Date of the interview
You were born and raised in Egypt. How did you first hear about Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences?
In order to answer this question, I need to go back in time to 2013 when I was studying Electro-mechanical Engineering in Egypt. At that time -- due to the hard times during the revolution and the bad economic situation -- studying and working became increasingly difficult, so I started to think about studying engineering in Germany.
I had no clue that there is a German university which offers study programs in English. Therefore, I started to study the German language in order to apply to other universities offering study programs in German or German/English.
However, after six months, I met a friend who told me he is preparing himself to travel and study abroad at a university called “Rhine-Waal”, and that “this university offers study programs in English” … and that’s it: that’s when I started to shift my plan towards studying at Rhine-Waal University.
What do you find fascinating about mechatronics engineering? / What motivated you to study mechatronics engineering?
I am always searching for answers about my surroundings. First, I wanted to know why metal boats float in water. Then I wanted to know how does the remote control of my TV work? How do machines in companies communicate with each other without human control? How do valves and pumps work? I wanted answers for many other questions that aren’t related to each other, and studying mechatronics gave me the opportunity to get the answers I was looking for. The difference between mechatronics and any other program is that in mechatronics we study courses in the following fields:
- Mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering
- Electronics engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Computer engineering (software & hardware engineering)
- Computer science
- Systems engineering
- Control engineering
- Optical engineering
So, imagine how many questions can be answered through those various fields. Naturally you will get nearly all the answers you are looking for.
Which competences have you acquired during your studies that are particularly useful for your career?
I consider cross-cultural experiences to be one of the most important competences I have acquired during my studies, because of the huge number of nationalities the university embraces. Such a competence improves your career potential, especially when you are dealing with customers at work. Those communication skills are considered the highest among many others in a country where as much as 15% of the population are immigrants.
In addition, other competences I have acquired during my studies like teamwork, analytical thinking and multitasking are very useful during my daily tasks.
Your current job is at Richter Chemie Technik GmbH in Kempen, Germany. Can you tell us more about your way into the company?
I started my six months internship at Richter Chemie-Technik GmbH in February 2016 after approx. five months of searching because of my lack of German language. Then, I left for six months to complete my courses at university and I came back again in February 2017 to start my bachelor thesis.
Directly after my bachelor colloquium, the company offered me a working-student contract for six months and thereafter, I was offered a full-time position as a Mechatronics Engineer in the test field.
Your job title is “Mechatronics Engineer in the Test Field”. What are your main tasks?
My company produces fluoropolymer lined pumps and valves, and my main tasks in the test field are:
- Testing each product before shipping it to the customer
- Troubleshooting products which don’t work properly
- Developing, designing and optimizing programs in the area of Industry 4.0 either to be used during testing or for monitoring and controlling our products by the end-user
- Developing and designing parts for pumps and valves in addition to designing tools to be used during the assembly of our products
- Responsible for the sound testing of our products
- Responsible for the Technical Instructions on Air Quality Control (“TA-Luft”) for our valves
If you had to give advice to our students, which three things would you recommend for academic and career success, and why?
In my opinion, you can study, have fun and land a full-time position after graduating if you manage your time efficiently. I followed three aspects, which helped me throughout my studies, and they are:
• Self-study: Why? Because it is a very important skill one should have and a key for success in my point of view, simply because it will make you more confident, a faster learner and a problem solver. Those are the skills most companies are looking for.
• Learning German: If you are planning to work in Germany after graduating, learn German. Why? Because in Germany, 10% of the positions offered each year are in English, so 90% of the job market will not be accessible for you because of the language barrier! Let’s say you are lucky and you landed a full-time position where you won’t need German for your daily tasks. But what happens when you go on a business trip? Or you need to do the TÜV inspection for your car? The growth opportunities in your career will be affected and options will not be as numerous if you don’t speak German. So it's better to learn German before graduating, not after, because you are going to need it for your career. I think it’s more efficient to do it before graduating in order to get more practice and also to increase your social communication skills.
• Social life: Whether your dorms, your university or at your part-time job, you need to have a social life, hobby or something you escape to when you are stressed. For example, my hobby was music production, so whenever I had stress I always went to my laptop and made music. Don’t stress yourself and study so much that you forget about giving your body and brain a break, it will harm you and slow down your study progress in the long run. I also recommend finding a part-time job as a student, it will help you to organize your time and get more out of it.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences?
The open-minded community that is full of diversity and fun too is the first thing that comes to my mind. I fondly remember how we as seniors worked hard to create the unique, friendly atmosphere at our young university that only other HSRW students can feel and appreciate.