The end of summer vacation

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!

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Third semester schedule!

This past week the second years students that will study in Ghent for the third semester got their schedule. During our first semester we were divided equally: 7 in Ghent and 7 in Edinburgh. This time some people who did their first semester in Ghent decided to stay for the third as well, so there will be 5 students in Edinburgh and 9 in Ghent.

The schedule is quite busy, compared to the ones in Lund and Edinburgh. The courses of this semester are Explosions and Industrial Fire Safety, Fire Safety and Legislation, Passive Fire Protection, Active Fire Protection I and II, and Performance-based Design.

In Ghent we will have some courses with the local Master of Science in Fire Safety Engineering students. This happened in Edinburgh and Lund as well, so although we are a small class, when it comes to lectures the lecture hall is crowded anyways, and you can get to know other students too.

All of the lectures of the third semester will take place in the main building of the university, which is quite central and easy to access by bike, bus or tram.

Everybody bikes in Ghent, it’s an easy and cheap way to get anywhere in the city. It is possible to rent bikes from the university for a very reasonable price, so that they are affordable for everyone. Here is a picture of one of the bike types that students can rent.

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One more month until Ghent semester

In about one month I will be moving to Ghent again for my third semester. I know the city quite well, since I have spent almost every summer there visiting family. I also did my internship there this summer for six weeks.

I am excited to live there for four months, since it is a beautiful city with lots to do and see. Also, being in Belgium gives you a great opportunity to travel, since it is situated so close to many other countries. I grew up in Sardinia, which is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, so if I wanted to travel it was always quite expensive because I would have to take a plane. In Belgium I could just take a train and be in another country in one or two hours.

Of course, since the first semester of the year is a short one (only 12 weeks) travelling will not be possible all the time, but I’m sure that all of us can find a weekend or two to travel a bit.

The past year I’ve always lived in student accommodation, but in Ghent I decided to find a private one. It’s definitely calmer, and it’s nice to finally have a proper living room and bathroom!

I’m quite excited to move back to Ghent, but I’m also glad I still get to enjoy my vacation for one more month!

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Wildfires in Sardinia

Every summer here in Sardinia, where I live, there are wildfires. This is one of the reasons why I decided to study Fire Safety Engineering; I wanted to know more about fire dynamics and fire spread.

This summer was no exception. Many wildfires have already burned so many hectares of Mediterranean scrub, and even today one destroyed a big area close to the beach and touristic facilities on the southern-east coast of the island. Many people have been evacuated from homes and hotels, as the fire keeps spreading also because of the strong wind.

The main cause of these wildfires is arson, which is a willful burning. As we have seen in the course Human Behavior in Fire in Lund, the motives for arson can be several, but in this case the most likely could be revenge, profit and wanting to be seen as a hero.

To extinguish these fires the fire brigade is helped by many volunteers, who are trained to  handle these situations. Even in the small village I live in there is one of these volunteer associations. Also, helicopters and Canadairs are utilized, which collect water from the Mediterranean Sea.

Here are some pictures from today’s fire.

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Back home

Most of us are done with our internships, and almost everybody went back home to enjoy the rest of our holidays. We still keep in touch and share pictures from home, especially when it comes to food! We like to show each other what we are doing during our vacation, and it’s a great way to still be in contact even though we are not together anymore.

I am also spending the rest of my holidays at home with family and friends. It’s great to catch up since we don’t see each other that often anymore, also because many study and work abroad as well. As soon as I got back I got to celebrate three graduations and a birthday, so I had the occasion to see everybody quite soon after my return.

I will be spending the rest of my holidays at the beach, enjoying the wonderful island of Sardinia and relaxing before the start of the second year. I will go back to Gent for my third semester in September, along with many of my classmates. It will be fun to be together again after three months spent apart.

Here is a picture of the view I had on my first day at the beach.

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Team Building

During my internship at FESG I got to experience a day where we did a team building activity. I had never heard of something like that before, so I was a bit surprised and very curious, also because we were not told what the activity would be. We only knew what to wear and where we would be going.

 We left from Gent on Sunday morning to go to Nieuwpoort, a city situated on the Belgian coastline. Once we arrived we discovered we would go wave karting. With small boats, where maximum three people would fit, we left the harbor and went to the open sea. There we were able to go full speed up until about 4 km from the shore. We took turns to drive the boat and had lots of fun trying to catch the biggest waves.

After that we had lunch in the city center, where we got to see the Giants parade, where giant dolls are carried through the streets of the city.

We had a great day, and were really lucky to have good weather after so many days of rain!

Here is a picture of us all in front of the boats after we went wave karting.

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Euro Cup

This past weekend there were the UEFA Euro cup quarter finals. Both Belgium and Italy played, and unfortunately, they both lost. Belgium played against Wales and Italy against Germany. Five of us met up in Gent to watch Italy vs Germany on Saturday. We went to a pub in the city center, and luckily we got there early, because after a while the pub got very crowded. We were sitting in an area where the supporters were mostly Italian, so Pasquale and I felt right at home. During half-time Nemer and I were hungry, so of course we went to a frituur, where they sell French fries, burgers and so much more. When we came back Christian joined us as well.

Needless to say, we all know how the game ended, and to pick our spirit up a bit we decided to go to Overpoort to have some fries at De gouden saté, one of the most famous frituurs in Gent. Most of us had a huge portion of fries and sausage.

It is great to have many of my classmates here in Belgium, because we get to hang out a lot even during the summer holidays. Here is a picture of us watching the game.

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