Ghent U. Kick-off Events

Every start of the semester is initiated with university kick-off events for new students to get to know about the university life. For most of us (second-year students), this is our first semester in Ghent. So our student life at this university started with moving into our new home of this semester. It is a great feeling to finally settle in in your new place and get to know your new housemates.

The same week was the week full of welcome week events. It started with an information session about university life, student organizations, good food, and marching band music.  University organizes so many interesting student activities to get to know the university and the city, not to mention tons of evening and nighttime activities organized by student clubs. I attended Boat Tour and Belfry Tower tour (I wanted to do kayaking, but it got filled up very quickly). But the ones I attended were also very interesting, especially because of the entertaining tour guides.

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Then the culmination of the Student Welcome Week was the Student Kick-off party, probably the biggest welcome week party I have ever seen: massive stage, an interesting line up of DJs, and all-night dancing (Ghent’s very own “Tomorrowland”). Hats off to Ghent University event organizers 😉

As of now, we have already dived into classes and started with assignments. The semester looks promising: busy schedule, exciting group projects, and few planned activities/parties with classmates.

Good Luck with the classes y’all and see you around! ❤

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Summer Internships – Part 2

Continuing on from last week’s blog post, Chamith, Ewana and Karim share their internship experiences.

Again, a big thank you is needed for the companies who provided these internship positions and for the knowledge they imparted.

Chamith

Where did you undertake an internship?

I did my internship in Basler and Hofmann, Zurich Switzerland. It is a consultant company which has expertise in many fields. I was working in the Fire team and the BIM team. It was my first visit to Switzerland indeed was a good one.

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Have you previously had any sort of professional fire engineering experience? Was this internship different than what you might have anticipated?

I didn’t have fire engineering work experience before this. I had worked as a research assistant in university but this was a new experience working in a company related to fire.

The day to day language used within the company is High German and I was not good in German when I was doing the internship. I did my work in English but I learned new things in German language.

What sort of activities did you undertake during your internship?

  • Understanding the capability to integrate fire related software (Pyrosim and Pathfinder) with BIM software Revit. Different Revit file formats which are possible to import in Pyrosim and pathfinder studied with their differences.
  • Heat conduction in Pyrosim/FDS according to backside boundary conditions and wall thickness investigated. I demonstrated a design fire for a company building using my knowledge gathered during IMFSE first year.
  • When generating the Pathfinder model from BIM data, the geometry necessary for the model is often not identified perfectly. I was working on finding modifications needed to be done to complete the model. After the corrections, the evacuation was simulated considering different occupant behaviour patterns.
  • When exporting the BIM model to use with fire simulation software I found the format which provided the best compatibility. Then I created a guide with steps to follow in Revit to export.

Can you briefly describe your favourite/most interesting task you performed?

Integrating Revit with fire simulation software is something new for me and the company also. I had to do some research apart from the simulation.

We also demonstrated in Virtual Reality (VR) a fire in a Revit model and human evacuation during the fire. It was very interesting and a brand new experience. Other team members in the fire and the structural group were very interested in my work and I got the chance to explain it a few times. Most of them also tried the simulation with VR for the first time.

Do you have any advice for future IMFSE students regarding internships?

Yes, definitely don’t miss the opportunity to do a summer internship after first year. You will have around 12 weeks break and even if you fly to your home country for summer at least attempt to do an internship for 4-6 weeks before you go.

Ewana

 

Where did you undertake an internship?

Fire Engineered Solutions Ghent.

Have you previously had any sort of professional fire engineering experience? Was this internship different than what you might have anticipated?

No previous experience. The internship helped me gain insight into the role a fire engineer plays as a consultant.

What sort of activities did you undertake during your internship?

I made a fire evacuation plan for a complex building, checked if a commercial building complies with Belgian legislation for evacuation. I also carried out some fire dynamics calculations required for a tunnel fire test.

Can you briefly describe your favourite/most interesting task you performed?

I really enjoyed working with the fire evacuation plan in Autocad as it nourished my skills and gave me a sense of the practical usefulness of the plan.

