Being in a two-year program in Europe certainly has many advantages. Especially Summer Break gives a big window of opportunity to recover from previous semesters and get ready for the next ones. Everyone tries to enjoy that time how they deem to be appropriate and the most beneficial. Some do internships, some work, some travel, some go back home, and some multitask. I asked some of my classmates to share about their summer break, to show how IMFSE students take full advantages of the time given outside of classes.
The summer between IMFSE semesters was always planned to be one of exploration and preparation. Given that I am an Australian student in the course, I relished the chance to travel the vast expanses of Europe over this summer period, while I was to be in the region. However, the method by which it was to be navigated was not set in stone until the summer had already begun. Further, with the qualification of the Australian Beach Handball Team (February 2019) into the World Beach Games to be held in October 2019 in Qatar, it was clear that the summer travels would revolve around tournaments throughout Europe in training for potential selection in the team for this event. As such upon requests, flexibility of schedule and last minute offered positions, I have played in 4 countries so far across 3 different teams spanning many weekends to continue the push for selection, whilst navigating the beauty of Europe in all manner of destinations in between.
I have become well accustomed to the overnight travel experience and the public park recovery (naps) and fitness sessions to keep myself tournament ready. I have loved the time so far and have come through with great progress and results, but look forward to more of what the summer has to offer, especially two weeks of planned vacation at a music festival and roaming Sicily on a yacht! Amidst all of this travel visits to fellow students met at partner universities, as well as other IMFSE students hometowns have been rife. The connections made throughout the IMFSE journey have been remarkable and are well and truly cherished. Thanks for the memories already IMFSE and catch you real soon in the coming academic year in Ghent and Lund.
My summer started with an internship in Basler and Hofmann in Zurich, Switzerland. I was working on the understanding capability to integrate fire-related software (Pyrosim, Pathfinder) with BIM software Revit. Meanwhile, I also started to play cricket in Switzerland. I had played cricket for over a decade, but I was lucky to play my first match in Switzerland at the most scenic ground in the world.
Last week of my stay in Zurich, my university colleague Miru who is doing his Ph.D. in Cambridge UK, visited me. We went to Lucerne and Mount Rigi which is breathtaking.(a tip for travelers to Switzerland: when you travel, always make good use of available student discounts 😀 )
After that my Chapter in Europe is over as a first-year IMFSE student. Long-awaited journey to home was next. On my way back, I took a small detour to see Burj Khalifa (No need to say the tallest building in the World) and to visit my old friend who is like an elder sister to me. Colorful night skyline in Dubai is just breathtaking and captivating. However, even being from a country near to equator Dubai temperature was very difficult to tolerate.
Finally, enjoying my holidays in beautiful home country Sri Lanka with greenery everywhere.
Over the summer I joined a new multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy as a principle fire engineer in Bristol, England. This gave me the opportunity to live in a new city and experience a whole different range of fire engineering projects. It’s interesting to see how project sizes, scope and communication changes depending on where you work. This proved to be particularly true where working with different approving authorities and fire services. Local political and cultural influences really do play such a critical influence on application of building standards even in the relatively homogeneous regulatory backdrop of the UK.
During this time I went to a number of interesting seminars and fire testing events at the UKs largest fire fighter training centre in Moreton-in Marsh. The facilities at this centre were particularly impressive with motorways, trains, plains, shopping centres and collapsed buildings all set up on site for the purpose of large incident training for fire fighters from all around the world. We were treated to some fire behaviour training, demonstrating backdraught in a small shipping container. The visit was all very reminiscent to the trip we had taken, as part of IMFSE, to MSB in Sweden, where the facilities serve a similar purpose.
Aside from the work-related events it was all in all a busy summer. Managing to make it to one of the world cup cricket games in Durham was made all the sweeter with England’s victory in the final against a challenging New Zealand team. Getting a chance to visit Italy for the first time was also a highlight with the architecture in Luca and Florence offering a stunning backdrop to the great weather we experienced there (much needed after the incremental bouts of rain England had yielded the weeks prior!).
During my summer holidays, I wanted to get some practical experience in Fire Safety Engineering. I received an opportunity to work as an intern at BRE Global for a duration of 2.5 months. To be in close proximity to work I decided to move to St Albans, that is approximately 20 min train ride away from London. As a BRE employee, I was able to experience different full-scale tests as well as intermediate-scale testing in their fire laboratory. I also got familiar with their current projects and get some experience using FDS and B-RISK.
Members of the fire team also spend some quality time together outside of work. In July a few colleagues visited amusement park for a day and in August we went together to Topgolf that is a simplified version of golf. Working in the field of study, getting some experience, networking, and team bonding activities seem to be a worthy spent time in summer break.
Many thanks to Danny, Chamith, Bobby, and Tanja for taking their time to share about their summer! ❤ ⭐