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"I’ve learned a lot about the different directions to pursue after my studies"

Joost Vossers from the Netherlands has always felt a strong connection to Sweden. His intererest in AI led him to enroll in the two-year Master's Programme in Artificial Intelligence in autumn 2022. He appreciates the close relations with teachers and supervisors, and the focus on the ethical application of technologies.

Name: Joost Vossers
Home city and country: Valburg, the Netherlands
Degree programme: Master’s Degree in Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Favourite quote: “It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.”
- Douglas Adams in ’a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’
Favourite Swedish word or custom?
Fika! I love the fact that there’s a word for connecting with someone over a cup of coffee or tea with a tasty snack :)

What made you interested in applying for the programme?

I always felt some kind of connection with Sweden. My previous university hosted an annual exchange with a Swedish university and after hearing about it I joined the organising committee for this event. After the exchange, I started learning the language on Duolingo (which I’m still keeping up). When the time came to begin with my Master’s, Sweden seemed like the natural place to start looking. The AI programme in Umeå is diverse and lets you choose your own path. There is a big focus on the ethical application of technologies which is something I’m really interested in!

What would you like to have known before you came to Umeå?

How dark it gets in the winter! I was prepared for the snow and the cold, but the darkness really surprised me. It’s a very interesting thing to experience and it has a big influence on how you spend your time. I suggest you accept and embrace it by finding a cozy spot and sitting down with a nice hot beverage and a blanket.

What do you think about the programme and the teachers/teaching?

The programme is awesome! My programme is not that big, which makes it possible to form close relations with teachers and supervisors. Like I said, it’s quite diverse, and I’ve learned a lot about the different directions to pursue after my studies. Because of the small scale, the teachers are really involved with students, and they want to hear from us to improve their courses based on what we are interested in.

What do you like to do in Umeå during your free time?

There’s so much to do! During summer I like to go outside into the beautiful nature surrounding the city. There are big forests with almost always a lake close by, and you can follow one of the many hiking trails that are available. In the winter, I like to get some skis which I take to the same hiking trails that have been transformed into paths for cross-country skiing. I can also really enjoy sitting inside my home or a cozy café with a good book and some fika. 

What are the biggest differences between studying in Sweden and your home country?

I haven’t necessarily noticed a lot of differences with my previous university. The main point would be that there is less focus on the grades you obtain and more on what you learn during a course. Passing a course by showing your skills is more the norm. As for the university itself, I like that you can get everywhere without technically going outside since all buildings are connected with glass bridges.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I plan on starting with a PhD in the field of AI. I want to pursue a career in academia and try to have an impact with my research. Whether this will be in Umeå or back home in the Netherlands remains to be seen :)

Internationella studenter studerar i caféet i Lindellhallen
Student voices

Meet some of our students and alumni, expressing their thoughts on Umeå University and the city of Umeå.

Published: 2023-09-22