Medical Engineering|Germany, Medical imaging & data processing @ FAU|Recommendations & Expectations

Jun 18, 2021 14:30 · 4722 words · 23 minute read

[Music] So we have been very happy with our studies at FAU and right now I think we are doing well in our life. if you want to live in Germany you should definitely know german. I think i’m lucky because I came with a lot of other Indians and Indians do have this special privilege of coming with a lot of other people from their own countries. You have a community I would say. yes. DMIP and IMIP (name of courses) at least according to me are the most important courses for this field.

I had programming and I also had mechanics as conditional courses. The same applies to me. I think to get good grades you have to be very thorough with your basics. The environment around you is great, there are a lot of amazing researchers in FAU. sometimes you have to study the professor and the Ph. D. students as much as you studied the lectures. you will have to do some research projects and also your thesis. try to choose the topic that you like otherwise, it will be difficult for you to finish.

Focus on what you’re doing and finish. don’t leave things open because it’s your life and it’s your time. The faster you graduate, the faster you get a job. Friends or seniors could always support you much better than starting alone. this is why we are here actually. we are trying to help you Subscribe, like, comment and share Hi Sha-am, nice to meet you nice to meet you too. maybe we can talk a little bit about our experience with our university and what were our expectations and what did we see in reality at FAU Let’s just get started with some nice questions.

I just would like first to say my name. My name is Sha-am and I’m from Syria. I’m Nidhi and I come from India. I started my masters at FAU in 2016 and that’s when both of us met for the first time, Sha-am and me. We have been very happy with the studies at FAU and right now I think we are doing well in our lives. I’m doing PhD and Sha-am is working as a data scientist. I think Fau prepared us well. yeah. maybe I start over, so how did you start with FAU? how did you think about choosing this university and choosing the medical engineering field.

so when I was in India I just finished my bachelor’s and for one year I was not sure what I want to do but then during this time I was watching some data science videos specifically related to machine learning and deep learning from Stanford university and that made me get some interest in the direction of this field and then I started applying to universities in Germany. I chose Germany because I knew a couple of my friends who came here and they were very happy with the education system and they were happy with the motivation that they got from the universities and education in Germany so I just heard from them and then i thought Germany will be a very good place for me to pursue my further studies and because my interest was specific, I applied to FAU of course because FAU offered this medical imaging and data processing course which focused on courses like machine learning, deep learning, and image processing that’s how I happened to apply to FAU.

I applied to other universities too but in my head It was clear that if I get admitted at FAU I would not go for any other courses and that’s how I landed here. How about you? My story is a little bit different because it’s a special one I came to Germany as a refugee so I didn’t have much of a choice where to go or the freedom to go somewhere else. however, I would say I was so lucky because I was in the neighborhood and that our university is very well known for being one of the best in this field.

I studied medical engineering in my bachelor so as usual when you start studying some field you continue with it. this is how it works in my country at least or in my culture. You start with something you continue with the same thing. Since I started medical engineering, I wanted to continue medical engineering I don’t regret this! yes of course and how do you think your German is right now? it’s getting very well. I’m continuing right now and learning further.

Listening to the lessons I’ve reached level C1. wow. but when it comes to doing an exam or something I still don’t know (I only have a B1 certificate) but with work, it’s kind of difficult to balance this stuff and that’s why I actually advise everyone before coming to focus on learning German if you want to live in Germany you should definitely know german I’m working on it but not there yet. every-day-life becomes much easier if you know German and you feel more absorbed into the culture.

yes, you feel more integrated if you know the language what were the challenges that you faced when you joined FAU? was it easy? did your friends support you or it was somehow surprising for you as well? I think I’m lucky because I came with a lot of other Indians and Indians do have this special privilege of coming with a lot of other people from their own countries. you have a community I would say. yes yes I never felt like I’m away from home or homesick because I had a lot of great friends.

they always supported me and there were a lot of seniors who also supported me with understanding the education system better in Germany and they guided me roughly with what courses to take or to nicely start with in the first semester and they gave me  a brief introduction to the courses so that was very helpful. I don’t think I faced many challenges but I’m not sure how you would answer this question. was it difficult? it was different However, I don’t judge things from the first time I give things time to say if it is difficult or not.

of course the first semester is always difficult no matter what. even if you have support until you adjust and cope. but for me, everything was surprising. the flexibility of the program. the way you are given so much freedom to choose what to do and then you are lost because you don’t know much but then we met actually one girl from Syria. (Greetings to her) who helped us. but until  we met her it was already a while. until we figured out how things go but I would say always that friends or seniors could always support you.

