F. Crugnola - Enschede: an enriching experience!
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Fabio is studying Computer Engineering at the Department of Innovative Technologies (DTI) and is in his second year. During the spring semester 2021/2022, he did an exchange period in Enschede (Netherlands), at the Saxion University Of Applied Sciences.
How did the interest in a mobility period arise?
When we enrolled, they told us about the possibility of doing semesters at another institution. I have been travelling since I was 14 years old, and the opportunity to be able to do this while studying immediately seemed fantastic to me.
How did you go about organising it?
The International Office's range is varied and allows everyone to find a study programme of interest. The flexibility in the equivalence of courses also plays a very important role: it allowed me, together with my coordinator, to choose a really interesting solution that I would not have found staying in Lugano.
How was the impact of your mobility destination?
Enschede, on the Dutch-German border, has about 160,000 people. Everywhere it is possible to express oneself in English and bicycles are one of the most efficient ways of getting around.
There are many parks and a lot of nightlife, with clubs, discos and the inevitable pubs offering local beer. The small size of Holland allowed me to travel all over the country with ease. There are attractions for everyone, but you have to get used to the unpredictable weather and completely ignore the weather forecast (which I think never got one right during my entire stay).
Tell us about the university...
The Saxion Hogeschool is one of two university schools in Enschede: essential to the life of the city, they give it an international flavour.
The welcome given to foreign students was very warm despite the pandemic. I stayed in a giant international student complex, living together with 8 other students from Poland, Italy, South Africa, Oman and other countries: a central aspect of my experience that allowed me to develop a greater European and international awareness, as well as to improve my somewhat rusty English.
Saxion is similar to SUPSI, with a practice-oriented approach, albeit with substantial differences. A great deal of autonomy is left to the students: attendance is not compulsory and class hours are devoted exclusively to clarification with the lecturers and practice activities. I spent a lot of time in the well-equipped workshops that we carried out in small groups, and access to equipment and materials was very flexible, learning new things every day. The contact with the lecturers was very personal, even though I never got used to calling them by name as my Dutch colleagues did!
What will particularly impress you?
My exchange programme had a focus on 'Smart Embedded Systems'. I am extremely satisfied: at the end of the period, we were able to deliver a working and finished product. I had never had the opportunity to develop an electronic device from scratch, either in hardware or software!
I also greatly appreciated the welcome, the cultural exchange with the locals, etc. For their part, the lecturers greatly appreciated my preparation: for this I am grateful to SUPSI, which I represented with great pride.
Would you recommend this experience to others?
I strongly suggest it, especially to those who are seeking independence, want to build a different study programme and want to meet people from all corners of the world. You don't need to be brave, but you do need to be open-minded and always approach everything positively.