Maja Gorzkowicz

Community and reputation

Originally from Poland, Maja was initially attracted to Lancaster due to its prestigious international reputation. “I was recommended this University by a person who guided me through the British university recruitment process, which was unfamiliar to me,” she says. Upon visiting for an Open Day, Maja was instantly struck by the welcoming, community atmosphere of the campus, as well as that of the School of Computing and Communications. "I instantly loved the fact this University felt like an enclosed community, yet open to collaborations with other universities and companies, and to opportunities offered by them,” she says. “It just felt right the moment I arrived there for an Open Day!”

These opportunities for collaboration with external companies allowed Maja to change her initial degree scheme to a more industry-specific programme. “I started by studying Computer Science, before switching to an MSci in Computer Science with Industrial Experience in my second year,” she explains.

Aiding employability

Now working as a full-time software developer for a media company, the opportunities that Maja’s more industrially-focused course provided allowed her to undertake internships and work experience that have proved invaluable to her career. She was able to undertake a work experience placement at a local company, who have subsequently offered her a full-time contract. “In my second year, I did a 2-month placement at a local web design company, which resulted in part-time and eventually full-time contracts with the same company,” she says. “In my final year, I spent over six months in another web design company in Lancaster, trying out different roles, exploring what I actually desire most from my future career, and what skills I should focus on. These opportunities have certainly shaped me both as a skilled software developer and a person.”

A useful course

Maja also feels that the skills that she gained while studying at Lancaster are indispensable in her current occupation. “Studying computer science at Lancaster has given me skills that are useful for my current profession, such as technical knowledge, and transferable skills such as teamwork and communication, which are sure to benefit me in the future,” she says. “My favourite module at University would have to be Advanced Programming. It was extremely exciting to explore more programming languages and techniques, and to be involved in projects that had real, industrial potential. Since I ended up becoming a full-time software developer, this subject has definitely helped me in getting my job!”

Help and support

Maja greatly appreciated the level of support in place for students at Lancaster, and this led her to become a course representative in order to provide help and support for her fellow students. “I was always able to go to my Senior Common Room and ask for advice,” she says. “I was also assigned a mentor, and a department tutor. There were no specific situations in which I needed their assistance, but it was good to know I always had someone to talk to. Eventually I wanted to bring the same feeling to other students, and became a course representative!”

In addition, the people at Lancaster helped Maja to settle in to life in the UK after relocating for her course. “Studying abroad, away from family and childhood friends, was very difficult initially,” she says. “Yet everyone around me at the University made sure I very quickly felt at home!”

Excellent facilities

Maja made extensive use of the computer-based facilities available for students of computer science. “For much of my time as a student, I would sit in one of the computer labs in the Science and Technology Building,” she says. “I absolutely loved this spot - the labs were open 24/7, felt safe, and all the equipment I would ever need was always there, upgraded every few years. Some of my best memories are from staying overnight in these labs, working on coursework with fellow students on my course!”

Recommending Lancaster

Having had an excellent experience studying here, Maja is quick to recommend Lancaster to prospective students. “Lancaster University is honestly one of the best choices out there,” she says. “It delivers top quality teaching, support, and academic and social opportunities, yet it does not feel intimidating or condescending. Quite the opposite in fact - you feel like part of the community of your college and the School!”