Hillary Mutungi is currently pursuing his Masters studies at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Before coming to Sweden, Hillary worked for fbwgroup, one of the European Engineering Consulting firm with bases in UK, Netherlands, and Africa. This week I had an interview with him at Campus to find out why he decided to come to Sweden and particularly Chalmers for his Master’s studies. I also had a chance to ask him his experiences since arriving at Chalmers and his memorable moments so far at the University. Below is what he told me.
Introduce yourself and what are you studying at Chalmers?
My name is Hillary Mutungi from Uganda. I am 27 years old and currently studying a master’s programme in Structural Engineering and Building Technology at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Football is one of my hobbies.
Of all places, what was your key formula for choosing Sweden and particularly Chalmers?
Sweden has a lot of reputation for its contribution to the world’s technology and research, and this caught my attention first. I also admired the confidence with which my colleagues spoke about Sweden’s education system. Of all Universities in Europe, Chalmers’ well-assembled programme schedule and content attracted me most. I couldn’t help but chose it over the others. I admit that it was never about the eventual city of Gothenburg that most of my colleagues keep praising. It was all about my education and life at Chalmers University; it’s programme content and how well I believe the University suited my future ambitions.
Now that you are here, do you feel you made the right choice coming to Chalmers?
I feel more excited and satisfied at Chalmers. The program is offering me more than what I expected, and I feel each day at Chalmers is a fresh spark in my future. A student-friendly school, with every aspect designed to enhance learning and making friends, all in one.
What has been your best moment since arriving here?
My best moment so far at Chalmers is when the undergraduate students from the Architecture, Civil and Environmental Departments presented their bridge competition. The young ambitious students challenged my guts with their creativity and precision. That day, I remember saying to myself, I am proud to be at Chalmers.
What is your next plan after studies at Chalmers?
I plan to pursue a Ph.D. relevant to structural engineering. I also hope to play a pivotal role in my country’s developmental goals especially in the engineering sector, as God continues to fan the flames of my ambitions. The Swedish Institute has made it all possible for me to study comfortably at Chalmers, and forever I will be grateful.
If you were to meet someone planning to come and study at Chalmers, what would be your winning message to the candidate?
My message to anyone looking for a technological university to belong to should come to Chalmers. There is everything that suits your academic needs, and everything to compliment your learning no matter what program you choose to pursue
It was another venture as we chose to take our networking programme to another angle. This time I and a few colleagues decided to add to our list one of the largest and oldest organisation in the world. Our destination this time was to the United Nations Office at Geneva. Our journey started on Monday March 23rd, 2015 with a bus trip to Copenhagen followed by a two-hour flight to Switzerland. We were sixteen in number blended with students from other parts of Sweden. We had to rest on the arrival day Monday. Tuesday, our first meeting kicked off with the Senior Legal Adviser, and United Nation Representative of the International Commission of Jurists.The discussions and questions featured United Nations programme on economic, social, cultural, and business rights. Our discussion also highlighted human rights issues in parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia. In the afternoon, we join the human rights session at Palais Wilson where we attended the 113th session of human rights council. The session was on Human right in Monaco. At 17:00 we decided to embark on the pre-planned networking events with law students from the Geneva Academy.
The next day, Wednesday morning we proceeded with a meeting at the UN offices with the President of Geneva for Human Rights Adrien-Claude Zoller, who is also in charge of Global Training. The meeting started at 9:00 -12:00 focusing on global politics and human rights. We then progressed in the afternoon to the Human Rights House Foundation where we discussed current global security, human rights, and the current political situation in Europe. It was a unique day as we tested our brains on global politics, world leadership, and current affairs.
On Thursday, we decided to have a general tour at United Nations offices. The tour started at 10:00am and lasted for one hour. Later we went to the association for the prevention of torture who were waiting for us. Our discussion with them featured torture prevention in society and various mitigation strategies.One discussant was a Swedish who was excited to see students from her country.
Friday morning was our returned date and by 9:00 we were already at Geneva airport ready for our flight back to Sweden via Copenhagen. It was an interesting experience blending human rights, global politics, law, engineering and above all creating a global network.
More photos from the trip
It’s close to two years since she made her journey from India to Sweden for her studies at Chalmers University of Technology. Poornima Joshi is now in her final semester pursuing a Master’s Programme in Software Engineering. She is always actively involved in a number of events besides her busy class schedules at the University. This week I had an opportunity for a one-on-one interview with her to find out more about her reflections at Chalmers and her next plans. This is what she told me.
