Why did you choose Radboud University?
When I knew I wanted to study Artificial Intelligence, I knew I would be most at home at Radboud University. I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere during a 'Student for a Day' event here at AI. I was already welcomed by many and invited to a few activities, long before I even started. The students here are really open, in general. I did not base my decision to study here purely on the atmosphere: I also am deeply interested in the "human" part of AI, which is an aspect that AI here in Nijmegen pays more attention to compared to other, similar, programmes. Once I knew that it was an easy choice.
What do you like about the Bachelor's programme and why? How has the programme challenged you?
Almost all courses that I follow are made to be a perfect fit for AI students. I noticed that in most other study programmes in the Netherlands, courses about academic and professional skills, as well as statistics, are very general, which makes them feel really bland in my opinion. However here at AI, the courses are tailored for AI students: in statistics, you are asked to come up with an algorithm to analyse the data for you, whereas most other students still have to calculate a lot by hand. During the course "academic and professional skills 1", we even specifically focus on skills that are relevant for jobs in our field and mainly work on those. This tailored approach really feels like the study programme is more personalised, which I find very important. You really matter here, at AI.
There is also a downside to this, unfortunately. As AI is something you learn not by studying literature, but rather learn by doing, there are a lot of assignments to be handed in. An average AI course has around two deadlines every 8 weeks, but with multiple courses going on at the same time, that can become a bit harder than expected. However, if you really enjoy what you are doing and you plan it all out well, you will not have any issues in that regard.
What do you think about the atmosphere in class (for example the relationship between students and with the teachers/researchers)?
The atmosphere in AI is one of the best I have seen in any study programme in the Netherlands. Literally anyone, no matter who you are and what you like, is welcomed by all others. The students really care about you and oftentimes you know the name of everyone in your year before the end of the first semester, even though the numerus fixus is set at 185. I would not be able to name a single bad aspect of the atmosphere among the students, honestly.
The same statement holds for the teachers. They are all really motivated to give you the best they have to offer. They are very approachable for questions, feedback and cool new ideas for projects that you might want to do in your free time. There are even a few yearly activities at which you can meet them outside of their working hours; I once played a game of pool against a few of my teachers somewhere in Nijmegen.
What are your plans once you have received your Bachelor’s degree?
Once you finish your Bachelor's degree in AI, there is still a world of possibilities open for you. I personally really enjoy being involved in education and communication, so I am following a few extra courses based on those. Afterwards, I hope to have a decision-ready, but currently, I am still quite unsure where I will be headed afterwards. Luckily, AI students can afford such a luxury!
Are you involved with the study association of your programme? If so, in what way?
When I became an AI student, I both wanted to do something for my peer students, as well as develop myself as a person next to my studies. The study association for AI (called 'CognAC') really helped me in doing so: they offer a wide variety of activities organised for students by students. I joined the "first-year committee" together with a few of my friends to find out if committee work was something for me, and I had a blast. Immediately after, I became more active and eventually also joined the board of CognAC. From all of these experiences, I have gotten to know a lot about my peer students, as well as myself. Overall, a very useful and fun experience!
What do you like about Nijmegen?
Nijmegen is a great yet small city. Everything is really close-by but big enough to have a large spectrum of things to do in your free time.
Did you visit any information meetings at the campus before you signed up for your studies? Did you find them useful and why?
I signed up for both a talk at the open day, as well as a one-on-one 'Student for a Day', just to be sure. The open day gave me a good view of what I could expect from the programme, but the 'Student for a Day' gave me a great impression of what I could expect from the students doing the actual programme. I got to know a lot about what they thought of it, what the atmosphere is like and also about what being an AI student is like. In my past years, I have noticed how important it is to have a great atmosphere among your peer students, so I greatly advise you to join one of the information meetings at the campus to see for yourself whether it is something for you or not.
What would you advise students when choosing a study programme?
The most important thing to consider is to get to know what kind of student you are. I knew I liked coming up with my own creative solutions and collaborating with other students, more than anything else. When choosing my study programme, I took into account what form I really liked to study in, next to of course what material I was studying. It is much easier to study for something if it is in your preferred way, especially when you also love what you are studying. So, go find out what way of studying really keeps you going, and focus on that!