It is much better than starting alone this is why we are here actually, we are trying to help you as well. correct. the challenge like you said, is first feeling homesick, adjusting to the new systems, the new life the new place. you have to cope with everything at once. it’s a huge cultural change. Oh sure yeah. but then once you start understanding it better I think you’ll start liking it more. oh, I love it here.

08:32 - me too, everything is so organized and you are never in that state of chaos. so you know that if you do this you’re safe, if you don’t do that is bad and maybe you face some implications but especially I think at the start it’s a good strategy to really read the curriculum carefully, know what is available what courses feel like something interesting for you there’s always a description of the course, what could be a prerequisite or something like that to have an idea.

I would always recommend starting at winter semester, however, you can always start at any semester but it feels a little bit weird when you start in the summer semester. I started in winter and you? me too, we started together. I think we were in the same generation so to say.

09:33 - yes it would be my recommendation to start in the winter semester but however, if you start in the summer semester, it’s not so bad either. But learn to choose the right courses and just don’t keep piling up your courses thinking that you joined in the summer semester and most of the important courses have been already done in the winter semester. you can still go-ahead and take some courses which are offered in the Summer semester are sort of backbone of this course I think we should mention that PR, PA, DMIP, and IMIP (the names of some courses) at least according to me are sort of the most important courses for this field  program.

Yes, just as Nidhi said, it’s not a problem if you start in the summer semester and focus on the courses which are important because you don’t want to push those to the end and then get surprised that you are learning now the essentials. Start with those courses which are really the core ones and go forward with the extras. So have a look at what you want to take. try few courses you can drop by any time. it’s not like the traditional systems. Here you attend anything you like from the curriculum, and you have the option to stick to it and register for the exam or de-registered even three working days before the exam.

it’s really huge freedom that you are given here One point that you mentioned is really important and I really like that point: you should always know what you are interested in and take the courses accordingly. there will be a lot of people and seniors who can guide you and tell you what you’ll be learning from one particular course but then don’t allow anyone to force on and make you have to take some course in this semester or that it is never taken in other semesters or this is a course that has to be taken already.

12:10 - definitely take the compulsory courses. the elective ones you should know your own interests and what you want to do with those courses in the future. accordingly, you should take the courses. Did you also have conditional courses Sha-am? yes I had to do the C++  programming course and I also had mathematics. okay, it’s the same applies to me. I think this was terrifying at the start and you don’t know at the beginning what to focus on.

12:46 - should I start already with the courses or focus on the conditionals? I actually took everything I could. me too.

12:55 - because I thought I don’t want to lose a lot of time just focusing on the conditional courses. at the same time you have to focus on the conditional courses because if you don’t pass them you are out of the program or you have to change the program. exactly, so we are the examples for taking so many courses and having cleared them in the first semester. so if we can do it I think the upcoming student and everyone can do it for sure. so don’t focus on only three or four courses in your first semester which your seniors will definitely advise you to focus on but have the guts to be brave and take some more courses and then even if you fail you have more attempts.

if you don’t get great grades it’s fine. if you feel that you have gathered enough knowledge from the course move on. yes and actually, it’s not a shame to fail a course. This was one of the cultural differences I have seen actually, even if you fail a course it doesn’t show up in your transcript because you have the option to choose what courses you want to show in your records. do you want to share everything in your transcripts or do you want only to share the succeeded ones and it’s really not a shame to fail something because you’re learning.

it’s sometimes challenging the first time to pass.

14:25 - Just until you get to know the questions, the way things work. you might sometimes fail a course but it’s not a problem you always have the chance to repeat and you always have a chance to figure yourself out yeah and I think to get good grades you have to really be very thorough with your basics so it might not always happen that whatever is done in the lecture will be asked in the exam. The exam can be oral or written but if your basics are strong enough then I think you will be in a position to tackle the questions but if you just try to memorize and go to the exam you have fewer chances of you getting a good grade.