Do you have any advice for future IMFSE students regarding internships?

I feel doing a summer internship is really helpful for understanding the nature of work a fire engineer can do. Also, it is a great opportunity to experience office culture in abroad.

Karim

Where did you undertake an internship?

Fire Engineered Solutions Ghent.

Have you previously had any sort of professional fire engineering experience? Was this internship different than what you might have anticipated?

No, I had mechanical engineering experience but not fire. I didn’t know what to expect as I had no experience with fire engineering companies. But I can say I am satisfied with it as it all seems like a new thing for me.

What sort of activities did you undertake during your internship?

Doing hand calculations, for example on ventilation system design and then trying to simulate it and compare the answers. It can be either a current project or an already done project.

Can you briefly describe your favourite/most interesting task you performed?

I always like simulations, anything is better than hand calculation 😀 but fire simulations are always interesting to see.

Do you have any advice for future IMFSE students regarding internships?

My advice would be quite different and may not be acceptable to everybody, but I believe that it’s okay to be in an unpaid internship (especially for non-Europeans) as it’s still a good chance to have some kind of work experience in Europe. I don’t believe totally in the idea of “if you are good at something, don’t do it for free”. I see it as if you are good at something, just start doing it even if it was for free and your time will come when you prove yourself and get paid well for it.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Joining an internship will open your mind to things that were never in your head, and will show you that this field is so wide open for research and opportunities. Anyone can discover something new in a fresh and developing field.

Doors Open Days in Edinburgh

End of September in Edinburgh is a great time for students to visit “hidden” gems of this beautiful, historical, and mystical city. Every year, last weekend of the month, there is Doors Open Days when you can visit places otherwise closed to the public usually (or the ones that have an entry fee). Last year, we visited places such as McEwan Hall, Edinburgh Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court, Old College, Talbot Rice Gallery, Stewart’s Melville College, National Records of Scotland, and Consulate General of France. Some of them have exquisite architecture, whereas others serve a significant role in the city.

In my opinion, it was a great idea that we decided to visit those places because after September we got very busy with classes and assignments that we did not have many opportunities for sightseeing up until classes ended (except maybe FSE Day).

So, take advantage of this free visit weekend and visit as many places as possible. Beware that for some places you must book in advance because spots are limited. Do not miss out the chance to visit Anatomical Museum but book it well ahead since it fills up very fast. Also, if you want to visit the National Library of Scotland, tours are booked in advance.

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You can find a whole list of buildings and opening hours in http://www.doorsopendays.org.uk/. Also if you go to the first floor of the library in Kings Buildings, you can find brochures and maps with all the places.

Enjoy 🙂

 

Summer Internships – Part 1

Over the summer a number of our cohort decided to undertake a fire safety engineering related internship to gain an understanding of how the knowledge which we are gaining throughout the program can be applied in practice. Some of these students have been kind enough to share their experiences. I’ve decided to split this blog post into two more digestible parts; lookout for Part 2 next week.

Whilst choosing to undertake an internship can increase the burden of red tape which you are required to navigate (visa requirements in particular), these experiences provide valuable insight into the professional fire engineering industry.

Also, a big thank you is needed for the companies who provided these internship positions and for the knowledge they imparted.

First up we have Sandesh and Leo sharing their internship experiences.

Sandesh

Where did you undertake an internship?

Fire Engineered Solutions Ghent.

Have you previously had any sort of professional fire engineering experience? Was this internship different than what you might have anticipated?

No, I did my undergraduate in Mechanical Engineer and after that I was working in the sector of HVAC. Yes, this internship was helpful and I was able to model some geometry on Pyrosim (an FDS software) for an ongoing project of Brussels airport.

What sort of activities did you undertake during your internship?

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  1. I worked on Pyrosim for the company on their ongoing project of Brussels Airport.
  2. I am currently writing a report that gives an overview of analytical design methodologies and the input parameters that are usually required by the engineer to design the smoke and heat control system.

The aim of the report is that the reader after reading the document would be able to choose the best analytical method for the design of smoke and heat control depending on the fire scenario and the type of building. Moreover, the reader should be able to find the most probable fire sources for the specified type of building.

