Sharon's Semester at Imperial College London

During her semester exchange at Imperial College London, Sharon Lin EECS '21 got to know London, made friends from across the world, and took classes in AI and Machine Learning.

I had a transformative semester at Imperial College London. I was so inspired by the professors and students I met, who were all working on technical challenges with global impact. The breadth of opportunities for students - from hands-on work at Imperial’s cutting-edge lab spaces to travel opportunities throughout Europe - was incredible.


I made friends across language barriers (Mandarin, German Spanish) and had fun improving my foreign languages skills even in an English-speaking country. I discovered a deep appreciation for the outdoors and for the European past time of mountaineering. I learned a lot about my Asian-American identity from conversations with the Asian-British student associations. I’ve gained a wider understanding of the research environment in Europe and may consider working abroad in the future. I wouldn’t do anything differently, I had an incredible time abroad.

I enrolled in Signals and Linear Systems, Advanced Computer Architecture, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Control Engineering. Imperial EEE students typically take 3 years of undergrad courses and 1 year of MEng courses. Courses are structured similar to MIT courses, with lots of access to hands-on labs and computing resources for class projects. In particular, worked on implementing Spectre and Meltdown, analyzing performance of AMD and Intel processors, designing architecture for state-of-the-art processors.

I’m very interested in returning to the UK and Europe for future study and research. Most Imperial students are very interested in research and there’s enormous diversity in interests among the student body (I met friends studying evolutionary biology, zoology, plasma physics). I was also was very influenced by the global mindset at Imperial - the majority of the student body is international so there’s a focus on global impact in every field. London is filled with new startups, especially in fintech, so there are lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs (ranked #1 city for Gen Z).

Before this semester, I would never have imagined myself pursuing research or work abroad, but the dedication that the students here have towards their study and extracurriculars – from building electric vehicles to flying gliders and canyoning rapids – has deeply motivated me to dream bigger and explore more than I would’ve thought myself capable of pursuing before.