Gothenburg: check

One thing common for all the IMFSE students is certainly a never-ending desire to travel, explore and meet different countries and their cultures. It is therefore no wonder that already a few days after arriving to Lund we started planning our first weekend trip. This time we decided to go just a bit towards the North and experience what Gothenburg (Göteborg), the second largest city in Sweden, has to offer.

From the moment we agreed to make this trip, we only had two days before the departure to find a place to sleep. We decided to try the impossible – find a Couchsurfing host willing to accommodate 6 guys. We were not optimistic at all, but it seems miracles still happen: the next morning already, a guy called Eric accepted our request saying he would be glad to host us. Since this “obstacle” was overcome much easier than we had expected, there was not much left to do than for us to take off right after the class on Friday afternoon.

After a long day at the University and a three hours long trip, we finally reached our first destination – Eric’s flat, located in the southern part of Gothenburg. When someone is ready to host 6 people he never met, it’s needless to say how cool that person must be. The least we could do for showing gratitude is preparing a dinner. For this occasion, Khai and I decided to join our forces together and make some special dishes for our friends. As expected, when Malaysian and Serbian cooking skills combine, the only way the outcome can taste is just divine 🙂 .

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After a pleasant dinner followed by a short cultural exchange, it was about time to experience what Gothenburg is quite famous for – yes, you got it: the nightlife! Going to several pubs, clubs and meeting a lot of interesting Swedes gave a nice finishing touch to this intense but outstanding day!

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Saturday was reserved for exploring the city. Unfortunately, although our journey so far looked a lot like a perfect movie scenario, at this point we got back to reality: the Swedish one. An even hard to imagine enormous amount of fog surprised us that morning and most definitely messed with our original sightseeing plans. Anyhow, we decided to go for it either way. It was quite unusual but still very amusing. The funniest part was climbing a small hill with a beautiful view, from where you get to see the whole Gothenburg – but since the foggy day made sure we barely could see a hand in front of our faces, we will take our host’s word on this one. Afterwards we continued towards the city center in order to actually try to see the city in a close-up 😉 . Exploring the famous ’’Haga’’ street, tasting fish at the famous fish market hall ‘’Feskekôrka’’, going ‘’second hand and vintage’’ shopping and just strolling around the city really made this day hard to forget!

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The last day, although we had put all our hopes into it, the fog didn’t go away. Luckily for us, the bad weather was very well compensated by an amazing host: he proposed us a great fog-proof way to spend the day – going ice skating on one of the biggest rinks in whole Sweden. We all immediately said yes: if you really want to get to know a culture, doing as locals do is a must – so when you are in Sweden, you go ice-skating! Some of us were at the beginner level, some at a bit higher one – at least that’s what we thought until we saw and compared ourselves to a few Swedish people skating there. Fortunately, the rink was also full of children, so we were feeling more comfortable skating surrounded by the ones with similar skating abilities ;).

All in all, our first trip was really fun, and definitely inspiring for exploring Sweden much more!

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Is “that” a snowstorm?

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Do you remember when I was all excited about the first time we got snow in Gent? Well… that was nothing. I got crazy-excited with the most amazing show of nature I’ve ever seen: an awesome snowstorm in Lund!

I can’t stress enough how many times I’ve heard comments like “winter is depressing, you’ll see” and “snow is dirty and annoying” however, for the moment I completely disagree. I find winter very soothing and beautiful, maybe it’s because I’m from a tropical country or maybe it’s because I can find an excuse to drink hot chocolate, I’m not sure, however I’m sure that this semester in Lund will be amazing. I’ll try to explain myself better.

Reason #1: The classes and the different activities of the universitylund-university-logo2

The first week in Lund, we had the introduction session. The purpose was to get a tiny glimpse on how the semester will develop regarding the courses and also other student activities. The courses will be interesting and we’ll get to apply what we learned the last semester, we will be able to use computer programs to model fire and we will also have the highly-expected fire laboratory. For sure, we have new exciting challenges ahead!

Reason #2: My classmates are the funniest people on earth

During the introduction, the students from the IMFSE 2016-2018 class got together for the first time, and it was amazing. We all had huge smiles on our faces when we were talking for the first time and we made jokes right away! The guys from the second year that are making their thesis here were really kind and patient, they took us to all the places that we needed to be and answered all our questions about how to live in Lund over and over again until we were clear (Thank you guys !!)

Reason #3: Classmates? of course! but also a team.16295347_10210720973127894_823011095_n

From “where can I find an ATM?” to “let’s go play scrambled eggs one more time!” every doubt or idea you have will be cleared and followed if you ask to any of your classmates, this was proven with the team building activity that the faculty prepared for us. It started as a little competition between us, but soon enough it became a bonding activity, solving problems together and helping each other t16237669_10210720973167895_996689868_no win the games as a team.

After the competition, even though we were tired, we stayed around and discovered the games place for 30 minutes more, running all around the place like kids and laughing without any restriction, some trying to out-win the scrambled eggs games and others trying their neuro-surgeon skills. It was a great time!

Reason#4: Weather

We’ll get all the good things from Europe here! Winter, spring and summer at their best, and I’m sure we’ll be having a great time because well… Reason #2!

