After months of impatience and excitement, I finally find myself in Gent, where I am starting off my 2 years long academic adventure called International Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering.
I arrived to Gent some days before the beginning of the academic year. Just after the first tour around the city, it came clear to me that this city has much more to offer than just an excellent university. The medieval fortress, astonishing cathedrals, beautiful parks, a romantic lake and channels, in a combination with amazing architecture – just left me speechless. If you add the number of 70.000 students to this magnificent scenery, you can easily get to a conclusion that this city could be one of the best student cities in the World!
I have to admit I might have been a bit afraid of how the first classes would go, how I would react in completely new surroundings, listening to lecturers teaching demanding subjects in English, or how it would look like to work together with colleagues coming from all around the World and with different cultural backgrounds than my own. Fortunately, it didn’t last long before it was obvious that the upcoming two years will be nothing but enjoyable and inspiring.
The lecturers, both the experienced ones, as the ones just starting their careers, are enormously dedicated to their jobs and the relationship with the students. They constantly ask for feedback in order to improve themselves. Moreover, they are giving their best in order to make sure a student comprehends the matter completely and, most importantly, they show respect to us and treat us like equals.
And the last but not the least – my colleagues turned out to be just as great as I hoped they would be – open-minded, utterly selfless and willing to help you out in any possible way; pleasant for discussions and, after a busy day at the Faculty, always up for hanging out and having fun together.
All in all, this semester has started just perfectly, and I am sure it will continue in the same way!
When I was a first year undergraduate student, I found out about The University of Edinburgh, and the thought of studying there crossed my mind. But I could never imagine that after 5 years I will be sitting here in King’s Building watching how Professor lights up a glass of whisky during Fire Dynamics class. It shows how unpredictable life can be.
It has been more than a month since I arrived in Edinburgh. To tell the truth, I was worried in the beginning about how I am going to handle everything: leaving home and facing the unknown world alone. But now, I can say that my doubts were unfounded. I am in one of the most beautiful cities of the world, studying at one of the top universities with the classmates from all over the globe.
The University of Edinburgh welcomed us with a one week program full of various activities. I was amazed at the scale of events from Edinburgh city tours till concerts of well-known bands, and even dancing to the Rave of Thrones by DJ Kristian Nairn aka Hodor. So if there are fans of GoT in Ghent, you missed a chance to meet famous ‘one worded hero’.
Together with the second year students, there are 11 of us in Edinburgh. We all represent different countries and cultures. To know more about each other and to experience unknown cultures, we decided to organize ‘International Dinners’ throughout the semester. So far, we had Malaysian, Belgian, and Kazakh dinners. Here you can see the photo of us taken at Belgian dinner.
I want to say that I am very happy to be here. I believe that this is only the beginning of our journey, and the best is yet to come.
Our third semester started a couple of weeks ago; we are all back together with also the new students of the first year. This semester, Pasquale, Max, Nemer, Ain and myself are going to start a new adventure at the University of Edinburgh in the UK. As we did last semester in Lund and organized a trip to Lithuania in the beginning of the semester; this time we organized a trip to the beautiful Iceland. It all started when Nemer checked the tickets` prices and found the ticket to Reykjavik to be fair enough. Habib, the first year student decided to join us in this trip and he was so interested to explore Iceland with his new friends. My role was to make the plan of the trip, as we had only 5 days in total; I decided to make a crazy plan to travel all around Iceland in just these 5 days. We rent a car at the airport in Reykjavik and started our journey. First day, the plan was to spend it around Reykjavik, try some local food and to be honest to get used to drive in Iceland!! Habib`s role was to use Google maps in his phone and guide the driver, while Pasqual’s role was to decide the food and drive at night. Iceland was amazing; we saw almost everything over there and did all the widely known stops as Vik, Hofen, famous waterfalls and WE SAW THE NORTHEN LIGHTS!!! HOORAY!!. Yes, we did it; we were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights. Here you can find a picture for us while the Northern Lights appears clearly in the sky!!.
I also started my new hobby to take the IMFSE T-shirt with me in every trip and take pictures for it. Here you can find my first trial of the t-shirt`s pictures in Iceland, the picture was taken in one of the famous black beaches of Iceland .
Next article, I will talk into more details about our trip to Iceland and how we managed to do it with our student budget and also many other photos for the trip !
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.
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 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!
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.