Rasmus Vestergaard, UCLA 2019-2020

My name is Rasmus Vestergaard, and I’m a Fulbrighter.

I was a visiting graduate researcher in Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from September 2019 to March 2020.

My research has the objective of making communication networks (e.g., the Internet) more efficient. The approach that I am taking for this is to compress data to more dense representations – Why should we spend precious energy collecting, transmitting, or storing something that does not contribute value? 

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"I believe that my stay at UCLA contributed significantly to making me a more well-rounded researcher."

- Rasmus Vestergaard, Fulbrighter 2019-2020

From an academic perspective, the main benefit of my stay was the opportunity to work closely with some extremely talented people. I was fortunate to join a group with a research philosophy that was completely different from what I was used to, so I had to adapt – and learn! In effect, I believe that my stay at UCLA contributed significantly to making me a more well-rounded researcher.

I will always carry the lessons of my stay with me, and I am certain that it will help me in the future, wherever it takes me in the world.

I must also say my stay in the US was a gratifying experience from a personal perspective. I particularly believe that the opportunities that I was offered because of the Fulbright program were an important part of the experience. Being a Fulbrighter allowed me to participate in dedicated events, where I would meet other Fulbrighters from around the world and have experiences that I never would have had otherwise. By being a Fulbrighter, I always felt welcome wherever I went. 

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"While at a Fulbright weekend seminar in Utah, we volunteered at local charities. I organized second-hand clothing"

- Rasmus Vestergaard, Fulbrighter 2019-2020

If you are thinking of undertaking such an academic exchange, I cannot recommend it enough! It will likely be one of the most memorable periods of your life and a time that passes way too fast. For me, it certainly was.

Sure, the stay benefited me academically. More importantly, though, the visit made me grow as a person and let me obtain a much more nuanced view of the US (and Los Angeles in particular).

 Luckily, my return to Denmark was scheduled right before the borders of the world started closing due to COVID-19, so I did not have to make the tough choice to terminate my visit. Still, I’m already looking forward to a future where I can return to the US to revisit my favorite locations and experience what I did not have the time for during my brief six-month stay.