In Germany here even if you go to the lecture it doesn’t mean that you are getting all the information. you are actually getting the basics in the lecture room. you still have to go home and do your homework. you have sometimes to read research papers, sometimes to watch videos. you have to return to the basics and sometimes the lecturer would say something and you don’t know what that is. in that case, write it down on your notes and go home and read about it and listen because this will help you a lot when you are challenged in an oral exam or even in a written exam.

don’t expect what you have in the course will come in the exam exactly the way it is. unfortunately it is not the case of course, some lectures are still traditional. yeah and also remember that you are shifting from a bachelor course to a master course and master degree courses always try to focus on giving you input for a career in research later on, at least to some extent because our course medical imaging and data processing it’s basically designed for research.

right. of course you can go for other kinds of applications but in the basic sense, it is designed to make students aware of research and get prepared for research. so I think it’s important to keep your mind running in that manner so that you know what research is. those are the kind of questions you might face in the exam too. what was also surprising a little bit for me was the grading system it was reversed. I studied also in Lebanon and in Syria.

I Syria it was a system based on percentage. it’s so easy to understand. In Lebanon, it was like the American GPA from one to four. here it’s also from one to four but it’s the other way around. one is the best. four is like almost failing. five is definitely failing. what do you think is a good range of grades? I felt a good range for me when I was studying is… well, I was aiming always to have 1. 0 but I would still be happy if i’m getting something between 1.

7 and 2. 3. but if it is below 2. 3… or… I should say more towards the 4 I would be sad and I would try actually to either take another course to compensate my loss or I would try to repeat it somehow. I sometimes failed myself in some exams but please don’t do that just finish it because actually, we discovered after graduating that the grades are not so important what about you? true. I totally agree with you. my grades were not that great and not just in the masters but also during bachelor’s  I have been a very consistent student, here too I was consistent with a 2.

3 grade so it was okay of course, I got better grades in some courses and worser in some other courses but what I always try to focus on is to get the most out of the subject, if I feel that at a later point in my life, I’ll be able to use some part of this course and that I have enough knowledge about this course then it’s fine. it’s okay to just pass the course and don’t do that you try to have a better grade but ultimately I felt it’s very important to educate yourself and gain as much knowledge as possible from the course not just the course but also the environment around you there are a lot of amazing researchers at FAU.

so go to PhD students, try to talk to them, and that’s one way out for you to feel more motivated in the course so actually you mentioned a good point. you have the possibility always to talk to your phd students who are supervising the exercises of the course and you have also the opportunity to talk to the professor directly. there are office hours and there are forums for asking questions if you don’t have the chance to go and meet them in person. you also have the chance to talk to other peers (other students) and ask your questions or ask as I said on the forums where it’s actually supervised by the phd students.

so basically you can collect your questions: e. g. one two three four etc and just post them on the forum and you will get an answer actually for all of them and sometimes contributions from other students. However, in my opinion, I would always recommend going to the lecture. some students don’t do it even the germans (laugh). sometimes we were the only students there. we were regulars at all the lectures. I would say we were there all the time yeah, you know sitting in the first row and asking questions.

but it’s not a general rule there are some courses where you really don’t have to go there but it’s good to go to the lecture in general for finding contacts and getting to know other students. of course at the moment I don’t know how it’s going with online courses but I believe getting a proper education and a certificate would facilitate everything in your life. it’s the key to everything. exactly.

21:49 - so if you just have to attend online lectures in a scenario where there is no COVID, then you can sit in your home country and still attend the lectures but that doesn’t make any sense since you are coming here. So try to make the the best use of it. talk to people like Sha-am said and attend the lectures as far as possible and may be you’ll be better prepared for exams if you attend the lectures because you’ll know what is important because the professor might stress on it and you can prepare it better.

yes that is actually true because this is one key as well for passing the exam. I’m not talking about understanding. you have to understand everything. But generally speaking, I find attending a lecture is good because it gives you an impression of the professor personality of the professor or how the exam will be. the professor or the phd students will get familiar with your face. they will get to know you a little bit, you get to know them and you start to have a feeling about the exam.

so if it’s an oral exam then it makes a better impression that they have seen you before. they are familiar with your face. they know that you are good in the class and that  you participate and you show up and this is my strategy actually. I always stress on the idea, that sometimes you have to study the professor and the PhD students as much as you study the I think you know this even from your home country. it’s not just in Germany. it’s everywhere. some professors ask questions in different ways.

some professors look for more answers, I mean they want speed in answering. some professors look for understanding the concepts. some professors are really by the letter they want you to say everything exactly the same way it is written. and the questions as we said before might not come as they came before in the lecture so you need to have the full package and always focus on what was before in the earlier years what the seniors had before you. this is why communication and context is good and also I think we should mention that there are both oral and written exams I don’t know how it will be now with everything going online but you can I think choose your own time and you can choose your own slots for the oral exams and for written exams, you just have to go there and take it when they’re scheduled right now with corona when it’s a written exam you have to take a negative test and go there.