Can you briefly describe your favourite/most interesting task you performed?

The favourite part for me was to work on Pyrosim. I never worked on this software before so I had to start from the initial stage and since I love working on the modelling software, I enjoyed it a lot and my supervisor was understanding enough to allow me to play with the geometry and instructed me wherever I got stuck.

Do you have any advice for future IMFSE students regarding internships?

Even though it’s not mandatory, try finding one for the summer break. It gives you an idea as how we have to deal with fire-related problems in practical fire engineering scenarios. And hey, you get to add it up in the resume.

Leo

Where did you undertake an internship?

During the summer, I worked with the Institute for Applied Fire Safety Research (IFAB) in Berlin, Germany. They used to be the research and development department of Fogtec. They are located in the northern part of the city a bit outside the center. I was not exactly situated in a certain department at IFAB as the team does not consist of that many people and the transition between the teams and their tasks are rather smooth.

Have you previously had any sort of professional fire engineering experience? Was this internship different than what you might have anticipated?

I haven’t had any previous working experience in the field of fire safety engineering specifically but spent previous years working as a research associate in material sciences at my Alma Mater in Cologne, Germany, giving me general working and quite a lot of lab experience in the field of engineering. The working tasks during my time at IFAB now and how they needed to be tackled have been more or less as I would have expected them to be. However, one experience stands out that you cannot get everywhere [Authors note; Leo is sworn to secrecy regarding these details despite my attempts to twist his arm].

What sort of activities did you undertake during your internship?

I was involved in different services offered by the company as modelling different fire scenarios in underground structures in FDS as a part of egress concepts, developing fire safety concepts for existing structures (requiring inspections of the site) and fire testings for extinguishing systems in the industry.

Can you briefly describe your favourite/most interesting task you performed?

I think from the list in my previous answer it is pretty obvious which of the activities that I was involved in might have been the most interesting. Working with real fire, for scientific reasons of course, is always exciting. I was stationed at the testing site of IFAB for a week participating in the process for the certification of a high-pressure water mist system. Fire tests are often necessary to get certification for the industrial use of extinguishing systems for a lot of applications. Since the droplets used in water mist are so small (we are talking µm-scales) and the dynamics therefore become very complex when fire and fire-induced flows enter the game it is not always possible to make viable, cost- and time-efficient predictions about the efficiency of an extinguishing system used for a new application without conducting real-scale fire tests.

It was really interesting to get to know how new systems can get certified and what parties are involved in the process (client company, insurers, testing laboratory…).

Do you have any advice for future IMFSE students regarding internships?

I say: Do it. If you want to apply what you already learned in your first year, get an insight on working practices in the industry and get some working experience in FSE, an internship during the summer of your IMFSE journey is the right thing to do. If you get the chance to do it in another country than where you come from, then it will also add further to your international experience. A good way to find an internship might also be to check the companies from the sponsor consortium of the IMFSE.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

If you want to do an internship, but don’t end up with a spot in the end – don’t be too sad. The working life, unfortunately, has some drawbacks, too. When meeting up with people from your batch or hearing from them and how they spend the summer travelling across Europe, one can definitely get very jealous while sitting in the office on a rainy day. I am already looking forward to reunite with the others (sadly only with half of our class) to go to Edinburgh together. See you there!

Arrival in Ghent. Random tips

Each semester in different countries has its perks but also has that period in the beginning when you have to adapt to a new country, new culture, new rules, and new living. Spending my summer in Ghent was helpful to get to know the city before the start of the semester. Since that was my first time in Belgium, upon arrival I did not know how to get around the city, where to go for grocery shopping, or where to buy cheap household and other things for a living. Now that I have been here for 3 months already, I think I can give some tips for students arriving for the first time in Ghent.

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These tips are random but will save you some time and money during your arrival and stay in Ghent.

–         As you may already know, if you are arriving in Brussels airport you can take direct trains to Ghent. If you are arriving in Brussels Charleroi you can take Flibco bus. For Flibco, buying tickets online from their website will save you time and money because usually there is a queue at the ticketing office and some added costs.

