My Life, My Adventure

My first world tour became reality when I received an email from IMFSE that I was accepted as one of the scholarship awardees. It was so shocking yet exhilarating to be granted the scholarship to study in one of the most prestigious Erasmus+ programmes, especially in the University of Edinburgh. I assure you, you won’t be able to contain your happiness when you get this email and you will start jumping and doing random dance without you knowing it.

After I confirmed my participation in the programme, I immediately spent 1-2 days learning how to make the student visa to go to the UK and realized that making visa to the UK is very complicated and very time-consuming (you are lucky if you have a powerful passport and don’t need a visa to enter the UK or EU country). It took me around 1 month in total to finally get my student visa. Now it’s time to travel!

Let’s fast forward to the first week of my adventure in Edinburgh. Whoosh!

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For those who live in tropical countries (including me), be ready! Because here in Edinburgh, the “summer” is not the summer we have imagined. I used to have a scorching 34⁰C at noon and 26⁰C at night but now I can’t even have that 26⁰C at noon! It was 16⁰C in the sunny summer! Luckily, I have brought some thick clothes and jackets to warm me up during my travel.

On the second day, I decided to walk around the city center and enjoyed the scenic view of mountains and buildings in Edinburgh.

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Clear sunny sky above the Waverley Station

Does this place ring you any bells? Yes! That’s where a scene in Avengers: Infinity Wars takes place. It’s when Scarlet Witch !@%& (censored due to potential spoilers).

Anyway let’s continue! Around the city center, there will be street shows you can enjoy and one of them is the famous bagpipe show!

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They are literally everywhere in Edinburgh! I also found one near the Waverley Mall and some along the Princes Street. Some toilet signs even had scotsmen included in it!

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Inside Waverley Mall
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Toilet sign in Waverley Mall

Overall, I already enjoyed my first 2 exciting days in Edinburgh – mountainous view, Gothic architecture buildings, cold weather, friendly people, you name it. I feel like I’m in a totally different world! Really looking forward to my next 4 months in Edinburgh and to “enjoying” my study with my fellow IMFSE students! See you! Or Indonesian will say it “Sampai jumpa!”.

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Ghenting Into the Swing of Things

It’s hard to believe we are already ramping up towards our first semester exams. It is cliché, but it really does feel like it was yesterday that we were getting things underway.

After over a year of preparation from the initial application, visa process and housing, not to mention packing up a life back home and figuring out how all of the non-study aspects of this endeavour will work, it was a relief to step onto the plane and start this adventure.

Whether you’ve come from the other side of the world like I have, or just across the border, discussions amongst all of the IMFSE students have illustrated that we’ve all gone through a very similar set of logistics (admittedly some much more complex than others); and because of that it felt like we had known each other for a long time before classes even started.

I think that’s one of the big advantages to undertaking an international master’s like IMFSE. Not only are you challenged by the academic programs of three of the most well-respected universities in the world when it comes to fire, but you’re also challenged by the logistics of never staying in one place for more than a handful of months. As hard as these challenges will be at the time, they will provide a great opportunity for growth both professionally and personally.

Photo 1My partner and I chose to arrive in Ghent a few weeks prior to class starting, partially to get ourselves situated but mostly to have a bit of a holiday first. It’s such a lovely city and was so enjoyable to aimlessly wander the old cobbled streets. I’d never really heard of Ghent until I considered applying for IMFSE (apart from the cycling history, but I’ll touch on that in a later post), and I find that amazing now that I’m here because it is a truly beautiful place. The history of this city is captivating and elements of its past are still strongly seen today.Photo 2The architecture is quite different to my hometown (I guess that comes with being a city which is more than thousand years older) but the people here seem so laid back, and that’s saying something coming from an Australian.

I may be almost 17,000 km from where I grew up, but this place is definitely starting to feel like home. And I don’t think that’s due to this ice cream store I found in town because I can’t say that those items look very Australian at all.Photo 3The first 8 weeks have flown by and exams will be on us before we know it. Look forward to sharing some more of our thoughts and experiences with you all over the coming year.

 

A Thank You Note

In honour of an upcoming Thanksgiving Day celebrated in the US, I want to write what I am thankful for this year.

