Name and country of origin: Simona Bisiani, Italy/Sweden
Programme: Master's in Computational Social Science
While completing my BA in Journalism, I realised the world of today and tomorrow needs people able to analyse large and complex data, and this is applicable in large numbers of fields, from the newsroom, to policy-making, to finance, business administration, and healthcare. Data is everywhere, and it is increasing in value every single day. To be able to draw meaningful conclusions from it is like a delicate craft, requiring in-depth thinking and expertise.
I scouted around for something in Academia able to equip me with a solid foundation in state-of-the-art data analysis skills: my course at LiU came up only after a quick Google search. My Master degree in Computational Social Science is one of the few courses in Europe that is aimed at individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, from engineering to journalism. It has a two-fold aim: to provide a foundation in computer programming and statistical analysis, and to carry out quality-research within the realm of social sciences.
Whilst personally I wish to carry on, after my degree, in the direction of journalism and data analytics, I enjoy that my course has a really close connection between students and lecturers, creating opportunities for cooperation and collaboration, may that be as a research assistant or as a future PhD applicant. The environment is buzzing, and I think we owe not just to my field of study, but to the Swedish way of life too. Everyone is listened to, engaged: we learn from our lecturers just as we learn from each other. We are a small class of super-passionated students which provides room for large personal development!
Norrköping has a cute, "Manchester" vibe, where old-meets-new in the architecture and local history. It is pretty enough that you don't get tired of it, small enough that you can get anywhere by bike, surrounded by what seem endless forests to allow for infinite escape opportunities in the beautiful Swedish nature. But there is nearly no need to look outside the brick-walls of our fabulous campus: even at the end of my first year here at LiU, I still get starstruck by how beautiful and accommodating our facilities are. The university has done an amazing job at creating that sense of modernity, functionality, efficiency, and it emanates from all the study rooms, the library, the computer labs, the dining halls...
I think I am a bit of a "success story" prototype: I moved to Sweden, started my course at LiU in something quite different and challenging, felt deeply engaged by the learning environment, and made new international friendships (as well as Swedish ones). Where do I stand now? I feel I have gained invaluable and employable skills, and am looking forward to spend the rest of the course obtaining more!