After I finished my Bachelor’s programme in Germany (Angewandte Kognitions-und Medienwissenschaften), I wanted to learn more about the interaction between human users and machines. I also decided to look at Master’s programmes throughout Europe, not only close to home. Human Media Interaction at the University of Twente covers computer science, social sciences, design and the evaluation of novel forms of human-computer interaction: it was exactly what I was looking for!
In addition to an appealing programme, the University of Twente offers plenty of leisure activities and is geared towards making student life as enjoyable as possible. There are all kinds of sports and courses in music, art and other activities. The student association organizes events throughout the year, which means the campus is always exciting and vibrant. On top of all this, the University of Twente campus is a really beautiful place. I’ve always liked the idea of studying in a setting where you can concentrate on your education with pleasant green surroundings just a short stroll away.
This Master’s programme has already opened so many doors for my future career. It’s given me a great many opportunities to learn, grow and improve my skills in human user and machine interactions. I’ve had the chance to help create interactive technologies, like a chair with a touch interface to adjust music, volume, lighting, angle of recline and so on. I’ve also studied tools that gauge emotions during website interaction. Most of all, I have enjoyed working with blind and autistic people to design a prototype of an adaptive mobile phone application. Finally, we have been working on the design of a robot developed to motivate the elderly to join in with activities at a retirement home. The combination of research, working and testing with target groups has made my studies an unforgettable experience. And that’s not all! As a student you’re encouraged to do an internship abroad and I was lucky enough to do mine in New Zealand. Another point I’d like to make is that the HMI group and the university lecturers are open-minded and very friendly, so it is never a problem to ask for advice.
I am currently writing my Master’s thesis at TNO, an innovative Dutch research institute. It an experience that will serve me well for the future. During the week I work on my final project, which is about the use of embodied conversational agents in a virtual reality system aimed at low literates and non-native migrants. I am investigating, analysing and preparing the research approach for this study and presenting it to my supervisors in meetings at TNO. My Master’s thesis is proving to be a real challenge, but I am already convinced that it will be a rewarding experience.
Studying is hard work, so it’s important to have a change of pace. In my spare time I like to get together with friends and go to parties on campus. I also enjoy taking a nice long walk with my dog. It’s great having the wide open spaces right at your doorstep!