For example, on the introduction day we experienced the snowstorm and after all the activities we were walking in the street and just about 5 minutes later we started a snowball fight! Somehow, I even got pushed towards a small mountain of snow! if that’s not a graphic description of “how to take advantage of any weather condition”, I don’t know how else it could described.

I’m sure we are all going to have a great time while learning and enjoying our company this semester.

 

Moving north

After a short winter break in Belgrade, it was time to continue the IMFSE adventure and head on north. The second semester was about to kick off in Swedish province of Scania, at the oldest institution of higher education in Scandinavia, the eminent University of Lund. My new ”moving process” was quite interesting and marked by some lucky circumstances. My friend and colleague, Arjan, decided to travel from Gent to Lund by his car and he was kind enough to help me transfer most of my stuff! Additionally, there is a direct flight from Belgrade to Malmö, and it is fortunately operated by a low-cost airline, so moving north turned out to be super simple & smooth 🙂

I arrived late on Sunday night, and headed directly to student’s dorm ‘’Spoletorp North’’ to see my dear Gent colleagues and meet our fellows from Edinburgh. One of the reasons why the semester in Lund is so special, is because we finally gather as the whole IMFSE generation in one place. I was quite glad to find out how perfectly tailored our whole group is, consisting of so many different great people from all around the World! We shared our experiences from the first semester in Gent and Edinburgh, and compared the things we have learnt, and those conversations definitely motivated us all to look forward even more towards the third semester. But before the third semester, comes of course the second!

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Already the first day at the LTH (Lunds tekniska högskola – Faculty of Engineering) I was impressed by several things. First of all the politeness of the whole staff – professors, assistants, administrators, coordinators. Everyone was extremely helpful, and had answers to any possible question. After taking a few classes and doing a mini-tour around a few engineering buildings, I figured out that studying conditions are above every expectation, and simply on a world-class level. During the break we also discovered a really good student’s restaurant which will definitely make our lunch-time much nicer! All in all the first impression of the University is just excellent and extremely inspiring for doing some serious studying and living a nice student life!

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The one thing that Lund student’s are famous for are the student’s ’’Nations’’. Those are some sort of student’s ’’fraternities’’, and they organize various student’s activities, from brunches and dinners to amazing parties, student excursions, sport sessions and many more things! We obviously became members and already had some nice gatherings and met some more interesting people from different nationalities. Seems like student’s life in Lund won’t be boring at all!

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Semester break in Serbia

As the tough semester has passed, I unfortunately had only one day to jump around Gent, say goodbye to my friends and the city itself. But already the next day I found myself in my favorite city on earth, my Belgrade! A perfect place for taking a rest after a lot of studying, and for charging the batteries for the next semester!

I was lucky to arrive just on time for the biggest student costume ball in Serbia, the famous ’’KST Maskenbal’’, and almost directly from airport I headed there. This incredible manifestation is being held for 47 consecutive years, and really represents one of the things that many students are anticipating throughout the whole year! This is me and my cousin at the costume ball 2015, as an Arab sheik and Ned Flanders from the Simpsons 🙂

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Spending time with my family and my close friends also took me quite some time, but the thing that probably made me happy the most was my mother’s famous Rastafarian cake 😉. No words are needed, the photo will say it all. And my mom will be happy to prepare it for all my friends that visit me in Serbia in the future!

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Belgrade has always been famous for cold winters, so it didn’t disappoint this year either. For around two weeks we had temperatures around -20 degrees Celsius, so preparing for moving to Sweden wasn’t hard at all. When the temperatures started growing finally, and the snow started to melt, Belgrade showed it’s nicest side with amazing sceneries all around the city.

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Unfortunately, cold weather brings flu epidemics, so for the most of my ‘’vacation’’ time I was just laying in the bed, and couldn’t do too much, but when the weather gets better, and I go to Serbia again, I will certainly dedicate a special blog to my country and my hometown!

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See you soon,Edinburgh!

Visiting new places allows you to know more about culture and its features. In this blog I am going to mention things that were new and unusual for me when I just arrived in Edinburgh. The first thing was the way Edinburgh is pronounced: before coming, I did not know that instead of E-din-burg it should be E-din-bruh. What a discovery, I would say! The second was getting used to the left-hand side traffic: looking to the right first when you cross the roads and taking a bus in the proper direction. Also, I should mention that in Edinburgh I learned to cross the roads on red light, as hardly anyone follows the traffic lights. In my country, you should only cross on the green light, check both directions, and look up also, just in case, to ensure that you are completely safe. So I need to get rid of that habit when I go home. Seeing two separate taps for hot and cold water in bathrooms was one more unusual thing for me. I should say that it was hard to adjust the temperature of water, as water was either freezing cold or boiling hot. I was curious why they have two tabs instead of one, and found out that the reason behind is associated with houses built after World War II which had a cold water tank in the attic that fed the hot water tank. It was considered that water in cold tank can be easily contaminated and is not appropriate for drinking. The presence of mixer tap could have caused contamination of whole system with hot water in case of valve failure. This can explain why there are two separate taps for cold and hot water.