I am thankful to the IMFSE program for giving me an amazing opportunity to spend two years in Europe to obtain an advanced degree at excellent universities and work with exceptionally talented people. IMFSE is truly a one-of-a-kind program:

  • Consists of a diverse group of students who share a common mission and interests.
  • Has established in its short existence an excellent reputation within the fire safety engineering community
  • Has a course structure that embodies the current and future needs of fire safety
  • Affords an opportunity of mobility to see and experience the world. 

I am spending my first semester at The University of Edinburgh along with six other IMFSE students.  It seems like we started the courses just yesterday, but already is about to finish. These two months were more than enough to get to know my classmates in this wonderful program – Seven students from seven different countries with seven different backgrounds and seven different personalities who became one diverse family. Although we are different,we complement each other: wisdom, wit, kindness, openness, mischief, sarcasm, fuss. A family that is always open to help you overcome your insecurities. A family that makes sure you are on track in your studies and not lagging. A family that I have come to trust in a short period of time. I am thankful to have this newly-gained diverse family. 

Although busy and feeling the stress of pending exams, the excitement of what comes after overshadows the worry and gives me motivation to go forward. Our next stop, Lund, is where we will get to know our other classmates, who are now in Ghent.  I am sure the next semester will be as memorable as this one.

To all who celebrate Thanksgiving Day: Happy Thanksgiving! 

To all who are getting ready for the final exams: Good luck! 

 

FSE – wait for it – Day!

The day everyone was waiting for finally came! Months of preparations and organizations have finally led for this event to happen. Special thanks to Professor Grunde Jomaas and Lies Decroos for enormous efforts they put for this event.  And also many thanks to BRE that kindly accommodated us!

This year Fire Safety Engineer Day was hosted in Watford – a city, 20 minutes away from London. Most of us came to the capital of Great Britain 2 days before the event. And the reason was – reunion with other IMFSE classmates!

After our legendary semester in Lund, when we were spending most of our time together, splitting to teams Ghent/Edinburg was tough. And finally we all gathered together again, in London! And most of the free time there we spend visiting museums and looking for some good food to eat 🙂

This year FSE day was special for us, because now we are students of the 2nd year! We met 1st year students from Ghent and Edinburgh and we were super excited of telling them how lucky we all of being part of IMFSE family!
Also, I found a regularity that 3 years in a row there is a girl from Kazakhstan in IMFSE class, who starts from Edinburg and who is IMFSE blogger! I think it’s a good tradition, hope it will go on 😉

Me (IMFSE’19) with Kunsulu (IMFSE’ 18) and Adina (IMFSE’ 20)

This FSE day was as great as previous one! We had a lab tour in BRE! We had an opportunity to talk to the people who lead the fire protection industry! So many things we learnt during this hours! Presentations of the 5th FSE day were mainly focused on Post-Construction Fire Safety. Speakers from such well-known companies as ARUP, Kingspan, BRE, FESG, GAE, Rockwool were having their talks that day. Each presentation ended with a round of applause, because all of them were so motivating, so enlightening and so thorough! Many thanks for all the presenters for putting so many efforts and passion not only to the presentation, but to all the things you are doing for Fire Safety Engineering.

During FSE day we had several coffee breaks. That was a very good opportunity for us to have a talk with speakers, industry members and IMFSE graduates. Thanks to the program office, we had our new business cards! So we could share them with each other (to never lose our bonds) and with industry representatives.

During one of this breaks, I had a talk with Professor Bart Merci and I mentioned that this year FSE day is totally different for us, now we really can understand how the industry works and we do really understand from the presentations more! Professor replied that it would be strange if we understood less 🙂

So, yes, reunion with other classmates was a very remarkable moment. Sadly, next semester we all will scatter to different countries. But that is one of the main reasons of Fire Safety Engineering days, right? To gather together with people from all over the world with the same views as yours, to discuss and to share thoughts, to feel like we are big community united with one goal.

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P.S During the conference by the end of the event there was a question from the auditory: “What if being a visitor, you see that building is not safe from fire safety point of view? Is it okay to complain to the administration about its insecurity?”. The answer was that even if you are not responsible person, if you feel that something is not okay with the design, it is so easy nowadays to take a picture and send it to the administration with a request to fix the problem. The picture, that may save someone’s life.

So one of the most import thoughts that I took from the conference was that we are responsible persons, now or in the near future. And we are doing or will be doing great! We are Fire Safety Engineers. We should care and we do care. And if not us, then who?