The study of electrical engineering brought Texas students to the Finnish heat

A group of students from Texas spent a hot month in a wireless communications course at Aalto University.
Texas A&M -yliopiston oppilaita laboratoriokurssilla Aalto-yliopistossa kesällä 2018, kuva: Aalto-yliopisto / Linda Koskinen

A few years ago, when working as a visiting researcher at the Department of Communications and Networking, Assistant Professor Ana Goulart from Texas A&M University noticed a particularly well equipped course in communication technology offered at Aalto University. Since Texas A&M encourages visits abroad, she decided to bring her students from Texas to a laboratory course in Finland as a part of their studies in wireless communication technology. The first Wireless Transmission Systems course was implemented in cooperation with Aalto University in summer 2017.

‘The 16 students taking part last year found the course very useful’, Goulart says. ‘We visited, for example, Nokia and ABB. After returning to Texas, many students met ABB's representatives recruiting at the university who were impressed with the students' experiences in Finland.’

In the laboratory of the Department of Communications and Networking used by courses in communication, also 5G research takes place. The collaborative research and teaching laboratory enables students to access the latest wireless communications technology that would be too expensive to update for educational purposes only. Professor Goulart and Aalto University's Operating Engineer Viktor Nässi wrote a joint publication on the laboratory which enables experiential learning. The publication attracted international attention and led to contacts from several different universities.

This summer, a total of 13 students majoring in Electronic Systems Engineering Technology (ESET) travelled from Texas to Finland. In addition to studying in the one-month laboratory course, the students visited companies, familiarised themselves with the Finnish language and culture, and made trips to places such as Suomenlinna.

The students mentioned the opportunity to travel as a reason for taking part in the summer course. For many students, Finland is the first European country they have visited.

‘We were warned about the cold, but it’s warm here!’ somebody replies from the crowd accustomed to the heat in Texas, when I ask how it has been in Finland. I assure them that Finns are just as puzzled about the current heatwave. And would they recommend the course to other students at Texas A&M?

‘Absolutely! The laboratories here are very comprehensive. And the business visits were interesting – I’d be happy to work for Nokia any time’, one of the course participants, Jennifer Robinson says.

Aalto University signed a student exchange contract with Texas A&M University in 2016.

‘We hope that the students from the summer course will talk about Aalto University at their own university, so that exchange students from Texas A&M would come here, and Aalto’s students would in turn go to Texas in the future’, Aalto University International Relations Manager Anita Bisi says. 

 

Text and photo: Linda Koskinen

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