Congratulations!! You have been academically accepted for the European Master of Science in Photonics. The day I received this email was the most happiest day of my life.From the day , I received my admit ,I started counting days to go to Belgium . To be true on my side, I did not have any information or a contact in EMSP so that I could use the opinion of someone with their experience in this master program. I just googled about the Master courses in Photonics in Europe , and EMSP came across. and went across the information given on their website and reviews online - and was excited to apply ( This Master Program is gonna be excited ) and this is exactly true , I am not bragging about it.
I took a flight from Bangalore to Abu Dhabi and from Abu Dhabi to Brussels ( The capital city of Belgium). I did had a layover in Bangalore too, as I come from a mediocre city , Raipur in India which does not has a international airport. While I was sitting in Bangalore airport alone, A weird feeling cropped up inside me on the day when I was sitting in airport , thinking how would everything go , how would be the new culture , a new country, a new way of living far away from home 8000 kilometers away across the ocean. Leaving your parents , home country is definitely difficult because due tot his huge distance you can't visit them often. But, deep inside I had a feeling too, I was going into one of the best school of Photonics in Europe and so everything would be nice, but it turned out to be amazing. The initial days I felt a little home sick, but thanks to Nikhil ( he is my classmate ) , he made me feel Ghent so homely . I was also lucky enough to get a accommodation from my home country , so this made my life here much easier. Also, I would like to mention that finding accommodation in Ghent is so difficult , so make sure the first thing after you get a admit, search for rooms.
I always had a fear of living in European city because of the language barrier. I thought I would feel always left out among the locals, because they will talk and laugh, and have fun in a language you would never understand. But, Ghent is a truely a international city and . If you love parties and socializing , join the Erasmus Group. They are a group if exchange students from across the European Universities. Also, in EMSP there is a good diversity and we are like a family, we do help each other.
I love this medieval ancient, yet modern city of Ghent. Ghent is one the charming"darlings" of Belgium. I have been to Leuven, Brussels , Dinant , Genk , Ardennes, yet I love this city the most . It's so different than what I saw in internet. Internet can't do justice to any place and this is quite true. The Gothic Archietcture of Cathedral, the eternal silence of sunsets across the river , and the colorful bubbles at city center are some of the things I can always keep in falling with love. Graslei and Korenlei are one of my favourite streets. These streets are so magical during the day as well as in night. And also, not to forget the amazing fries and waffles . If your first love is chocolate, trust me you will love Belgium. Want to fancy student life, just go to Overpoortstraat ,grab a beer and you will find the craziest of students there. I had a impression that no one here would speak english, because their native language is Dutch, but this conception turned out to be wrong. Almost everyone , old and young can speak English. So , whenever you get lost , don't worry. Belgians are among the most helping and friendly people. With Belgium lying at the center of Europe, it's so easy to fulfil your dream of travelling to all the European countries. Paris is just 2 hours away from Brussels , and Amsterdam too.
Ghent University is one of the best highly ranked university in the world and our professors are so friendly, nice and their knowledge incredibly amazing. The academic staff are helpful, caring and make your arrival in Belgium so smooth. When in problem, they are always there. There was a introductory session by Ghent University common for all students and also some fun activities like Kayaking, Going to Belfry tower , to have a magnificent aerial view of Gent and many others!!( Make sure to check your emails before your arrival , where you register and just a tip, Kayaking is filled up very soon ) . There was a kick-off event by Photonics Group . Every little detailed information was given which made me comfortable enough to plan out my studies for 2 years ( This is really not a piece of cakewalk ).The professors are so kind and prompt to every question you have. So the transition from culture in my home country to a European culture was so smooth. Now I feel so confident about the perfect career choice I made. In the kick-off event , the information was so crystal clear that I could figure out my way through these 2 years ( I have a sound plan of going for international internship to CEA-LETI, france , I will share my experience , if Corona Virus outbreak doesn't fuck my plan ). Also, since our program and our professors both at Ugent and VUB have so many industrial contacts , that getting a job won't be like walking through thorns in a garden of roses.
Coming from Engineering background, the first semester courses are very challenging and difficult . I didn't even have a space to breathe in .The first semester courses are fundamental physics and some mathematics ( I have a math phobia, but thanks to professor Peter, he made those lectures amazingly well planned and a cakewalk for me to study). The courses are difficult but not impossible. Everyone does it , because the professors do explain the concepts very well. They are brilliant, experts and genius , I would say . Although, I would mention, that balancing your time is very important. Well, I gave six exams in 20 days , so that was a bit more challenging.
The second semester is rather easy and less dense completely manageable, but you have gotta do more lab reports. The abstract concepts ( For me all the Fourier Transforms, Periodic Structures was abstract and imaginary) , but when I actually did them in labs , I realise how fascinating they are. I couldn't say much about the second semester now, because it went all online because of this corona virus outbreak. Also, after one semester in Belgium, you get used to culture , and the lifestyle which makes life so easy.
To get a truely international experience , this master program offers many exchange oppertunities to almost all the Best Universities in Europe like ITMO, EPFL, DTU, therefore, you also have a chance to experience another European Culture. All the professors have a extensive industrial network, so finding a international internship is not so difficult. I too got one in my first semester !!. If I could go for my internship ( Thanks to this corona outbreak making me confuse about doing my internship ) , I will surely share my experience.
If you have any question ( Don't worry , you can also ask silly questions to me ) get in touch using my contact.Always Happy to Help .