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We consider engineering education from a European perspective in this episode of The Engineering Commons.
- Our guest for this episode is Sebastian Ahlström, a civil engineer who is pursuing a masters degree at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.
- Sebastian spent the past year working as an intern for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, or “min-dot”, here in the States.
- An interest in buildings and construction led our guest to pursue a degree in civil engineering.
- In Sweden, high-school students have to decide whether they are going to pursue a 3-year bachelors degree or a 5-year masters degree. Unlike academic programs in the US, the bachelors degree does not necessarily prepare one for acquiring a masters degree.
- Sebastian reports having to write a thesis as part of his bachelors degree, as opposed to completing a senior project.
- Having spent a year working on road construction, our guest has decided he’d rather work on erecting buildings. A valuable insight resulting from hands-on experience!
- It is common in Sweden for students to wait one to three years after graduating from high school before beginning their college education.
- Grades in Swedish universities are almost entirely based on the results of final exams, with little weight or emphasis given to homework, quizzes, and mid-terms.
- Brian mentions the Swedish disporia in Minnesota, which refers to a region where Swedish emigrants have gathered.
- Sebastian struggled with the units of measure used here in the US, much preferring the metric system used elsewhere in the world.
- The group briefly discusses the difference between a foot-pound (energy) and a pound-foot (torque). Per Wikipedia: “Both energy and torque can be expressed as a product of a force vector with a displacement vector (hence pounds and feet); energy is the scalar product of the two, and torque is the vector product.”
- We talk a bit about job opportunities in Sweden and the European Union.
- Sebastian can be reached at sebastian.p.ahlstrom –at– gmail.com.
Thanks to Michael Coghlan for the photo titled “Chalmers Campus (Gothenburg University).” Podcast theme music provided by Paul Stevenson