Saturday, May 4, 2019

My EMJD-DC Erasmus Mundus Journey

View from my apartment in Rijeka, Croatia
My Ph.D. started 19 days before my MSc. defense. :) I got the happy news that I had received the Category "A" EMJD-DC Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, while I was attending the EMDC Winter Event in Evora. I started with IST, ULisboa, Portugal, as my first university. I continued with my MSc supervisor as my Ph.D. advisor also, as he is really a great supervisor and mentor.

Following my MSc defense, my Ph.D. started smoothly. I finished all my course requirements for the first year. I also went to the University of Rijeka, Croatia, for a short-term scientific mission (STSM). It was fun, spending the summer in Rijeka. I also had the chance to visit nearby countries (Italy, Slovenia, and Serbia) by bus, for a very low price. On the other hand, my stay in Croatia was also very productive. My research work there became a core of my thesis.

Night walk from KAUST
I did 2 Google Summer of Code (GSoC) from Portugal. Once during my MSc (2014) and the other during my Ph.D. (2015). I also did an OpenDaylight internship. Then I moved to Atlanta for 7 months for an extended internship at Emory University, as a continuation of my GSoCs. When I returned from Atlanta to Lisbon, I had to apply for the Belgium visa quick since I was already in my third year and I must move to my second university (UCLouvain) in Belgium. After a short period of 4 months in Lisboa, we moved to Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium in February 2017. Later in 2017, I also spent 2 months in KAUST, Saudi Arabia, the 5th university of my Ph.D. Finally, I returned to Portugal for my 4th-year 2nd semester, December 2017. In the next 6 months, I made sure to satisfy all the thesis requirements of IST and UCLouvain, including the UCLouvain Thesis Confirmation and IST CAT. I also finished the thesis draft and moved to Emory University again before the defense. 

Evora, Portugal
There are a few things I could have done better. For instance, looking back, I feel I should have defended the thesis before moving out of the EU. It was just defense pending, and moving away from the EU made the process much longer. Similarly, I also think I should have started writing the thesis early on, making sure the LaTex variables across my various papers do not have naming conflicts. That would have helped me when I consolidated the content from my various papers to the thesis document. But I am still happy with how everything went. Next is to defend my thesis in 2019 July. I am looking forward to it.

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