okay. but when it’s an oral exam no one is forcing you to take it at any time most of the time it’s the case that you have a pool of options or you have a poll where you choose one of the options that suit you best and if there is any problem always communicate with your professor I have something here or a problem there and whenever there’s also a problem with your health for example you can always go to the doctor and get a medical report and justify why you couldn’t go to an exam.

always stay in the light, follow the rules, and be clear and be honest with yourself and with everyone around you. that will help you a lot Nidhi, maybe we give also another piece of advice. what do you recommend for new students when starting in the first semester? what do you think they should focus on? I don’t know how much the program has changed now but I would still recommend them to take PR, and DMIP for sure and try to pass the conditional subjects.

that is important. yeah that’s important. and maybe along with it if you are brave enough take two more courses and you can finish the. for example, take the courses with lesser credits something around six. I think you can take six courses. I made a mistake when I started so when I started I took in the first semester also German course which required me to go twice a week somewhere else and there are some conditions for the german course. you don’t pass to the next level unless you take certain amount of credits so you don’t just stick to two hours per week, you have to add more on top of that like hearing more or writing or grammar.

stuff like this. This was a lot of stress for me, so I would recommend the first semester like you said: focus on the conditionals focus on two core courses, and only if you have enough energy take another one or two I finished actually all my courses in one and a half years (with the research). in the third semester I was almost done. I maybe left one or two courses with my thesis. what took me some time was to find a thesis topic and to be convinced about it and committing to it yes I think that’s a very important point to mention to everyone that you will have to do some research projects and also your thesis.

so these are the two courses which will require you to independently look for the research field which you are interested in and maybe do some work which will be mostly research work so you have to finish these two courses somehow. I think you should spend some time understanding what you would like to do but don’t  stretch it too long. some people I have seen took six months to just decide what they want to do. so don’t do that. once you have taken a topic and you’re okay with it to some extent please continue and finish it off I mean you should not spend too long on your masters as well and the same applies to the thesis.

I think you should you should approach your professor. or the pattern recognition lab and then get a verification that this thesis will be taken into consideration for your evaluation because a lot of people do some they start working on some topic and then realize that this will not be accepted by the pattern recognition lab so you have to make sure that the work you’re doing really has some meaning in the future I think this is a really important topic because many people don’t set up their minds.

they keep switching from one topic to another, topic to another, and by the way, you have a limited time for doing the master. of course if you have some condition or some special case you can extend the studies by one semester or sometimes two. but you need to have a good reason for that so our advice is always to push yourself towards the end and you can do it. you can really do it. try to choose of course a topic that you like, otherwise, it will be difficult for you to finish and focus on what you are doing and make sure to finish.

don’t leave things open because it’s your life and it’s your time. The faster your graduate, the faster you start a job you know it is a different life when you finish your studies we will actually cover the thesis topic in details and we will cover also the the topic of working as a working student. We should also talk about taking the rules seriously in Germany not just in the university but also outside the university if you happen to receive some letter or some post then please read it.

even if you don’t know German try to learn German or go to a person who knows German and get it translated. otherwise, you might have to pay some huge fines in the future By the way, bever download anything with copyrights in Germany but we will talk about these rules later. yeah, pay attention to everything try to always ask. even if it sounds naive or it might sometimes feel normal to us but it’s not in germany and you are coming to a new country you have to always turn all your senses on.

you know be active all the time. learn German, work and go here and there and meet friends and have fun with your studies. it’s important to keep a balance between both, you are a human being so you also need rest. and never be afraid. carry on! yeah that’s really important yeah, work towards your hobby along with your regular studies. I couldn’t do it so well but now I’m able to do it. and I feel that maybe I could have done it at that time too. but you know when you’re young you’re not that mature enough.

yeah, you should follow your hobbies that’s true. I think I stopped everything when I was studying I was so strict on myself yeah this is why we are here both trying to tell you different experiences so you can learn from that and avoid mistakes yeah and I hope this was beneficial to all of you and I think we are done right? yes thank you so much. don’t hesitate to contact us in the comments below and we will try to answer you as soon as possible and always stay in touch with your student advisor and with your professors and have a community of students and friends around you and don’t be afraid.

yes absolutely. so thank you everyone and we are looking forward to seeing you in the next videos [Music].