The day we became IMFSE alumni

On Friday last week we had a full-day graduation ceremony from the morning till the late night. We started the registration at 9.30 am, but the actual programme started at 10 am.

The first speech was from the coordinator, then each representative of the partner universities gave a short explanation about the university he represents. Following, we started our presentations to talk about the work done during the thesis.

At 12 pm we had a lunch break in which we met again after a year of splitting. During the break, each group of two to three students were interviewed about the experience we had during the master and about our future plans.

After that, we continued the presentations till 3 pm, then we had the poster session in which we presented our work in a printed version. Next, we had the proclamation when we were granted the degree before having some speeches by a professor, alumni students, and student representatives. We ended the indoor activities by having some pictures in the garden.

Afterward, we went in three different tours to have the dinner. My tour (A`petit) consisted of an explanation for archaeological sites in the city. We had three stops in three different restaurants, in the first one we had two appetizers and drinks while in the second one we had the main course. Then we gathered all in a third place where we had the desserts. After all, some of us left because of travelling plans while others continued the night till the early hours of the morning. We enjoyed the day a lot as it could be the last official meeting of all of us together.

I would like to thank all IMFSE members for everything they did during the two years. Also, I thank all my colleagues for the time we spent together and for the friendship we built and I hope we reunion again in the future.

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Sami

The second year is about to start

On the 7th of September, I got to Edinburgh. The big problem of Edinburgh is the accommodation, it is really hard to find. Indeed a friend of mine is hosting me until I get a place where to stay.
Only few of IMFSE students are already here in Edinburgh, but soon everyone will be here. And almost everyone is homeless. Unfortunately we did not get the class schedule yet, hopefully it will not be as busy as the Ghent one. 
The city of Edinburgh looks really nice, now I understand why all the other students, who were here, fell in love with the city. Edinburgh is literally full of international students, since there are at least 4 different university over here. 
When all the IMFSE class is in Edinburgh, we will organize a big dinner together. So that we will finally get to know each other. Probably I will not see those first year students anymore after these three months, since I will be the whole year here in Edinburgh while they will move to Sweden. 
Yesterday there was the graduation ceremony in Ghent for the “old” students. I am sure it has been an incredible day. Congratulations to them, I wish them all the best for their future. And I really hope I will meet them again because I am sure I will miss them. 

The end of summer vacation

The end of our summer vacation is getting closer and closer. Many of us are already either in Ghent or Edinburgh, looking for accommodation or settling in. In Ghent most of the students will be living in student homes, while in Edinburgh those are very expensive, so it is better to find private accommodation. That’s why many students go to Edinburgh in the beginning of September.

The start of the semester means also that the students who are one year ahead of us are graduating. The ceremony is held in Ghent and all of us are invited as well. Unfortunately I could not attend the ceremony, but many of my classmates will. It’s a great occasion to see everybody again one last time.

I will be moving to Ghent in about 10 days, so I still get to enjoy the company of family and friends for a bit, even though many of my friends have already left to go back to work or university. Also, I’m getting in as much sun and warm weather as I can, since I’ll be going to Belgium for my third semester and then to Edinburgh to work on my thesis. Hopefully I’ll find some nice weather over there as well!

Here is one last picture of the gorgeous view I’ve had this summer!

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The advantages of being an Erasmus student

Studying in this master programme is not only beneficial academically, but it also has a lot of other advantages that most students fell happy having them.

Studying in different universities during the master is typical in all Erasmus programmes, for us all the three partner universities has ranks in the top hundred universities globally. Having the ability of being a student in different universities is a big advantage of the programme because it gives the knowledge through different education systems.

Other related advantage is travelling. Moving in each semester from a country to another could be annoying, yet it is a great opportunity to see different places while studying. During holidays we also go to other countries over Europe which is also a big joy.

Students of Erasmus programmes are from all over the world. In our cohort there are 18 nationalities. This diversity gives the advantage of interacting with different cultures which expands minds and enhances the ideas. Also an international network of friends is something special for every one of us.

