Gunay Aghalarli, Azerbaijan: DEPEND
Obtaining a master's degree can be a life-changing experience, especially if it involves studying abroad through a program like the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's (EMJM) degree. For many, it offers the chance to learn from the best universities worldwide, meet new people from different cultures and backgrounds, and gain new perspectives on life. This was the case when I pursued my EMJM in Advanced Systems Dependability (DEPEND).
Before starting my master's degree, I was on a completely different career path. However, I realized that I wanted a substantial change in my life and decided to pursue my dream of continuing my education in computer science. It was a big step for me, and I needed to fight against my fears of failure and leave my comfort zone.
Luckily, the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship program DEPEND was a perfect fit for my bachelor's background, and I found it just one day before the deadline. I wrote my motivation letter the same day, with my application documents ready beforehand. I submitted everything on the day of the deadline, 9th March 2019, without expecting to be accepted. But to my surprise, I received an acceptance letter from DEPEND, one of the happiest days of my life.
My first year was spent at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where I received an excellent education and formed irreplaceable friendships that are like family to me to this day, even after four years. I continued my studies at the University of Lorraine, Nancy, France, the following year. This experience allowed me to meet many great people from different parts of the world, and we survived together during the struggles of exams, Covid, and homesickness. The friendships I formed while studying in France are the best part of my experience in studying and living in France. And now, I am even fond of French desserts! I learned the value of meeting different people worldwide, studying at one of the best universities, and becoming more academically and professionally accomplished. I also learned to become braver and trust in my power to overcome any challenge.
I believe that Erasmus Mundus is the door that opened my eyes to the real world and gave me the opportunity to follow my dreams
During my studies, I travelled to many parts of Europe and gathered incredible memories. I also got an opportunity to join the Erasmus Mundus Association to promote the EMJM programs in my country as a country representative. I am still a part of the association, and I believe that Erasmus Mundus is the door that opened my eyes to the real world and allowed me to follow my dreams while helping others who want to pursue their master's degrees in EMJM programs.
In conclusion, obtaining an EMJM degree was a significant milestone. It allowed me to grow academically, professionally, and personally and opened up many opportunities to help others. I encourage everyone considering studying abroad to take the leap and pursue their dreams because the experience is life-changing.