Introduce yourself and what are you studying at Chalmers?
My name is Poornima Joshi. I come from Bangalore, an IT city in India, and I am studying Software Engineering Master’s Programme.
Why did you choose to come for studies in Sweden and Chalmers, in particular?
Typically, an IT student’s dream is to go to Silicon Valley, California. But I chose to come to Chalmers when I met an interesting Swedish lady, a representative of Chalmers in Bangalore. She told me that in Sweden people always follow their heart and give themselves chances. And Chalmers University of Technology was the chance given to me. I followed my passion to study exactly what I was looking for in the Software Engineering Master’s Programme. And of course Volvo, a Swedish company having a strong base in India was a big part of it too.
You have three months to complete your Master’s studies, what are your next plans after Chalmers?
I plan to look for a challenging job that suits my profile and passion. I believe it will open me to the beautiful world of flat structures and its brilliant contributions to science and technology.
Could you please tell us a few of your memorable experiences at Chalmers?
The student union and course structure is the most influential part of my studies. The course is designed in a shockingly surprising structure where the class projects and assignments including open exams and presentations ensure that every student in the class becomes a master of the subject. And the student union just complements the course work bringing out the best in every student.
Any experience from student events?
I had been the Vice President for Public Relations on the Board of European Students of Technology at Chalmers. It is an association that exists under the student union to collaborate and learn to work in an international environment. Well, the most interesting thing I had to deal with; in my mandate was to build a strategy for sustainability keeping in mind the future of the association on a long term basis. At my age and experience, it seemed like a herculean task. However, it was a great learning experience. I also learned to deal with fluctuations of peoples’ motivations and commitments as I fought with them myself. It was a truly multicultural international environment with more than ten nationalities. We had to bridge a gap between them all to achieve a common goal.
What advice would you give to candidates who are considering coming to study at Chalmers?
A typical thing that every student would do before coming to any university is to check ranking. But trust me – once you’re at Chalmers it doesn’t matter. What if there exist high ranks universities? You would already be in a top class education. Chalmers does not just give you a degree – it gives you an education! A lifetime experience!
I mentioned this trip a few weeks back on one of my blogs. The past week we had a trip to one of the famous Scandinavian Alps, Hemsedal in Norway. The journey was organized by Chalmers Alternative Sports as one of their yearly programs. A total of 129 Chalmers students participated in this exciting four-day skiing excursion.Two buses were secured for the journey, and all were filled up. We left Gothenburg on Thursday December 4th, 2014 at 15:45 and by 19:00 we were already at the border between Sweden and Norway. We stopped for one hour and had some snacks at McDonald’s before proceeding via Oslo and reached Hemsedal at 22:10. Everyone appeared tired that evening; we collected our ski pass from our guide, and we all descended to our respective booked apartments.
Early morning next day we had breakfast and proceeded to pick our ski gears from a nearby store before joining the rest of the students in Skiing. The sky was overcast and blended with snow all over the area. Those who had not skied before had to do some practice in designated sections. It was a fun day skiing up the mountains; the placed was filled with tourists from other destination as well. By evening, we were all tired and had to get back to our apartments.
Next morning Saturday; we had some glimpse of sunshine over the area for a few minutes then disappeared. The sun shines though little managed to blow up the sky giving us a refreshing beauty of the mountains. The area was splendid, and skiing was marvelous. Saturday was also an exhibition day for the ski suppliers who were showcasing their ski gears, and this made the place so busy and much fun. On Sunday, which was our last day, my friends and I decided to abandon skiing, and we went hiking up the mountains. It was snowing, and we used the cable car to go to heights where we couldn’t reach quickly. Along our way, we got one restaurant up the mountain that had a beautiful view of the area, and we decided to each have some coffee before proceeding. At 14:30 we were back down the mountains ready to board the bus. We left Hemsedal at 15:00 on Sunday December 7th,2014. While, on our way back, there was silence as many of the tired students kept napping. By 22:00, we were already back in Gothenburg. Below are some of the photos from the journey.
