Being an international student I had never imagined that staying in a different continent would be such a memorable experience. Looking back, I feel that every moment was enjoyable, challenging and worth spending in Reading,UK. After spending 22 years in academics with a bachelors in Computer Science and then 2 years in the software industry in India, securing the Felix Scholarship allowed me to pursue my hopes of doing masters in Cybernetics in the University of Reading.

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The UK Experience

Before, coming to Reading, Ms. Samantha Mc Mohan, who was in charge of the Felix Scholarship in the year 2011, helped me with various issues ranging from travel, accommodation to financial matters. The most helpful bit was that Samantha provided the email addresses of senior Felix recipients. The first few weeks before arrival saw a flurry of emails back and forth to other Felix recipients, which, in retrospect, was the most useful during my initial days.

Due to differences in culture and even political system, often it is said that students easily become affected by culture shock; some even return home immediately. But with the beautiful network of friends that Felix helped me to build, supported me throughout the entire year and allowed me to adjust to the new environment without any problems. Senior Felix Scholars were also very helpful on trivial yet necessary matters like places to shop, getting a mobile phone, rail cards, student discounts on shops etc.

The Felix trust organised a welcome party in October for the Reading students followed by another reception in June 2012 which included the important members of the Felix trust as well as students from Oxford and SOAS. These were wonderful experiences because we got to meet academic and administrative staffs along with senior students and fellow students from other Universities as well. The second welcome party was held in the English Rural Museum which is one of the best places to visit in Reading. The evening was definitely much appreciated by all and helped everyone mingle in a relaxed setting.

Felix is such a generous trust that it takes cares of every small need of a student. Taking a note of the weather, Felix provided us funds to buy warm clothes, our books and also made arrangements for us to attend the conferences. A few months after my course started, there was a change in the Management, who took care of the requirements of Felix students in Reading. Ms. Samantha Mc Mohan was replaced by another friendly person called Mr. Chris Robinson. He was the man who helped me till the end. It was during October 2012 after I completed my dissertation, I faced a crisis situation and I needed to travel back to my country immediately. He made all the necessary arrangements for me within a week’s time. I am really grateful to him for supporting me so much.

Masters Degree

Then comes the most important aspect, the studies. The modules in Cybernetics actually helped me to get equipped with the organisational ability, more independence, enhanced self confidence, better leadership qualities and the ability to work under pressure. The University classroom which had students from different backgrounds actually helped in developing cross-cultural team skills. I believe that I had chosen Reading University to study Cybernetics because of its reputation in this field, the perceived quality of research and the infrastructure available. I was quite satisfied with the good standard of teaching and lecturing and especially the co-operation provided to me by all the faculty members. My dissertation supervisors were some of the best teachers I have met in my life. I worked under their supervision in the domain of Terahertz Imaging and they provided me with all the required guidance and mental support I needed.

Career Path

It has now become a firm belief that research is indispensable in me, not only for acquiring a deeper understanding and a flexible insight but also for making an original contribution to knowledge and to the human society as a whole. It has been engendered in me a desire for advanced applied research. After completion of my masters I was invited to work as a research fellow in one of the most premium institutes in India known as Indian Statistical Institute (ISI). I worked on image processing and pattern recognition in the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Unit of ISI for about 3 months which led to several publishable results. Then on May, 2013 I joined a research based company called as Videonetics Technology Private Limited where I worked in the domain of image and video processing for video surveillance and security. Now, I am in pursuit of my dream of working towards my PhD in the field of Imaging Science. With the knowledge and experience I gathered from the University of Reading, the gateways of some of the best institutes in the world opened for me. Currently, I hold offers to start my PhD from 2014 in two of the worlds’ most renowned Universities in my field of research namely Max Planck Institute of Informatics, Germanyand École Polytechnique De Montreal,Canada.

I would want to add that being a part of the Felix community is an enriching experience. It is also a matter of great pride. With the support and help of everyone, I had spent a tremendous year filled with joy and happiness and an opportunity to study at the prestigious University of Reading.

Roychowdhury completed his PhD in Computer Science from IMT School of Advanced Studies and is presently working as an applied Machine Learning scientist at Clemex Technologies.