Niamh Fahy studies Engineering in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Niamh spent the summer of 2016 on an IAESTE traineeship with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in the University of Split, Croatia.
“I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take part in an IAESTE traineeship in Croatia for the summer of 2016. When I was offered the traineeship the only thing I had heard about Croatia was from an Italian student who told me she would drive across the border to go to the beaches there. So I thought, why not?
A Local Welcome
After a three hour plane journey and with an overflowing suitcase, I found myself standing at a very sunny Split port. Here, I was greeted by Mihovil, my assigned “buddy” from the IAESTE Croatia Local Committee. The IAESTE Croatia Local Committee were the nicest bunch of people I have ever met, and for that matter, every Croatian person I met during my time there was extremely polite and genuine. The committee were a close-knit group of friends who just truly enjoyed meeting and welcoming new people. They were always free for a coffee or to watch the Euros with me and the other trainees. Even though they were in the middle of their exams they still brought us to the police station for our social security numbers, the bank for our new accounts, and more importantly the amazing crêpe place on the corner of the college dorms!
Working in the University: Something New Every Day
My traineeship was at the University of Split in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture. This gave me a great opportunity to experience living in college dorms, which I had never done during my college time in Ireland. I shared the dorm with one other girl and we both braved the 35 degree heat with no air conditioning. The dorms were newly built and modern and people would often strike up conversation with me anytime I hung out in the common areas. It could have been my lack of tan or red hair that made me stand out or that Croatian people really are that friendly. It may have been both!
Engineering in Croatia with the IAESTE programme
Something I really admire about the Croatian people is their knowledge of their country’s history. I was told that Croatia considers Ireland its friend due to the similarities in our history, which apparently even went as far as Irish soldiers going to Croatia to help fight in the civil war. There was even a mural on a wall near campus paying homage to an Irish solider.
I was working under a professor at the University, where I learned to use new software to simulate internal combustion engines. I got to partake in and experience many workshops, such as the building of their formula student car engine and multiple web seminars and project proposals. The room I worked in was also used as a meeting room, so it was a great opportunity to sit in on meetings and presentations of all the ongoing projects at the University. These ranged from ship engine software and emissions, to fuel cells and electrical vehicles. There was always something new every day.
IAESTE is What You Make It
One of the days I struck up a conversation about sailing with my professor, and low and behold he had sailed for Croatia in the Olympics. The next thing I found myself helping him sail his yacht in the Adriatic Sea. I then convinced my fellow trainees to come along for the next outing and we had one of the best days of the summer!
I think your IAESTE traineeship is what you make it. You have to be open to new people, places and experiences and although going to a new country may be daunting, the value of the traineeship is infinite.