Queremos presentaros a Eduardo M., alumno de Access USA de primer año en Stanford University (California), estudiando Computer Science. Hemos charlado con él acerca de su experiencia hasta ahora en esta prestigiosa universidad, su motivación para dar el salto a los Estados Unidos, su proceso de admisión y curiosidades sobre Stanford que sólo un alumno puede conocer.
Name: Eduardo M.
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
Major: Computer Science (class of ‘26)
College: Stanford University
Hello, I’m Eduardo. I’m currently a Stanford student, class of 2026, studying Computer Science. I’m originally from Madrid, Spain.
What made you decide you wanted to go to the U.S. to pursue your degree?
I’ve always really liked technology since I was a little kid. I’ve always had a passion for technology, from any button I saw that I wanted to touch, to having the latest technological gadgets. It was always something that I was amazed by and wanted to learn more about. So for me the decision was really a no brainer, right? When you think about technological advances, they’re all coming from the US, specifically Silicon Valley. And having the chance to be close to that is something that you can’t just say no to.
How is this year going? Tell us about your majors, your life at Stanford… What kind of activities/projects are you currently involved in?
It’s been going really well. The good thing about Stanford and many other US universities is that you don’t get accepted into a major, you don’t get accepted into a specialization, you can just take any class you want. So just having that possibility of spreading out and doing whatever you think may be interesting to you, is quite amazing. This quarter, I’m taking more classes that are a bit more serious, partially because I have a lot that are requirements for a first year student.
Could you elaborate about how your admission process was?
That’s the golden question. Right? How do you get in? I only applied to the US. So in that sense, it was a bit easier for me than for other students because I know a lot of other people don’t have the US as their only option.
For me, we started quite early. I remember I started with Access USA, probably in 2018 (Eduardo got admitted in 2022). So I needed help to build that repertoire that American universities look for because at the end of the day, they don’t look only for extra. They don’t look for curricular activities and your GPA, they look more towards what your extra curricular life is, and what you are like as a person.
I think a very central piece to that was having a central idea outlining all of my essays. For me, it was that I wanted to help people through technology. So everything I did, I wrote about had that, even if it wasn’t directly about that, it did have that idea surrounding it constantly. I think that was an important piece of what made me successful.
How were those first days and weeks when you arrived in the US?
The first couple of days were stressful. Because it’s a lot of socializing to try and find your friends right? International students move in earlier than everyone else. It’s a lot like repeating the same script. Because you just want to make friends so you’re just like “Hello, [your name], [your dorm], [your major]. That’s the basic three things you say to everyone you meet and for us it was a bit longer so it’s a very exhausting, very draining process but it’s also a lot of fun. You don’t have time to just stop for a second.
From the outside, it looks like universities like Stanford are the perfect place to be. What is one thing that your would change at your university if you could?
The main thing I’ve noticed, and it’s something most people agree on, is Stanford hates fun. That’s kind of the catchphrase everyone’s using. The inability of Stanford to approve events. I’m not that much of a party guy, especially in the US, which because parties are not great. But in general, it seems like the process of making social events at Stanford is very long. And it requires a lot of effort. And the administration doesn’t seem to listen that much.
But in general, I think that’s the main thing I’d say in terms of improving campus, there’s no room for improvement academically. It’s a very rich campus. The people I’ve met, clearly there’s outliers, but in general, they’re amazing people. And the only thing I could say is the social aspect. It’s sometimes been more difficult, but other than that, I’m very happy overall.
How do you organize yourself to fulfill all your obligations and commitments? Does the university help you in any way in this task?
Stanford does help you a lot with that. We have a number of resources available to us. The main one is probably the undergraduate advising director. Each of us has an advising director assigned to us. And that’s our go to person when we want to have any questions about what to sign up to. What would be ideal for integrative academic work, what should we do with our workload, we want to make sure it’s good.
And then depending on your major, you might actually get a specialized advisor. So if you want to do medicine, or you want to do grad school, and then a couple of other majors, a couple of other fields have specialized advisors. If you’re an athlete, you have a special advisor. So Stanford definitely does its best to give you the opportunities and the help you need as an international student.
Tell us about the college ecosystem, what is the social atmosphere like around campus? Do they have any special traditions or activities?
I don’t think there’s a correct answer for that just because there’s so many things to do. If you think about it, there’s already a Club for it already. I’m always amazed at how much is going on at Stanford because a lot of time you don’t realize what’s going on. They do their best to like, publicize it. Your email will get flooded every morning with stuff that’s going on. Whatever you might be interested in, join a club.
Even if you think you don’t know anything, most of these clubs are designed for that, especially at the beginning of the year with freshmen coming in. When you get here you’ll see all the different opportunities, all the different careers you can take, all the different paths you can choose, and then just join them. Even if it’s just for the free food.
Have you thought about what you would like to do when you graduate?
I have some idea to an extent. I want to probably do something in CS, more specifically, maybe app development, or UI design… something that has to do with interacting, helping build technologies that assist you interacting with technology, if that makes sense.
I’m trying to decide between the startup side, or the big company side. The good thing about startups is that when you wake up every day, you don’t know what you’re going to be doing, just because of the small nature, everyone has to do everything. So it’s a lot more dynamic. It’s a lot more fun.
And then in a big company… let’s say you work for Google and you’re working on YouTube, you might spend your whole life working on the YouTube channel. You get it, you get a good pay, but are you really helping that many people? Arguably, you’re reaching more people but your effects are smaller? I don’t know.
Stanford definitely helps you a lot. The name opens a lot of doors. I’m not sure if I want to stay in the San Francisco, Palo Alto, Silicon Valley area. I’m leaning more towards that. But of course, having a family in Spain is always something that I have to consider. And that’s being very far away from them.