Wednesday, February 05, 2014

UAA 'On Tour' at ZF in Nottingham

On Thursday 23rd January 2014, 5 UNITECH students participated in a tour held at the ZF Services facility in Nottingham. This is part of their aftermarket organisation supporting ZF products and brands in the UK.

Our day started off at 10:00, where we started looking at their processes of ensuring they have a skilled workforce who can cover various aspects that ZF Services deal with. We looked at car gearboxes, military gearboxes, marine gearboxes and commercial gearboxes in one part of their facility. There are a lot of processes that need to happen to ensure there is accountability throughout, in case there is a failure or warranty claim. This helps the mechanic/technician who might be attempting to diagnose a fault half way across the world to go step and step to work out where the fault may lie.

Throughout the day, we had the opportunity to ask lots of questions in order to understand more about how everything works. The next part of their facility contained more stations to work on their car products and we then moved onto their dedicated rail facility. This has just been expanded with additional cranes so they can take on more work, with the ever increasing rail industry. The size and weight of these products are phenomenal! We then moved onto their third facility which works on an upcoming market, wind turbines. This section is quite special as it's logistical process works quite differently to the other sections.

Finally, we looked at the car steering wheel section, where the customer works in conjunction and has a dedicated area to meet their needs within the ZF facility. This was the final stage of the tour, which we completed with questions at 12:30.

Overall, this gave us an insight into a company which mainly deals with B2B (which most people overlook as they cannot find any way of associating with them) and has a lot to offer their employees and potential engineers who are interested in working for them.

Picture taken: ZF Facilities, Thursday 23rd January 2014
Rudy Birkner (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Abdi Hussein (Loughborough University, UK), Huzaifa Essajee (UAA LCC) and Florian Scheidegger (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Picture taken: ZF Facilities, Thursday 23rd January 2014
Abdi Hussein (Loughborough University, UK),
Huzaifa Essajee (UAA LCC), Florian Scheidegger (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Stina Klingvall (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden) and Rudy Birkner (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Picture taken: ZF Facilities, Thursday 23rd January 2014
John Bland (Head of Production, ZF Services UK Ltd),
Huzaifa Essajee (UAA LCC), Florian Scheidegger (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Stina Klingvall (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden) and Rudy Birkner (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Vegan Flapjacks!

Happy New Year 2014!

On the last day of term, Friday 13 December 2013, I decided that I needed to do something out of the ordinary. So I started baking vegan flapjacks. The last time I had done this was about two years ago, when I was leaving my internship/placement at Jaguar Land Rover. I worked in the audio section of Infotainment, and our team had decided that we'd all try and bake something and bring it in to share with others. The first time I tried this was when I decided to try and be vegan for one week, which I successfully managed during my first year of university in 2008.

So, without further ado, here's the recipe:

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 25 mins

  • 250g soya margarine
  • 5 tbsp golden syrup
  • 5 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 250g oats
  • 1 tbsp cranberries
  • 4 apricots
  • 1 tbsp sultanas
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  1. Melt soya margarine in a saucepan at low heat.
  2. Mix in golden syrup and light brown sugar until melted.
  3. Chop the apricots into small, fine chunks.
  4. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5/190ºC, preparing a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  5. Add in the oats, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add in all fruits and seeds (cranberries, apricots, sultanas, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds) and mix thoroughly.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the baking tray, spreading evenly.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Remove and cut the number of pieces according to your choice.
  10. Once cooled down, they can be stored in an airtight container, ready to enjoy!
Baked on Friday 13 December 2013.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to share them below via the comments section. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Second year as UAA LCC UK - 2013/2014

After the UNITECH International (UTI) and UNITECH Alumni Association (UAA) General Assembly that took place in Milan, Italy during the first week of September 2013, I was ready to come back and work with Dave Jenner on running the UAA Local UNITECH Chapter (LUC) UK. This will be the second year that the LUC is running and active in the UK, since Loughborough joined the UTI programme in 2010.

As Caterpillar has joined the UNITECH programme in the UK (being approved at the UTI GA), I promoted their first campus wide recruitment event to the incoming UNITECH students, which took place on Tuesday 8th October 2013. All students had a chance to go on one of their diggers which Caterpillar had brought onto campus and operate it!

Next, for our first UAA event, we welcomed the incoming UNITECH 2013/2014 students by organising a welcome dinner at The Moon & Bell in town, on Sunday 20th October 2013. I chose this location as I hoped it would give the UNITECHers a chance to eat some typical "British" food. Four out of the five incoming students could make it to this event. We started at around 7:30pm (19:30) and enjoyed our dinner, talking about life and culture, comparing it to the various countries everyone was from. It's such a nice feeling to talk about our previous experiences in Germany and Sweden. 

