Celebrating 20 of Europe’s Most Impressive Computer Science & Engineering Students

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Milan (Depending on travel restrictions)

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May 26-29, 2022

What is First Ascent?

First Ascent is an exclusive, four-day, all-expenses-paid retreat for twenty impressive Computer Science & Engineering students studying in Europe.

Get to know plenty of other super talented people, test your technical skills with a series of complex challenges, and have a whole lot of fun from start to finish.

Who organizes first ascent?

Bending Spoons, the fast-growing European tech company with over 400 million app downloads, organizes and hosts First Ascent in Milan—Italy’s epicenter of innovation.

The event is completely free. All expenses, including travel, accommodation, and activities, are covered by Bending Spoons.

Why first ascent?
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Network with the best

Collaborate with other incredibly talented young people. Forge lifelong friendships and share your passions with like-minded peers.

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Exercise your curiosity

Learn what to expect from a career in tech. Experienced, senior software engineers from Bending Spoons are on hand every step of the way to answer questions and provide insight.

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Take up the challenge

Excel in a succession of stimulating technical challenges, each designed to bring out every ounce of your engineering expertise.

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Experience a stunning city

Discover Milan, Italy’s tech capital. With its medieval structures and jaw-dropping skyscrapers, past and future stand side by side in a city that’s home to a thriving startup scene. (The food, sport, and nightlife are rather special too!)

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All expenses paid

Travel, accommodation, food, drinks, activities—it’s all paid for by Bending Spoons, sponsor and organizer of First Ascent International.


Twenty applicants make the cut. We value an excellent academic track record, but you also score big by pursuing cool, tech-related or entrepreneurial side projects.

Here’s a full list of what it takes to become an Ascender:

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You're currently studying Computer Science, Information Technology or Software Engineering, or you graduated in 2020 or 2021. Alternatively, you can demonstrate an impressive track record in programming outside of academia.

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You’re either European or you attend a European university and are eligible to travel to Italy.

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You love challenges and are eager to meet equally passionate, motivated people.

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You speak and understand English well, as that’s the language of the event.


The whole process takes place online. We’ll announce the successful applicants by March 2022.

A thorough selection process ensures the exceptional level of all First Ascent participants. We’ve designed each step to shine a light on your talent.