product packages as well as the personal help from the international coordinators and project professors) left me with positive emotions and great appreciation for their feedback. It seems to me that in the current pandemic situation it is more important than ever to maintain a work-life balance in order to remain mentally healthy and productive. And Bradford University has all the conditions for that!
Working in the laboratory two days a week allowed me to meet the team face-to-face (even taking COVID-19 precautions into consideration) and build a competent work process even while working at home on the other days. On weekends I had the option of joining hiking or cycling organized by UBU and get some fresh air, energy and inspiration (Ilkley Moor and Yorkshire Dales worth visiting them again)! A trip to London was also fantastic. Even on holiday I was inspired by ideas for research – for example, I managed to visit the National Science Museum. There was a wonderful exhibition on mathematics and IT in one of the halls. Looking at the huge Charles Babbage’s Difference machine is so impressive, when you understand how much science has advanced from the old times! Now mathematical calculations like the ones this machine solves can be made by a small brick in our pocket called a smartphone.
The unique part of my international experience was that the project combined work both with the industry (real data and goals set by company) and academic studies (team of PhD students, doctors and professors writing the scientific paper). It was a wonderful opportunity to develop my hard and soft skills, broaden professional network, explore the culture of UK and find new friends.
Working in the pandemic did not allow us to communicate closely with students from other research projects face-to-face, but having a huge number of social media allows us to stay up to date and even help colleagues who have come to Bradford from all around the world. Being able to make international friends even during isolation was super great!
I was provided with my own workspace and all the equipment and software needed. I want to thank Carlos Santos e Sousa (International Opportunities team) and Michael Allhouse with Adam Tasker (University of Bradford Union of Students) who helped us a lot during the whole duration of stay.
Special thanks to Felician Campean for being so passionate about the work he does, his responsiveness, professionalism and ability to deliver even complex topics with simple language. Thanks to Daniel Neagu for the warm welcome in Bradford and active participation in the discussions.
I value my professional experience in University of Bradford as well as nature exploration in Yorkshire Dales, London streets with their special atmosphere, Twinings for the Lady Grey tea and Yorkshire for its lovely accents.
Thanks for sharing your story Alexy, all the best for the future. See more about study abroad opportunities on SharePoint.