Video Interview: Life in IMFSE

Continuing the tradition of interviews in IMFSE, I decided to do an interview with the 2nd year students, Balsa and Jamie, about their opinions and experiences in IMFSE. Since they have experienced all 3 different universities provided, I asked them to compare the experience in each country and their overall opinions about IMFSE.

For my fellow 1st year students who haven’t decided yet where to go for their 3rd semester, I hope this video could be a little help to you. And for those who are now applying for IMFSE, I hope this could give you a brief description of life and education in IMFSE and I wish you good luck for the application!

P.S. Special thanks to Dr. Ricky Carvel for his fire-themed song playlist. There are so many interesting songs related to fire in his playlist and unfortunately I can only pick 2 for this video. Cheers!

Fire Fighting training

Exactly one month has passed since our last exam. Now it’s time to recall one of the memorable moments of the last semester – our fire fighting practice lesson. As a part of the elective course of FSE based Fire fighting, we had a practical training in PBO East Flanders Fire department (Brandweerschool).

Our professor Karel Lambert is an acting fireman, and as a concluding part of his course on Fire Fighting, he takes students to the real fire fighting training.

When we reached the place, after detailed instructions we were given a real firefighting equipment. The heaviest part was wearing air cylinders. However, we were cooperating very well in helping each other to get ready. We looked so alike in these outfits, so we were permanently asking: “Hey, who are you?”/ “Hey, are you Silvia? Oh, sorry, it’s you, Ayyappa”.


When we finally coped with the task of wearing full firefighting outfit, we were divided in two groups. Each group accompanied by a professor goes to the container, where some wooden cribs are set on fire. While the fire went through all the stages, we were sitting in the container, analyzing and experiencing all the processes happening there (e.g flashover). After getting out of the container everyone was very excited!

First of all, we were full of emotions after completing this training! It’s not an everyday thing to be part of fire fighting process! So huge thanks for fire department, our professor and IMFSE program for this challenging and fascinating experience! We feel really lucky for having an opportunity to have FSE based firefighting as our elective course.

Now the new (the last!) semester is on. And these remarkable moments will always have a special place in our memories!

P.S. After posting my picture on Social media, one of my friends sent me this meme with the “disaster girl”. Well, sometimes a “disaster girl” has to become a “disaster fighting girl” 🙂




Mad Fire Scientists

Semester 4 of the IMFSE just started. Since we do not have any other courses apart from our master’s thesis, I decided to reminisce the fun that we had during the third semester. This will be a series of blogs about how I enjoyed the courses during the third semester in Edinburgh. I will try my best not to be a spoiler to future students 😀.

Inarguably, my favourite subject is the Fire Science Laboratory. I did not expect that I will like it a lot because the primary reason why I chose Edinburgh for my third semester is because of the courses related to structural engineering. In this course, we were able to do experiments and identify problems on our own. We did bomb and cone calorimeter tests, closed and open cup tests, pool fire test, flame spread test, and spontaneous ignition test. I really felt like a scientist doing researches on my own, navigating through references in order to substantiate what I observed. We wrote several lab reports to be submitted fortnightly on Fridays. I would say that those nights were fulfilling, albeit challenging. Every single time, the adrenaline rush of the Fantastic Four was put to test. Honestly, I have never written my lab reports before in the same way that I did for this course. Our professor, Grunde, indeed pushed us to do better.

Some fiery experiments. Fuego!

I had fun especially that we receive really helpful feedbacks about our lab reports. I think that those will be of good use for our theses because it served as our training for technical writing. Of course, we tried not to completely remove play from work so we did bets about the outcome of the experiments and the two losers pay for the coffee of the two winners.

Mad fire scientists in action!

But in a serious manner, as fire engineers, we need to understand fire science in its basic and purest form. Only then will we be able to explain certain phenomena and apply principles correctly for practical purposes. Everyone can interpret and use fire science formulas and values based on a passage in a book or a journal article but only those who performed experiments can attest to their validity.

Winter break

After a very short and intense semester, my fellow classmates and I wanted to kick off our official winter break right after our final deadline at 4pm on 21st of December, which we did. We kicked off by throwing a Secret Santa party at Dan’s place. Dan and Joni kindly offered to host this party, Joni made an amazing vegetarian marinara sauce, and Karim and I helped her out by cooking different types of meat to meet everyone’s dietary restrictions.

As you might have noticed, since it was the Secret Santa party, everyone came prepared with their gifts and kept their recipients in secret. Overall it was a great party where we finally got relaxed, talked about something other than classes, and laughed. Since the conditions of the gift exchange were to find a funny gift under 10 GBP, I must say the gifts were funny and imaginative. You can see the photos below:

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Then everyone went separate ways to spend their winter break. I myself stayed in Edinburgh up until New Years. I visited all touristy places, had traditional turkey dinner at Dan and Joni’s place on Christmas, went to Hogmanay Torchlight Procession with them (which I will post later), and spent quality time with friends on New Year’s Eve after which left for Berlin to have a mini European trip.

P.S: sorry for making this post late, I just needed an excuse to share the photos from the event. Photo credit: Dan and Joni.

A Moment to Remember

Without us knowing, the first semester in Edinburgh has come to an end and is closed by Christmas and New Year holiday. Our first semester would not be as enjoyable without the 2nd year students who had helped us settling in and provided us with “tricks” about how to enjoy our study in IMFSE programme. They even invited us for a movie night or a football game night every weekend for Premier League or every time there is a live football game being broadcast.

We also took turns in making a dinner for the night. I remember myself cooking a Chinese cuisine Ma La Xiang Guo (麻辣香锅) and Danny ended up drinking a jug of milk since it was too spicy for him. As I don’t really like spicy food, I also suffered from the spiciness. In order to retain my integrity as an Indonesian, who are famous for their great likings for spicy food, I tried to keep a cool head but failed miserably XD. Balsa and Jamie, the 2nd year students, were so good at this and able to finish them hands down.

As we took turns in cooking at movie night or football game night, Balsa also cooked cheesy nachos with jalapeño which was very delicious (sadly I forget to take a picture of this masterpiece), and Jamie made a Spanish food which was very good as well. There was one time when we were lazy to cook, we decided to buy chips of different flavor and mix them in one big bowl. How about Danny you ask? He hasn’t cooked for us and I will be sure to ask for one in Lund later..

We also managed to celebrate Christmas by throwing a dinner party in Dan’s and Joni’s place and doing the Secret Santa gift exchange! You can read more about this on Gerard’s blog “When Christmas Season Starts, Autumn Semester Ends”.

The best thing is that we finally get to meet in person our other half from Ghent in Lund, Sweden but sadly, on the other hand, we need to part ways with the 2nd year students – Balsa, Jamie, and Gerard will be doing their thesis in Edinburgh while Andrei will go to Australia for his thesis.

From left: Gerard, Jamie, Andrei, Balsa (from Gerard’s blog)

All in all, I wish every 2nd year students good luck for the thesis, and for all of IMFSE students, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2019. Remember that it’s not a goodbye but instead, it’s a see you later!

see you

new year
Happy New Year 2019!