Text: Ben Photo: Hillary
Have you ever been in a discussion where people have a dream of studying in some particular universities? Assume they manage to join their preferred universities, will it have an impact on them after completion? If two people with the same ambition and interest go to two different universities say X and the other to Y; after completion will they still come out the same? Perhaps the answer is no, and what could be the reason behind the difference? We all know that the latest trend of university education is not just being confined in class and completing courses; but also hands-on social and professional experiences that students gain while still at university.
If you need such examples of university experiences, then consider not further than Chalmers Formula Student. Each year students from the Mechanical department at Chalmers University of Technology get involve in the production of a racing car. The group consists of around 30 students from a diverse background, each in teams working towards delivering an incredible formula racing car. I had the opportunity to attend one of the 2015 team meetings last Wednesday, and it was fantastic being together with these focused, dedicated, and talented future engineers. They are currently busy working round the clock to deliver the CFS15, 2015 car for the competition in UK and Germany next July.
The CFS15, 2015 car project appears to be progressing well, with the first Mid-Design presentation already set for Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at Chalmers University of Technology. A number of guests are expected to show up from within and outside the university including companies. Most of us enjoy cars on a daily basis, but producing a car isn’t just a matter of interest but much dedication and teamwork. These brilliant students spend some of their leisure time going through the project lifecycle to deliver this car.
In 2012, CFS12 team emerged best overall in a competition that was held at Silverstone in UK. While in 2013 and 2014 there was a slip upwards as the team claimed fourth and third overall positions respectively in Germany.
The CFS15 team is not only facing the challenge of delivering their first electric car, but also having a task to defend their previous positions come July 2015. However with each student standing along the production line covering all stages of learning these students are determined to hope for better results against all odds despite the challenges lying ahead of them.
Video from the last two laps during the 2014 competition
Text: Ben Owilli Oyunu
Photo: Chalmers Formula Student
Just from the summer vacation, it seems preparing for another holiday trip sounds funny! This is what excites me while at Chalmers. I like holiday so much, especially those blended with sports. This year again Chalmers Alternative Sports have organised their annual trip to the famous Scandinavian alps Hemsedal, and my friends and I have been warming up for the past three weeks for this. I have never put my footsteps outside Gothenburg since this semester began, but this trip is pulling me off.We had a plan of going to another city called Malmo, last week, but our host who was to guide us had some commitment, and we had to council the trip. Now that this year’s Hemsedal trip has been scheduled for December 4th-7th, 2014, I have decided to relax and wait for this day. We have already secured our tickets and now preparing for the day.
I am not going to tell you how this journey looks like, but last year’s photos below should be in a position to give you the whole picture on what students enjoy at this Scandinavian ski centre.
More from Chalmers Alternative sports
Text: Ben O.O
Photo: Chalmers Alternative Sports
This week marks the end of my Autumn study period at Chalmers. I need now more eight weeks of studies before hitting the last exams followed by Master’s Thesis. Unless I decide to do another Master’s degree at Chalmers, I will be heading out as a ”Chalmerists!”
The time has passed so fast, and I can’t believe that I am already heading to the end of my Master’s journey. Perhaps because every bit of time has been full of new, beautiful things! At the same time, I have started gathering wonderful memories from past events when I arrived here. It’s a lot; my monthly photo folder makes me smile with beautiful memories. The people, environment and professors are all awesome, and I have started generating internal memories even before I have reached the end. I see my last days just drawing nearby, and I keep thinking what next! I think I have had enough and enjoyed Sweden. However, on the other hand, I feel that there are still more beautiful things to get done with, and I wonder if I will ever complete them! It appears that everything is infinite. Last week my classmates and I talked about my trip here, after answering them I also told them how they integrated me into their environment, how I first perceived them and how I feel now. Much as I think that I have been enjoying a lot, my friends have generated new things to me again. I feel that I have lots of tight adventurer schedules ahead of me, and this means a lot of exciting blogs ahead! Talk of things like the northern lights, beautiful snow, the list is endless!
This month I had a chance to experience one of the Swedish traditions called Mösspåtagning, which is always celebrated every year in May and October. It was Wednesday 1st, October and we were at the student union building having lunch.My friend and I saw a large number of students gathered in front of the union building while others were standing with white and black attires. As soon as we finished eating, we decided to rush outside and join them in enjoying the event.
There were speeches and performance. From the people we asked, we were told that the event is a tradition at Chalmers. Its always done when changing the colour of the hat from white to black in the winter and a similar performance for May is for black to white.Unfortunately, our time was cut short as we were rushing to play tennis, however the celebrations continued and a number of students were piling up as we were leaving.I wondered how I missed the one of May, but this was quiet an interesting Swedish celebration.