Further, scholarships are available for a number of students when applying for Erasmus programmes. A special procedure is followed to choose the eligible students including interviews from coordinators. In addition, some scholarships are provided through industrial sponsors of the programme because of the excellent reputation of it.

I recommend master seekers students to apply for this programme and other Erasmus masters because it is a priceless opportunity which will change your life.

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Sami

Reunion in Brussels 

The summer is almost over. It means that our second year is about to start. For all of those who live outside of Europe, it is time to leave their home and come back over here. This is what happened the last week. David from Ecuador, Mohammed from Egypt and Max from China came to visit Andres and I in Brussels. 

We spent the whole weekend all together. On Friday night Max, David and I had dinner together, eating the Chinese noodles cooked by Max. After having dinner, we were going to the center for a beer. But on the way to the center, we stumbled across an empty basketball court with a ball that we could use. So we started playing, after 20 minutes we ended up playing against three Belgian guys and of course we won! At the end of the game, we were not able to go to a bar, our legs were hurting too much. For this reason, we decided to go back home hoping that all the pain would be gone the day after.
Of course the day after, we were not able to walk at all so we just spent some time together at night. The day after Mohammed, Andres and his girlfriend got to Brussels, so we met up all together and went for a wander in the center. 
Here are pictures of us spending time together in the main square of the city.

Third semester schedule!

This past week the second years students that will study in Ghent for the third semester got their schedule. During our first semester we were divided equally: 7 in Ghent and 7 in Edinburgh. This time some people who did their first semester in Ghent decided to stay for the third as well, so there will be 5 students in Edinburgh and 9 in Ghent.

The schedule is quite busy, compared to the ones in Lund and Edinburgh. The courses of this semester are Explosions and Industrial Fire Safety, Fire Safety and Legislation, Passive Fire Protection, Active Fire Protection I and II, and Performance-based Design.

In Ghent we will have some courses with the local Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering students. This happened in Edinburgh and Lund as well, so although we are a small class, when it comes to lectures the lecture hall is crowded anyways, and you can get to know other students too.

All of the lectures of the third semester will take place in the main building of the university, which is quite central and easy to access by bike, bus or tram.

Everybody bikes in Ghent, it’s an easy and cheap way to get anywhere in the city. It is possible to rent bikes from the university for a very reasonable price, so that they are affordable for everyone. Here is a picture of one of the bike types that students can rent.

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Ending two years of a scholarship

Two years left since I travelled for the first time to Europe to start studying a master degree. My first destination was the United Kingdom, specifically Edinburgh where I chose to spend the first semester of this master programme; The International Master of Fire Safety Engineering (IMFSE).

IMFSE is a joint study programme between three partner universities: The University of Edinburgh (UK), Gent University (Belgium), and Lund University(Sweden). Three other associated partner universities from Europe (Switzerland) and from outside of Europe (Australia and USA) are also involved in this programme.

This joint degree lies under the broad education programme in the European Commission which is called ERASMUS+. This programme contains many key actions. Under key action 1 there are the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EMJMD) in which there is IMFSE. The EMJMDs provide scholarships for people from EU and from outside EU.

IMFSE gives the opportunity for students from all over the world to apply for it as Erasmus Mundus scholarship candidates or as self-sponsored candidates. Also, there are scholarships from industrial partners (sponsors) in Europe. In addition, IMFSE gives the opportunity for all students to choose the place they like to study in for the first, the third and the fourth semesters. The second semester is obligatory in Lund. In the first year I chose Edinburgh, then I moved to Lund and in the second year I chose Gent then Maryland in the USA.

Everything has an end, and for our 2014 cohort it is about to come into the end, this month was the last month of a 24-months of Erasmus mobility. The only left activity is the graduation ceremony that we have on the 9th of September. Come join us in this all-day activity which is the last official meeting between us https://congres.ugent.be/IMFSE2016/.

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Sami