Lais Rau from Brazil
How did you find out about Lund University?
“I left Brazil when I was 16. My dad was transferred to work in France, so I finished high school there and did my Bachelor’s there in electronics and automation. I then wanted to specialise in circuit design. I looked at programmes both in Europe and in Asia. There aren’t a lot of programmes in that specific field, but Lund University offered one and I got in, so I thought ‘well, a bit of a change. Why not!’”
What does the programme entail?
“There are actually two main fields in embedded electronics. You can go into analog, which is mostly hardware and circuit design, and this is what I chose. You can also go more into programming. We have some mandatory classes in both areas, but for most of the projects and electives you can choose which path you want.”
What do you think of the teaching style and way of studying here at Lund?
“It’s very different from what I was used to. First of all, the grading system at our faculty is different (3, 4, or 5). I don’t know whether it’s the difference between Bachelor’s and Master’s or the difference between France and Sweden, but I felt there was a lot more individual work here. The teacher is just there to give a very brief résumé and then you have to work for yourself. It’s also new to me that people succeed here without a competitive style being encouraged. At my previous schools and universities, you got a ranking after every semester. This would show you which position you were in and whether or not you needed to work harder. This just does not happen here. That was something to get used to. Also, you don’t focus on something for an entire semester; it’s very intensive classes, but just for a short time.”
Do you get a lot of practical experience and lab work in the programme?
“Definitely! The lab work was one of the highlights for me. You get a lot of lab time in all of the classes. The tools that you use are the ones you’re going to use in the industry. When you finish, you know what you’re going to do and how to do it, and that is very important and nice. Sometimes you get to choose your topic or suggest topics for projects. This can be something that you’re interested in or something very high tech in the business, that’s also very nice.”
Have you had any opportunities for networking within the programme? Do you work with companies?
“You can actually do your thesis with a company, which I think is awesome because not all programmes give you that opportunity. A lot of people had internships as well, which is a great way to get a bit of extra experience.”
What do you think is the best thing about your programme?
“The programme involves such good lab experience. I like the fact that we have elective courses as well so you can explore different fields. I really enjoyed taking a class in semiconductor physics, which was in a different department but still related to my field when it comes to electronics.”
How international was your programme?
“Very! There were only a couple of Swedes. It was very international.”
What was the focus of your thesis?
“My thesis subject was based on the design of an Ethernet bypass switch. I did it together with a classmate in collaboration with a company that proposed the topic. The whole concept was innovative, so we first did theoretical experiments to prove it could be implemented and then worked on a proposition for the circuit design. It was both challenging, because we were not sure it could be done, and exciting.”
Why do you think prospective students should choose the Embedded Electronics programme?
“Even though it’s a Master’s and you’re supposed to be specialised in something, the field of engineering is so broad that, as long as you have some basic knowledge in programming or circuit design, you can do a lot of different things with it. However, this programme is definitely a kickstart if you want to go into circuit chips, hardware, or programming. You learn how to learn. You learn how to research, to use the tools and the basic concepts. The programme provides good preparation for work in this field.”
What’s it like to be an international student at Lund?
“I had a very good experience. Since my programme was so international, I never had much of the Swedish experience, however. As an international student, you have a lot of events available to you and the nations always present the English description below the Swedish information. It’s very accessible and you can definitely get by, even during the ‘nollning”. For the Faculty of Engineering, LTH, the first six weeks are the nollning/integration weeks. There are different events and everyone wears different overalls. There was also a group specifically for internationals, which very thoughtful and a plus. It’s so fun! Overall, it’s a very good experience and international students are definitely supported.”
Were you involved in any extracurricular activities in Lund?
“I worked for Arkad during both of my years as a student in Lund. It’s a career fair that is organised by students. You can volunteer and help the companies on so many levels, for example by picking up the representatives, or helping them set up. It’s a good experience when it comes to working in a group, but also to make contacts with companies that could be prospective Master’s thesis companies, or offer a future internship or job. I also volunteered for nations a lot at the beginning of the semesters, before it got too busy. I joined Lund University’s rowing club, which is based in Malmö because we don’t have water in Lund. It was very time consuming, but I loved it! I made so many friends there.”
What do you think of the city of Lund?
“It’s quite small but it can be very charming. I love this time of year where you’re transitioning from winter to spring. You can feel everyone’s excitement; the days are getting longer and people are going out again. For students, it’s a very nice town. I really like the location as well because you’re close to Malmö, Copenhagen and Helsingborg. It’s a nice area to explore.”
What were the highlights of your time at Lund?
“The nollning was quite surprising and nice at the beginning, when you feel a little bit lost. They have these bonding events and the mentors are always planning events. I loved my thesis as well. I did it at a company with my classmate, and I really, really, enjoyed it. It was very interesting to change from a university environment to a working environment, where you could see how it works when you graduate. I really enjoyed Arkad as well, you have a big ball at the end where everyone dresses up and it’s really nice.”
Do you have any advice for prospective students coming to Lund?
“For students that will study my programme, I would say not to take the labs for granted. A lot of people do because they think it’s just an exercise, but it’s actually important. If your goal is to do something with your Master’s then that’s definitely where you will learn the most. Also get an internship during your Master’s if you can. When you’re still a student it’s so much easier to get in contact with the companies and to get an internship.
To students coming to Lund in general, I would say: we always regret not experiencing as much as we could have. You may hear about an event and think ‘oh I can just do it next time or next month’, but time passes by so quickly. Also try to speak to Swedes. They will generally not make the first step themselves but once you have made the first step, they will open up. If you don’t have anyone to go to an event with, just go by yourself. You will meet people and even if you don’t it’s not worth missing out on some stuff just not to have to go alone. You need to be brave!”
You graduated last summer, what are you doing now?
“I am working for an automotive supplier. So, I’m actually not working with what I graduated on. As I said, you could choose the digital programming or the analog path. I told myself I would never go for programming! I just did it because it was mandatory. But when I applied for jobs, I applied to quite different positions because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I got a couple of offers, one of them which was specifically what I had planned for myself, analog circuit design. The other one was software development. The industries were quite different, and I chose the field I felt was a better fit. I considered it a challenge.”