A group of students from the University of Minnesota is currently staying at the ZHAW School of Engineering. The Global Mechatronics Seminar they attend is a specialized, concise course in mechatronics − complex systems, composed of mechanical components, computers, and sensors. In addition to that, their stay in Winterthur also offers them a chance to get to know Switzerland, its people and geography, as well as some unique ZHAW traditions like the Frackwoche – also known as Tail Coat Week.
«My name is Lukas Graser and I’m currently studying Aviation with a specialization in Operational Engineering at Zurich University of Applied Sciences. Besides being passionate about flying I always like to discover new, interesting kite spots at different places.I decided to do my exchange semester at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. Why Australia? I’ve never been Down Under and its Aviation education and industry are of great importance to the country with its vast territory. The distances inside Australia are enormous. A trip from Melbourne to Cairns stretches over 3’000 kilometers. Compared to Europe this would be a journey from Tallinn in Estonia to Neaples in Italy, crossing five countries.
With the broad spectrum of Aviation courses, Swinburne University was the perfect choice to study abroad. With 53’000 students, of which 8500 are international, Swinburne University educates a large number of students. This situation is very well reflected by the fact that Swinburne has its own trains station in the middle of the campus.
The courses I chose in my exchange semester focused on economic, financial, managerial and operational aspects of aviation. Combined with the previous learned, rather technical skills at ZHAW, this was a great opportunity to broaden my academic horizons. A study trip to the Qantas’ headquarters in Sydney at the end of the semester allowed me to gain unique insights in a major Australian Airline.»
«My name is Bassam Haithm and I am from Yemen. I came here from South Germany, where I was studying Bioprocess Engineering. My interests are to travel a lot and to learn more about different cultures from all around the World. I have chosen the ZHAW School of Engineering because what I heard about it. Switzerland is the most beautiful country in the world and it was a chance for me to get good experiences through the interesting projects the School provides.
The system here is similar to Germany, but also quite a bit different: At the School of Engineering more projects are connected to companies/industrial partners. It was a really good experience to have. In Winterthur, the students are friendly and helpful. The semester at ZHAW, in my opinion, was a good way to get to know new people from different parts of the world and to have fun with them. Academically, I learnt how to plan and run a project and how to create an idea and implement it to reality. My exchange semester in Mechanical Engineering was totally good, but also stressful. The support of the International Office and the professors was perfect.
There are some topics, like events – especially culture ones – and trips to visit some famous places in Switzerland, I was really missing through the exchange semester. The only events that we had was through the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and volunteering work from them. I hope that in the future the International Office will organize more events and trips for the exchange students. Finally, I would absolutely recommend to my colleagues to spend their exchange semester at the School of Engineering.»
«During the summer break, we – two energy and environment students studying in the 4th semester – had the opportunity to participate in the Wind Power summer school at the Aarhus University School of Engineering in Denmark. The course was supported and financed by Siemens and Vestas. It was located in Laugesens Have. Even though it was in the middle of nowhere, everything needed and more was there. In the rare spare time, you could spend your time on one of these things: Pool, sauna, football pitch, tennis court, bar, pool table, darts, a little cinema or ping pong table.
After the first day, we could decide if we wanted to attend either power or mechanical classes. We both chose power classes, because in our upcoming semesters, we will focus on electrical subjects. Surprisingly, the course was quite challenging from the very beginning, but it was feasible to learn. One half of the 48 students were international students, the other Danish. Beside the classes, we went to several places:
- Vestas & Siemens headquarter
- DTU Test site in Risø for large wind turbines
- School of Engineering Aarhus
- Energienet.dk where we had the chance to see the control room
During the second half of the course we worked on a case study in groups of six people for three days – and nights! The aim was to establish an own innovation for a new wind turbine. At the last night, all members of the group had to present that new innovation in front of everybody. At the last day, we had to take an exam, to pass the course. All students passed the exam.
Altogether, it was a lot to do, but we learnt a lot about Wind Power. Additionally, we met lots of new people and made new friends. We really recommend the summer school to engineering students with mechanical or electrical knowledge.»
Domenic Senn und Adrian Rupp
With eating a first burrito for breakfast we braced ourselves for the first presentation of the teams to representatives of Bühler. Tom Chase started today with a lecture about concept selection. After this lecture everyone seemed to be ready to present the Product Design Specifications to our customer Bühler before lunch. All the teams had really put a lot of effort into the presentations. Bob, the extruder technologist of Bühler, was impressed with our concepts. He could see high potential for many of our products we would like to design. If only there would be more time for us to realize all our ideas.
Right after lunch, we listened again to Toms lecture about modelling and estimation. This gave us some good inputs for the afternoon. We could finally start to work out various possible solutions for our given assignments.
While it’s raining in Zurich, we are glad to have very nice, warm weather here in Minneapolis. During the day we were working hard on the concept selection for the Bühler project. After the work was done, we had a chance to explore Minneapolis in the evening. A group of us students decided to go to Lake Calhoun in the center of Minneapolis and enjoy the warm weather by cooling down with a swim in the lake. After a nice dinner at a rooftop bar/restaurant in Downtown Minneapols, we went back to the Yudof Hall, our student housing, where we had some beers to conclude the evening.