Picture taken: The Moon and Bell, Sunday 20th October 2013 
Huzaifa Essajee (UAA LCC), Rudy Birkner (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Daniele Simone (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Stina Klingvall (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden) and Florian Scheidegger (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Picture taken: The Moon and Bell, Sunday 20th October 2013
 David Jenner (UAA LCC), Rudy Birkner (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Daniele Simone (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Stina Klingvall (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden) and Florian Scheidegger (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Later on in the evening, Abdi joined us after just flying back from his UNITECH internship with ZF which took place in Germany and Czech Republic! Just shows the UNITECH spirit and enthusiasm among all the UNITECH participants. It was great to catch up with him as well, since we were from the UNITECH 2011/2012 year group (Abdi, Dave and I). We could spend ages talking and enjoying life, however, with the next day being a Monday, we decided to go home around 10:30pm (22:30).

On Thursday 23rd October 2013, Dr. Ashraf El-Hamalawi (UNITECH Programme Director at Loughborough) held his first promotion session for exchange programmes in the Civil and Building Engineering department. Three of the UNITECH students, Miquel (from UPC Barcelona), Rudy and Stina along with myself, promoted the UNITECH programme. It was really good for all of us to be present, as I gave general information on the UNITECH programme and the UAA, whereas the others gave some detailed information regarding the activities that occur throughout. Consequently, I have been informed that a lot of interest has been shown in the programme and hopefully we will see an increase in applications for UNITECH year 2014/2015. Aiming for more than 7 applications this year!

P.S. Anyone looking for UNITECH internships with Caterpillar? You'll be based in the UK. Log onto the UNITECH database, go to Company profiles, then click on Caterpillar where you will find the UNITECH contact and details. However, don't delay your speculative applications!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Project due in 20 days... Äh, ryck upp dig!

"Le riktigt stort. Som om du var jätteglad.

Fortsätt le ett tag innan du läser vidare...sådärja, nu kan du slappna av. 

Le sådär stort igen. Och håll kvar leendet, precis som du gjorde nyss...och slappna av. 

Le igen och håll kvar leendet en liten stund...sådär, slappna av. 

Enligt forskarna har dina just utförda "smilövningar" startat en kemisk process i din kropp! Din påhittade glädje har gjort att det just nu utsöndras alldeles äkta lyckoimpulser i dig...

Snart kommer du känna dig glad på riktigt!"

You are wondering, why is this post in Swedish?

Well, possibly my roommates from Ostkupan will remember. There was a strange, yellow postcard on the back of our door when we entered our corridor. My room was in front of this and so I would see it every time I left my room to go anywhere. However, my Swedish was not up to scratch yet I was interested in what was written, so I typed it all up and saved it somewhere, and I just happen to come across it.

Unfortunately, my Swedish is still not good enough to translate it myself yet, so if you are interested, check it out in your favourite translator. (Maybe a Swedish speaker will translate it for me into English so I can put it up?)


Saturday, April 06, 2013

Project due in 30 days, graduation in 100 days!

Life throws all sorts of challenges at you when you least expect it. What do you do? Crash and burn or succeed and prosper? Possibly its a combination of the two?

After doing an internship for a year between June 2010 - July 2011, returning to education in another country where I've never been before (Sweden) between August 2011 - June 2012 was a challenge. Lots of educational content to remember from the first two years of my degree plus studying masters modules during the third year of my bachelor was some mission, but I pulled through with support from my new friends abroad - thank you everyone! However, it was not easy doing two modules within 7 weeks and then exams the week after, getting engaged in another culture and dare I say it, falling in love and eventually being heartbroken (possibly rejected is the right word here - we were not meant to be) I can say for sure that I gained a lot of experiences and had the time of my life out there. I cannot remember university ever being this fun!

The international journey did not end yet as I had to move to Germany for a three month internship between July 2012 - October 2012. Working in electronics and doing something hands on was completely different from the type of work I had done before in my previous internship. This really demanded a lot of brain power, and in my opinion was hardcore R&D work, but really worthwhile. I also enjoyed watching a German Bundesliga football match with BVB vs. Bayer Leverkusen with my friend Sven, who I met in Sweden during my first semester there. There are so many things I did outside Germany whilst being based there, for example interrailing to Paris via Netherlands and Belgium, and carpooling across Germany to Poland to meet up with Piotr and Shicong to travel around the southern half of Poland, crossing into Slovakia for a couple of hours as well. 

When it was time to return to the UK, I think I needed a break rather than going back into studies straight away. However, the only break I had was coming home to my new house that my parents moved to whilst I was abroad, and sleeping there, before I had to start packing again to move up to Loughborough. I think I was burned out by this time and did not realise it. This eventually started to show, as I lost motivation for studying and was ready to pack it all in, however did not fully realise that this could be the problem. The only thing that kept me there I think was studying French as part of my degree and the desire to achieve first class in the back of my head. Nevertheless, this barely pulled me through the first semester with the environment in the house I was sharing not conducive for high levels of productivity. Therefore, I moved house at the end of the semester.

Things slowly started to get better here as I could get some decent amount of sleep and do some work. This did not last long though, as a week before end of term, my one time experience was not enough thus falling in love again, but made the wrong move and screwed up. 'Education through extracurricular activities' takes up a lot of your time without you realising it. As a result, I'm sorry for all the times I've screwed up and hurt anyone in my life, yet pleased for those people who told me the error of my ways and thankful for the support and ideas I got on how I can go about trying to become a better person.

