Tuesday, January 21, 2014

[STUDENT AMBASSADOR] Bertrand Dushime – From Rwanda to Alaska as a Graduate Engineering Student

WES Student Advisor: Tell us about why you decided to come to the U.S. to pursue your master’s degree.

A degree from a U.S. Institution is internationally recognized and respected all over the world; moreover the U.S. is among the most advanced countries in the area of Embedded System which is my field of concentration.

WES Student Advisor: What were some of the challenges or obstacles you faced when applying to U.S. graduate programs?

I had an internship experience from a fairly big company from Rwanda, but since the company is not known internationally or in the U.S., it made my experience less significant.

WES Student Advisor: What are some tips that students should know when preparing their applications for U.S. schools?

Be prepared ahead of time and never assume a good GPA is enough. A successful application requires various inputs including good recommendation letters, an expressive personal statement, a resume with sound extracurricular activities, and good test scores.

WES Student Advisor: Alaska is a long way from home. Can you explain some of the important factors that helped you to decide on attending UAF?

UAF was an obvious choice because they had exactly the research I wanted to be part of, so the program was a perfect fit. Also the hiring rate after graduation is pretty high. Moreover, Alaska is a place I longed to visit for a while.

WES Student Advisor: Share with us what a day in the life of an international student is like.

My days are very dissimilar but a typical day looks approximately as follow:
~7:30AM: Waking up 
7:30 - 8:30AM: Shower, making bed, preparing and having breakfast 
8:30 - 11:30AM: Reading, studying and reviewing material from lectures (I live on campus, so getting in my office takes about 10min)
11:30 - 1:00PM: Class Time (usually three days a week depending on semester schedule) 
1:00 - 2:00PM: Break and Lunch time (most of the time in my office) 
2:00 - 5:00PM: Laboratory Session (usually two times a week otherwise I do my own work,  mostly research)
5:00 - 6:00PM: Break, checking on friends, and relaxing
6:00 - 8:00PM: Sports and work out: Playing indoor soccer with friends or doing some cardio exercises (usually three or four times a week)
8:00 - 9:30PM: Shower, preparing dinner and tomorrow’s lunch (I cook for myself)
9:30 - 11:00PM: Dinner time and watching TV with roommates (mostly news around the world)
11:00 - 1:00AM: Work (Grading student papers, research, work on thesis, etc.)
1:15AM: Bed time (I usually sleep anywhere between 1 and 2AM, ~6 hours of sleep does it) 

WES Student Advisor: What are your hopes after graduation?

Find a job closely related to my area of expertise, hopefully with a company that would sponsor a work visa after my OPT (Optional Practical Training) expiration.

WES Student Advisor: What is your favorite memory so far while studying in the U.S.?

Carrying out a project from the beginning to completion and seeing the product I designed and implemented being tested on field by the Alaska Department of Transportation. 


Hello everyone, my name is Bertrand Dushime. I am pursuing a Master's program in electrical and computer engineering with emphasis on Embedded Systems at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I speak five languages, enjoy playing soccer, traveling and meeting new people.

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