A student explaining her course: Hannah, Electrical Engineering – Automation Technology
Towards the end of my schooltime, the question arose what I would like to do after finishing school my original answer was international business. Then, my school offered me the chance to visit a workshop to help deciding on a course of study. Throughout this workshop I realized that technology is the branch of study I would like to choose, something with programming, mathematics, physics, ...” Therefore, I started to inform myself about different technical courses of study. Important for me was to find something that connects a practical aspect with my interest in the English language. As a result of this research, I found the course Electrical Engineering – Automation Technology as an international program. Eventually both wishes were fulfilled. On the one hand the practical aspect is satisfied by labs and an internship in industry. On the other hand, there is English as the main language in the lectures of the international program during the foundation course. Additionally, the same course also exists as a German course of study with German as the main language.
Of course, I also had worries prior to the start of the courses. Will I get along with all the technical subjects? Will the fact that everything is going to be in English make the study harder for me?
Now, that I am starting my fourth semester, it can be said that the foundation course did not become harder for me because the lectures and scripts were English, on the contrary, everything got even more interesting.
And the technical modules? I did not have a lot of knowledge about electrical engineering before I entered the course. However, it was absolutely no problem not knowing about everything already. Nonetheless I had to learn that it needs a lot of discipline, time and motivation to study, do the exercises and write the lab reports. But what really helped me was to know that I am not alone with the worries I have. At the beginning of my first semester, I was repeatedly told: “If you have a problem, then let us know and we will find a solution.”
Furthermore, there are tutorials, meaning students from higher semesters clarify parts of the lectures based on exercises or further explanations. In addition to that the professors also offer help. To also take advantage of the help offered, is up to you, but to know that the help would be there if you needed it is a help already.
Electrical Engineering with a focus on Automation Technology
The course of study Automation Technology takes seven semesters, with the fifth semester the internship semester. The first two semesters, of the international program, lectures and the material are in English. Thus, the German native speakers have to do two English courses of different levels. At the same time, the international students have to do intense language courses in German.
Moreover, you attend the lectures Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering, Maths, Physics and Computing or Programming in C/C++. I liked programming a lot. You were directly able to see the outcome of the program you wrote, which line of code corresponds to which output and how can I optimize my code further. Also, the fiddling, finding mistakes and solving problems was of course exhausting sometimes, but more importantly very interesting. Above all, when the program finally works and you understood where you made the mistake before, it is even more fun.
The labs start with the second semester. But what exactly do you do in a lab? In general, it can be said that you perform experiments which help you to gain a deeper understanding about the topic studied. You can directly use the things learned. As some examples: an electric circuit is built, to clarify the function of the different components through measuring current and voltage or a characteristic curve of an electric machine is measured and documented.
As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic my second and third semester were held online. Despite that a lot of the labs were still allowed to be performed. In the second semester we had labs in the module Electronic Components and Circuits. Those labs were executed through online meetings and the use of a simulation program.
In the third semester I had Digitaltechnik, Prozessmesstechnik, Mikroelektronik, Gleich- und Drehstrommaschinen and modules of Systemtheorie. I particularly liked Digitaltechnik. For instance, we looked at logic circuits. I found it very interesting to plan which building blocks have to be placed where to get a 0 or a 1 at the output. Every block has a different function and also logic algebra was difficult to understand at first, but then certainly interesting to comprehend and train with.
Apart from that, there also were interesting labs which really helped to gain a deeper understanding of the lecture content. We had labs in the module Mikroelektronik, Gleich- und Drehstrommaschinen, Digitaltechnik and Prozessmesstechnik. Some of those labs were allowed to be conducted in presence. Sadly, some of labs could not be executed at all or adjustments had to be made. Namely, replacing labs by reviewing lab reports, presenting an experiment through an online meeting or with videos. These types of labs were very helpful strengthening the understanding of the lectures as well.
Finally, it can be said that I am very excited to see what awaits me in the upcoming semesters and where my path will lead me. In the end, as I was able to see during my research for an internship that after finishing this course of study, I will be able to find a job in many different sectors.