I’ve only been writing for Womengineer for a few weeks, but already I think I’ve written more blog entries than I wrote during an entire year in Germany. Despite that fact, I haven’t really said anything about what I’m studying or what I’ve studied and perhaps it’s time to introduce my background and talk a little bit about what I’m doing here in Sweden.

In Swedish, the program I’m studying is called Civilingenjörsprogram i energisystem. I think it’s a little difficult to translate that to English, so I won’t. Basically, although “civilingenjör” literally translates to “civil engineer” in English, the terms actually mean two different things. “Civil engineer” in English is someone who works with design and construction of roads, buildings, dams, bridges etc. whereas “civilingenjör” is a term meant to differentiate between an engineer who works in the military and an engineer who work within the civilian realm. So, I guess you could just skip over the whole “civilingejör” part and call it Energy Systems in English.

If you’re thinking “okay…but what does that mean?”, well, that’s alright. Energy Systems is, in fact, a vague term. In normal people language, it means something along the lines of “how energy is produced, delivered and consumed, plus all those other little details and factors that make all of that work”. As you can see, it’s a broad topic, but I think (or rather, I hope) that’s an advantage rather than a disadvantage. No matter what job you apply for in the future, you’re not going to go into it knowing everything and this program gives students a good foundation to work on.

Although I’m new to the program, I’m not exactly new to university. Before I moved to Sweden, I studied physics in the U.S., and graduated a little more than a year ago with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon. In my last year at UofO, I applied for a Fulbright Grant, which is basically a scholarship (based on merit) that funds students to do a research project (of their choosing) in a partner country. In my case, I did a project at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems on how local environmental variations affecting sun light (in such a way as to change which “colors” sunlight has) affect solar panels and their energy yields.

So, that’s my academic history for you. In my next post, I’ll talk a little bit more about some of my classes and life as a student in Uppsala.


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