Now, I'm sorry for not living up to my expectations, but thank you to all my friends for being part of my life and crafting me into the person I am with the various experiences that we gained together. To end this blog entry and possible last post before exams, I have one request. I'll be pleased to see your messages/posts of encouragement to do what I can to complete my degree, but hopefully my synapses will have kicked into place when I wake up tomorrow morning. Ready to tackle what's left of this degree and give electronic and electrical engineers the justice they deserve so I can continue on fighting injustice around the world.

Since my blog posts relate to some experience I've gained with others, I will try and connect it with them. Therefore, I'm dedicating this post to Orla O'Brien, who reminded me of these three key phrases whilst I was abroad in Sweden that will help in many situations: sorry, please, thank you.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

UAA Assessment Centre Social Event (ACSE) 2013

My initial plan was to post this within a week after the event, but final year of university and other projects kept me really busy.

Dave Jenner organised the ACSE for the evening of Tuesday 12th February 2013 from beginning to end, with some ideas and input from myself. With our budget of 125 € (roughly £100), we had finger food to serve us all at Browns Lane Bar & Restaurant, based near the town centre of Loughborough. From what we had learnt throughout the UNITECH year, we made sure that we turned up before 19:00 to make sure everything ran smoothly. 

It was great to have Abdi come down and join us, giving us a chance for a mini-reunion - UNITECH 2011/12 UK trio. We were joined by Gaia and Jessica, the 2nd semester incoming UNITECH students of 2012/13. So far, they had enjoyed their time at Loughborough and were getting involved with the Loughborough Student Experience. Shortly after our discussion, David Ward and 3 of the 4 assessors turned up and the evening then started.

We were served a selection of finger food which included a vegetarian option along with healthy salads. There was plenty of food for the nine of us, and we enjoyed a hearty discussion throughout the evening as though we had known each other for a long time. This evening provided a great networking opportunity for all of us and re-ignited the UNITECH spirit. 

On the day of the assessment centre, we had 6 students who made it through to the final stage. It was a good feeling when Dave and I found out that all of them were successful for getting onto the UNITECH programme 2013/14. Slowly but surely, students are learning that there is one thing you should do whilst at Loughborough - apply for the UNITECH programme.

Picture taken: Browns Lane Bar & Restaurant, Tuesday 12th February 2013
Rana Yavari (Schott, Germany) and Gaia Rossetti (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)

Picture taken: Browns Lane Bar & Restaurant, Tuesday 12th February 2013
Kirsten Duerr Udvari (Hilti, GB), David Jenner and Huzaifa Essajee (UAA LCCs)

Picture taken: Browns Lane Bar & Restaurant, Tuesday 12th February 2013
David Ward (General Secretary, UNITECH International) and Abdi Hussein (Loughborough University, UK)

Picture taken: Browns Lane Bar & Restaurant, Tuesday 12th February 2013
Daniel K. Berndt (Evonik, Germany) and Jessica Mills (TU Delft, Netherlands)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Welcome to UNITECH, I'm your UAA LCC...

After being voted in for the role of UNITECH Alumni Association Local Chapter Coordinator (UAA LOC) at the UAA General Assembly held in the early afternoon of Friday 17th August 2012, I can finally say that I've successfully run my first event. With a turnout of 10 students to our social on Monday 21st January 2013 at 18:00 (straight after exams for some!) it seems that Loughborough is slowly heading in the right direction with internationalising our students. A small database glitch meant that current UNITECH students did not receive my emails inviting them to events earlier on in the year. However, with the upcoming new website and database, this should hopefully be resolved. 

We had three current incoming UNITECH students who were here for their first exchange semester, along with five potential applicants (out of the seven that applied) turn up who may make it through to the assessment centre on Wednesday 13th February 2013. This event was supported by my colleague David Jenner, also an UAA LOC for Loughborough. This provided a great atmosphere for the potential applicants to learn more about the assessment centre, along with hints and tips on their potential host universities and how to make the most out of their exchange. Although the event was only planned for an hour, we had a great initial discussion for an hour and a half before everyone left to study for other exams. However, the incoming students and I stayed on for another hour after discussing cultural differences in the UK versus their home countries - Germany and Switzerland. This gave us an insight into how we perceive each others culture alongside our own opinions of our culture and that it all depends on the scope provided to each person in their country. Interested in wanting to know more about the scope? Then get in touch and we'll invite you to our next social - you don't have to be part of UNITECH to learn what we do. :)

Picture taken: Loughborough Students Union, Monday 21st January 2013
Top Row: David Jenner (UAA LOC)
Second Row: Till Richter (ETH, Switzerland), Timothy Oastler (Chem Eng, Loughborough)
Third Row: Lewis Johnston (Mech Eng, Loughborough), Riyaz Ismail
 (Mech Eng, Loughborough), Mohammad Ayub (RWTH Aachen, Germany)
Bottom Row: Pascal Waldvogel (ETH, Switzerland), Samuel Nunn (Chem Eng, Loughborough), Huzaifa Essajee (UAA LOC), Riccardo Bertorelli (Chem Eng, Loughborough)