Even though some things were unusual and strange for me, Edinburgh conquered me with its beautiful nature, majestic architecture, nice weather and friendly people. I can assure you that it is one of the must-see cities, as it has such an unique spirit. For example, by visiting magnificent Edinbugh castle sitting on the volcanic crag and walking on the Royal Mile located in the heart of Old Town, you can be transported back in medieval times and vividly imagine knights with their swords and ladies in elegant dresses passing you by. The city offers you a wide range of activities from visiting museums and galleries to just spending a good time in a cafe or bar. Also, it is a home to various festivals such as Edinburgh Festival Fringe-largest art festival- and Hogmanay -Scottish new year festival. In such a short time, it has become like second home to us, so thank you, Edinburgh, for being such a nice place to stay in and for enabling to meet rather wonderful people! I hope that I will come back sometime, so I would say see you soon, Edinburgh!  img_20160925_013418

 

IMFSE Thesis

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There is no doubt that, the master thesis is considered the key for new horizons after graduation. It can easily open unexpected doors in front of our graduates. As usual, the IMFSE offer a unique educational process for its students to do their master thesis, in the fourth semester the students can do their thesis work at any of the following universities:

  • Ghent University, Belgium.
  • Lund University, Sweden.
  • University of Edinburgh, UK.
  • University of Maryland, USA.
  • University of Queensland, AU.
  • ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

They can also propose any topic with one of our industrial partners, based on their interest and also the approval from the IMFSE board.

Usually, the students will be asked to propose their choices for the master thesis around March during their 2nd semester at Lund. The thesis topics will be very diverse and definitely will cover everyone’s interest. Whether you are a firefighting, seeking a PhD afterward or looking for a job in a specific fire topic ex. fires in tunnels; you will easily find a topic that suit your aspirations. The following table shows some of the main topics that will be available to the students in March:

Experimental Computational Other
Human Behavior in Fires Human Behavior in Fires Fire Risk Assessment projects
Fire investigations Computational Fluid Dynamics using FDS code Fire Safety and Society
Wild fires Computation Fluid Dynamics using Open Foam Petrochemical fires studies
Fires in Tunnels Fires in Tunnels Fire statistics
Materials and coatings in fire Materials and coatings in fire Virtual Reality studies for evacuation
Structures in fire Structures in fire Thermal imagining analysis for firefighters
Flame spread and enclosure fires Wild fires Energy efficient housing and its influence on fires
Firefighting tactics Flames/smoke interaction with water sprays and ventilation networks
Emissions and climate impact from fires Fire in enclosure modeling using Argos
Fire safety of facades

Each university is considered a world leader in one of these topics; some topics are common in two or more universities. In the next blog, the following points will be discussed:

  • What are the specializations of each university?
  • How to choose your topic?
  • When is the best time to start thinking about/discussing the thesis topic?
  • What are the main points that you need to discuss with your prospective supervisor?

Farewell, El Salvador

Last December, at the same time the exams were ending, I was getting excited about going back home for the holidays so when I woke up on Christmas day, I walked to the train station with a crazy-like smile on my face knowing that soon I would be home… I would be in El Salvador.

When I arrived, my friends and family asked a lot of questions about how it was living in Europe and about my studies, the normal answers were: “it’s much colder than here, but I love it!” and “it’s more challenging than expected, but it’s amazing!” however there’s so much more about it.

I can barely describe in words how great is to get to know people from all around the world and how amazing is to hear them talk about their homes. I can hardly express how heart breaking is to leave my family again knowing now how hard they’ve worked to get me to where I am and well… the fact that I don’t have to cook when I’m with them is a plus. I can just say that it’s a mix of feelings,joy and sadness, but in some way it all fills me up with more hope and more appreciation for life than the one I had before starting this adventure with IMFSE.

In between talks about the past, present and future, I also got to see a couple of places in my own country that I haven’t being before. For me, the most impressive one was the Illamatepec volcano in Santa Ana.

This volcano is really special because beside that its active, it has an impressive lagoon of a wonderful emerald color in the crater. We started around 10am and finished more or less at 3pm, without stoping or having lunch, just a little desert at the top of the volcano. While we were climbing the volcano, we could see how the vegetation was changing from lots of trees in the bottom to only rocks and dust in the top, I had no idea we had such an amazing place in my country, and neither of the force of wind at the top.

When you’re in the top of the volcano and you realise how far you’ve come, you feel amazing, unstoppable and with all the confidence in the world that you can conquer everything, because well, you just managed to climb all the way to the top of an active volcano! It’s an amazing feeling and I highly recommend it if you ever go to El Salvador.

El Salvador is a small country located in Central America with a tropical weather (27°C in average all year long), the fact that its really small gives a lot of advantages to get to know it. For example, you can have lunch in the beach (maybe a coctail or a ceviche) and then have pupusas for dinner in a mountain (pupusas is the national dish, short video on how to make them Here).

Needless to say, El Salvador is amazing and for sure I’ll miss it, however for the moment I have a metaphorical volcano to climb: the second semester in Lund.

Lund, here I go!