–         To get around Ghent by public transportation, download the app “De Lijn,” – 1 ticket costs 1.8 euro, but for 15 euros you can get 10 tickets.

–         When I arrived in Ghent on Sunday, I was quite shocked to see that almost all grocery and convenience stores and other places were closed during that day. So, if you are arriving on Sunday or want to buy groceries on Sunday, Proxy Delhaize is open on Sundays until 8 pm (There is one near the dorms).

–         Proxy Delhaize accepts any forms of payment: Visa, Master Card, American Express, Maestro, and cash. Another grocery store, Albert Heijn, unfortunately, does not accept Visa or Master Card, so get your Maestro or cash ready if you go there.

–         To buy cheap household and other things for your room, you can try – Action. They sell almost everything you might need: plates, utensils, pans, stationaries, cleaning supplies, and even iron. but, beware that Action is closed on Sundays.

–         If you need a bike but do not want to buy one, you can rent one from rental places. The one I know is Swapfiets (if you show a student ID, you can get a discount)

–         As a side note, do NOT ride a bike on the road where there is a tram-line. Many accidents happen there, the most frequent one being the wheel being stuck on a tram-line.

If you are having any other questions or concerns, you can always hit me or my peers up a message, and we will try to help you out.

Welcome to Ghent and enjoy every moment spent with IMFSE fam, these are precious times 😀 ❤

My Summer Break

It’s September already! And that means summer break is ending and the new semester will start soon! But before we continue to the new semester, let’s talk about how I spent my summer break this year!

Indonesia

After an interesting (and cold) semester in Sweden, I decided not to take any internship in Europe and went back to my home country. Luckily, during this summer break, I could attend one of my best friends’ wedding in the most famous island in Indonesia, Bali!

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The venue was just amazing! There was a great overlook where you could see a panoramic view of beaches below and the horizon. An extra sunset light in the afternoon completed our wonderful day.

Four days in Bali just flew by and I needed to return to Jakarta to do my Schengen visa for IMFSE which I will write in my other blog post later.

France

Every year in France, there is an International Festival of Pyrotechnic Art held in Cannes, just half an hour journey from my girlfriend’s place in Nice. Last year, we went to watch a firework show from Finland with a theme “Aurora Borealis” which was breathtaking! They only show one country a week, each lasted for half an hour – imagine the awesomeness of half an hour full of firework!

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This year, unfortunately, I arrived 2 days after the last show and couldn’t see any of the show. Usually the show starts from July and ends in August, so next year if you are interested, you can watch it in France! And the good news is it’s free!

Spain

Travelling in Europe won’t be the same if you don’t visit Barcelona to visit Sagrada Familia Cathedral – the last work of a genius architect, Antonio Gaudi. The building is so gigantic that it will be the tallest church in the world in 2026 after it’s finished. There are so many fascinating things about this building and you need to experience it yourself! Another thing to see is the Barcelona Magic Fountain of Montjuïc that was very calming yet captivating!

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And now that the summer break is going to end, I need to prepare myself for another challenge in the new academic year. IMFSE, here I come!

Building fire in Edinburgh as IMFSE students arrive for the new semester

It’s welcome week in Edinburgh and both first and second-year students have gradually been arriving and settling into our new home for the next few months. Today, I moved in with my new flatmates and into a room with views of Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill and over the city.

Late this afternoon whilst appreciating the view, I noticed large amounts of smoke billowing up from the center of the city. A quick search online revealed that an apartment building had suffered an explosion and an associated fire.

It’s a cruel sort of irony that at the same time as we’re arriving here for a new academic year, Edinburgh experiences an event like this. At this point in time, the publicly released information is quite sparse, but I hope that everyone is ok.

Tomorrow all of the IMFSE students spending this semester in Edinburgh will meet for the first time and run through some administration items before having a social evening of burgers and drinks. We’re all pretty excited to catch up in person with what everyone has been up to over summer and to meet the new first-year students.

Good luck to everyone for the coming semester.