On our second day we visited the branch of the Swiss Bühler company here in Plymouth, Minnesota, which is our industry partner for the project design seminar.The visit to see one of the twin-screw extruders for food production, like pasta, snacks, biscuits etc. at the site was very helpful to understand the structure and functions for the product design. After the visit the coach brought us back to the University of Minnesota, where we had the first lectures in Product Development by Prof. Tom Chase. After the lectures a whole group of us went to Chipotle, a Mexican restaurant, which Adam Pagel, the coordinator here in Minnesota, had suggested to us for dinner. On the way to Chipotle, we passed our ZHAW coordinators Dejan and Armin eating in another restaurant, which resulted in a fun group photo. We are enjoying the campus and the atmosphere very much, here at the University of Minnesota.
I’m pleased to open our blog about the ZHAW Summer Seminar 2016 at the University of Minnesota. On our first day here we were introduced both to the campus life and to our project task, the Bühler Challenge. For Swiss students life on a typical American campus is so new and different to what we know from studying back home and we are really excited to experience the “Campus Feeling”. We are surprised about the huge size of the campus as well as we are about the many possibilities for recreational activities.
Even though during summer time many students are on vacation and the campus is not very crowded, there is still much going on here. Many restaurants are open and we could choose from a big variety to eat lunch and get energized for the visit of the Medical Devices Research Center in the afternoon. Fascinating about the Medical Devices Center is that there are several possibilities for students and researchers to build prototypes on 3D printers, laser cutters or using an electronics assembly workspace. After a team workshop on our project task, we were invited to a very warm and lovely welcoming dinner to the TCF Bank Stadium. The first day ended with a tour to «Dinkytown». This is the place near the campus where students meet in the evening to have a beer or eat in a fancy restaurant.
Jonas Heitz, who is currently doing his Bachelor’s thesis on query processing of NoSQL databases with Kurt Stockinger and Richard Bödi, was accepted for an internship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This lab is located right across San Francisco and is home to 13 Nobel laureates. Jonas will be able to work with world-class researchers of the Scientific Data Management Research Group to tackle Big Data problems.
Mit der Universität Windesheim in Zwolle unterhält die ZHAW School of Engineering eine enge Beziehung. Studierende können in den Niederlanden ein einfaches Austauschsemester verbringen oder – indem sie ihre Bachelorarbeit dort schreiben – einen schweizerisch-niederländischen Doppelabschluss erwerben.
«Ich würde jedem, der gerne ein Auslandssemester in einem anderen Land machen möchte, Zwolle und die Windesheim University of Applied Sciences sehr empfehlen»
Raphael Schurtenberger, Schweizer Austauschstudent in Zwolle
«Mein Auslandssemester war für mich eine Bereicherung, sowohl in akademischer als auch persönlicher Hinsicht», sagt Raphael Schurtenberger. Der angehende Wirtschaftsingenieur hat das vergangene Semester an der Universität Windesheim im niederländischen Zwolle verbracht und ist begeistert von seinem Aufenthalt: Der Austausch mit Studierenden aus der ganzen Welt, der spannende, anwendungsorientierte Unterricht und die erstklassigen Sportmöglichkeiten auf dem Campus sind ihm in besonders guter Erinnerung geblieben. «Ich würde jedem, der gerne ein Auslandssemester in einem anderen Land machen möchte, Zwolle und die Windesheim University of Applied Sciences sehr empfehlen», sagt er, wieder zurück in Winterthur.
Raphael Schurtenberger hat sich für ein einfaches Austauschsemester entschieden. Studierende des Studiengangs Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen haben darüber hinaus auch die Möglichkeit, ihre Bachelorarbeit an der Universität Windesheim zu schreiben. Das hat verschiedene Vorteile, wie Studiengangleiter Richard Bödi erklärt: «Die Studierenden aus Winterthur verbringen ein Jahr in Zwolle: ihr letztes Semester und ein zusätzliches siebtes Semester. Während des ganzen Jahres können sie sich der Bachelorarbeit widmen.» Das Zusatzsemester bedeute natürlich einen Zusatzaufwand – der allerdings belohnt werde. «Die Studentinnen und Studenten haben anschliessend einen schweizerischen und einen niederländischen Hochschulabschluss. So können sie ihr Studium nicht nur in der Schweiz, sondern auch im Ausland problemlos weiterführen», so Richard Bödi.
Aktuell und anwendungsorientiert
Windesheim ist mit über 20‘000 Studierenden eine der grössten Hochschulen für Angewandte Wissenschaften der Niederlande. Studiengangleiter und Student sind sich einig, dass die mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Grundlagen, die an der ZHAW School of Engineering vermittelt werden, mehr als ausreichend sind, um das dortige Studium zu meistern. «Die Anforderungen und der zeitliche Aufwand sind in Zwolle tiefer als in Winterthur», sagt Raphael Schurtenberger. Die Uni Windesheim trumpft mit anderen Angeboten:
Internationale Partnerschaften als Strategie
Die Zusammenarbeit mit Windesheim ist bei weitem nicht die einzige Hochschulpartnerschaft der School of Engineering. Internationalisierung gehört denn auch zu den wichtigen strategischen Stossrichtungen des technischen Departements und der ZHAW insgesamt. Die School of Engineering baut derzeit ihre strategischen Partnerschaften mit internationalen Hochschulen aus. Diese Partnerschaften beinhalten neben der Möglichkeit des Studierendenaustauschs auf Bachelor-Level auch Auslandsaufenthalte oder ein Double-Degree-Abkommen auf Master-Stufe sowie Forschungskooperationen