Text: Ben O.O
Photo: Ben O.O
One inquisitiveness in my undergraduate studies was that I wanted to complete my Master’s degree before getting done with my undergraduate. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and there was too much dangling. I can’t tell you more about it because it’s too boring. In brief, my undergraduate degree was civil engineering and during those academic days, I would always move around telling friends how I am going to build great things once I get done with it. After completion, I was shocked to find out that I was still too far from what I have been talking. Of course, I couldn’t do it with my undergraduate studies and besides I needed more experience in the field. I told you this was boring!
Now just a year into my master’s studies, everything is turning to reality. Since the beginning of this semester, we have been involved in designing a bridge over Gota Alv River in Gothenburg. The bridge design which is part of the class project and a prerequisite for passing one of my courses will be connecting the two parts of Gothenburg city located on both sides of the river. The design condition is that the bridge should fit within a given program and context and it should be openable to allow big ships to pass through, the overall span of the bridge is 0.4Km long. We have seven groups in class and each group come up with seven bridge concepts basing on the program. The first seven concepts were presented three weeks back. The presentation took place in front of a jury and students at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The second presentation that included refining the initial seven ideas and coming up with the best three were presented last Wednesday October 8th, 2014 together with each bridge model. Now the final presentation will be held on Wednesday October 29th, 2014 from 08:00 to 15.00. Each group is required to refine their design and come up with one of the best and reasons as to why they feel it’s the winning bridge. There will also be showcasing of the final bridge models on that day. With all this reality starting to show up at this last moment of my graduate studies, a totally new mood is showing up in my life.
Some of the photos from the second presentation
Some of the bridge concepts that made it to the second stage with spectacular opening mechanisms for bigger ships to pass through.
Students during their first site visit at the river
It took me about six weeks to accept my place for accommodation when I was planning to move for studies in Sweden a year ago and I nearly lost my accommodation chance due to this delay. I was looking for a place with easy access to both the University and City centre. It was something not easy since it was my first time heading to Sweden. Well, having spent already close to a year at Chalmers, I believe all those were lack of knowledge about Gothenburg city. Chalmers University can be accessed from various parts of the city quickly and Gothenburg is a planned city with efficient transport system. You can move from one side of the city to another within minutes using any means be it by bus, tram or bike. The transport infrastructure is well designed and your location at any part of the city doesn’t matter. Whether you study at Campus Johanneberg or Campus Lindholmen, you can still access these two campuses in an efficient way. I live at Chalmers Student bostader where I have an apartment consisting of a living room/bedroom, kitchen area, bathroom and toilet all in a compact space of 18 square metres. And for all of these including, internet, electricity, heat and hot water, I only pay 3200SEK (approximately: 483 Dollars) per month.
One thing I like with my apartment is its beautiful view, I have a big window that faces the compound and the forested area behind my building. I am on the sixth floor and nothing excites me like an early morning sun rays that hit my room through the window.
Within the area, we also have a Swimming pool, Sauna, a pub and TV room. It’s a great place to live in and I like it. The place is so calm and peaceful, a great reflection of the entire Gothenburg area
In front of the apartment is a beautiful compound ideal for outdoor parties and sand bathing. A number of people use it for most outdoor events. Ideal parking place for bicycles and cars will not also miss from this area.
I study Masters Programme In Structural Engineering and Building technology and I have most of my courses at campus Johanneberg and it’s barely 10 minutes away from where I stay. A typical trip to my apartment is in the video. The first one will be from the library at campus Johanneberg through the main road while the second one is from my department through the beautiful forested area. It’s already holidays here and please join me in the journey
Oh and that’s not all. I also live very close to the city centre. Brunnsparken is the busiest place in town and I only take about 12 minutes to get there. The population in Gothenburg is only 600,000 and very compact. The furthest away you can live will still be only 30 minutes. In Uganda, it would take me much longer to cover the distances, the traffic Jam within the city and the transport system. Gothenburg city is so calm and friendly place, the security system is sound too. You shouldn’t have any worry once you are in Gothenburg, it will be a new chapter in your life to tell this story after your experience. So don’t worry about accommodation guys. Just book the one that looks good to you and rest assured that it’s going to be awesome!”