Sunday, December 02, 2012

UNITECH International Life #1

What happens after you've lived the international life? You return to your homeland, and get depressed and want to leave as soon as you can to go on your next adventure. You've had a life changing experience whilst abroad, made lots of friends and got to see lands that you most probably would not have if you did not participate in some sort of exchange programme. In my case, it was UNITECH, which Loughborough University joined in 2009. In the first year (2010/2011), there was only one student, from Wolfson School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, who loved it so much, that he graduated and decided to work at Hilti in Lichtenstein. That's one person who has converted to living the international life, for how long who knows?

In my year, which was the second year (2011/2012), there were three of us who made it through the rigorous application and interview process. We had a group based exercise, a presentation to prepare on the spot for a topic they have chosen and finally an individual interview by corporate partners. I was lost for words when I was told on the same day that I had made the final cut. I would be going abroad for a whole year to study at Chalmers in Gothenburg, Sweden.

I would have never bothered to take this opportunity if my personal tutor, Dr Roger Dixon, who was promoting the programme in my department, had convinced me to apply, after calling him a couple of days before the deadline to ask some questions. Therefore, I thank him for that. Also, I have to thank Jaguar Land Rover for giving me time off in such short notice, and also for allowing me to drop out of their sponsorship programme to participate in this pan-European programme.

Everyone asks me, why did I choose Sweden? I can tell you it was not because of the typical stereotypes that most people have heard, as I never knew about them. I applied because of the modules that I could do whilst studying there, which were related to renewable energy. However, I was told only a few weeks before arriving there that those modules were full up as my application arrived late, and also that I cannot do them as they are taught to chemical engineering students as it is part of their Masters programme, i.e. I do not have the pre-requisites to study those modules. Wow, I did not expect that. So then I picked embedded electronics modules, which are studied as part of a different Masters programme. In comparison, the same modules at Loughborough only have a few people studying them - I only found that out right now when I returned to Loughborough. I definitely enjoyed the way I studied them at Chalmers whereas I'm not sure I would have had the same experience at Loughborough. I'll never know...

Hopefully this gives an insight into the beginning of my international career and development and how it all worked out with UNITECH. There are a few posts detailing my time whilst in Sweden, and hopefully you will not have to wait another six months for the next chapter of my journey. Vi hörs!

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