I worked at the School of Computing at Ulster University, Campus Jordanstown. My project - which was also my master’s thesis - was about artificial intelligence. I designed a machine learning pipeline to classify human activities of daily living based on sensor data in a smart home. For example, my system recognised when the resident of the smart home was going to bed. As a consequence, the smart home could trigger the heating to be turned off. As a base, I received raw sensor data from different sensor devices and had to figure out a way to preprocess the samples and then find a good algorithm to classify the data samples. I found the tasks challenging which made me investigate and research many hours about this topic. The work environment was quiet and international. In my office, there were people from many different nations, for example, my supervisor was from China. I did not work with any locals which might have been good because at first, I did not understand the accent of the people in Northern Ireland that well. But after a while, it got easier to understand them! I got the opportunity to participate in two conferences while I was in Northern Ireland. One conference was organised by IAESTE - the Connect Conference. Since I am a member of IAESTE Austria, I met many of my friends from home there again. I also went to a scientific conference in the field of human-computer interaction - the CHI conference in Glasgow. There I experienced new ways of how computer science can be used to facilitate the interaction between users and IT systems. Attending this conference helped me to improve the methods I was using in my research and get new ideas.

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Belfast is a city with about 300,000 people. It is located in Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom. They speak in an accent and use certain slang words which might be hard to understand at first. I lived in a flat with some other professionals from Spain, Bolivia and the Netherlands. It cost me 340 GBP per month. I decided to live in South Belfast where most of the students live which meant I had to commute every day for 50 minutes to work. The public transport is quite ok though, but fairly expensive (67 GBP for a monthly pass). Belfast is a lively city with an abundance of bars with live music. There are some museums, the most known is probably the Titanic museum which tells the story of this sunken ship. The Titanic was actually constructed in Belfast. In the summer months, there are festivals every week. Another interesting museum is the Crumlin jail which is a closed down prison open to the public. Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room - the weather. It was just what you expect from the UK - extremely rainy. The weather forecast was not to be trusted since the weather could change abruptly. Once we had rain, sunshine and snow in just one hour. The temperature was pretty much the same all year round. We had the heating on even in the beginning of June. In terms of food, Belfast has an international cuisine to offer (Chinese, Thai, Turkish...). Classic Northern Irish breakfast would be an Ulster fry with potato bread, sausages, baked beans and a fried egg. A typical main dish is fish and chips (or basically anything with chips, even curry!). Apart from that, the liquid diet is of course also very popular - Guinness and Whiskey mainly. IAESTE Northern Ireland was always helpful in case any problems occurred. The local committee organised a couple of trips for us trainees. One of the local IAESTE members invited me to her grandparents’ house for Sunday dinner which is one of my favourite memories. It was so lovely to get a sneak peek into a family in Northern Ireland.


I benefited substantially from doing this internship. I got the chance to explore data science techniques and train on a real-world problem. Apart from all the new knowledge I gained, I improved my English skills and I can proudly say I understand a few more words that those Irish people say. I really enjoyed my stay in Belfast. I grew as a person and got to know myself a little better. I think one of the greatest benefits is that I learned how to adapt to different teams, different situations. I made some really good friends - international and national ones! I really hope to meet them again. Thank you IAESTE! Work - Experience - Discover!

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