Akmaral studied online in a different time zone

– This semester completely changed my daily routine, but it was worth it, says Akmaral Tokbergenova from Kazakhstan.

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Akmaral Tokbergenova. Photo: Private

Name: Akmaral Tokbergenova.
Age: 25
Lives: I was born in the small town of Taldykorgan in the Southeast of Kazakhstan and after graduation I moved to the capital of Kazakhstan, the city of Nur-Sultan, to continue my studies.

Studies: Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Nazarbayev University. Now a second-year master student at Master of Engineering Management program. This program is a unique program in our university which combines Engineering and Business management courses.

Akmaral studied at UiS spring semester 2021 through EduInd4 project funded by Diku.

How was it to attend digital studies with lectures and communication online?

– Since I had already taken several online courses at my home university due to the pandemic, this was not unusual for me. However, something was still different, and I really liked it. Of course, studying online in my hometown, given the 4-5 hours difference, was really difficult because while everyone was enjoying their evening time, I was attending my online lectures. This semester completely changed my daily routine, but it was worth it. This daily routine also had positive aspects, as I could devote my daytime to other interesting activities.
I want to note that despite the online format of training, the professors tried their best to preserve the feeling of live communication and learning. My classmates did the same. I am very grateful to them that they were sympathetic to the fact that I was in another country and always took into account the time difference, trying to adjust to the time convenient for me.

How did you feel the learning outcome was?

– I think that despite the online training format, I received a very good package of knowledge that I can use in the future. Some courses turned out to be something completely new for me, thanks to them I learned about such concepts and concepts that I had not even thought about before. Despite the fact that something was new to me, thanks to the professional work of the teachers, I mastered all the acquired knowledge well.

It was an unforgettable experience. I met new people, made friends, and felt like a part of a completely new community, despite the pandemic and distance of thousands of kilometers.

Akmaral Tokbergenova

Any thoughts on what you want to work with when you graduate?

– Since it was last semester for me in my Master’s program, I already have some plans for my future work. With Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and now a holder of a Master’s degree in Engineering management, I’m planning to combine both these directions and work as an Information systems engineer. And I already have an offer from local public medical organization, which wants me to work on digitalization of medical processes of this organization.

Other experiences that you want to share with students that are thinking of applying for exchange abroad?

– The only thing I want to say to students thinking about posting to an exchange program is to be bold. Don't miss the opportunity to meet new people, do new things, and take new courses for yourself. All this will bring positive results. Try to be as active as possible, even if you are studying online. For example, during my online studies, I managed to become a member of the 2Winners research team, where we study and create digital twins. As part of this team, I attended a lot of online seminars and various interesting courses, for example, 3D modeling.

Therefore, I advise new students to make the most of the opportunities. Attend online seminars, try to communicate more with your classmates and learn something new, because it has become so accessible now, in the world of new technologies. And if a person really wants something, no pandemic will become a hindrance for him.

Written by: Marita Omdal