Engineering Camp – Rome August 2015

My Scholarship to Rome 

I thoroughly enjoyed the two week Sinergia course in ELIS College, Rome. The course was organised and funded by the Saipem oil and gas company.  It focused on teaching the students about welding and electronics with a view to encouraging future employment in one of these fields. There were thirty-five students on the course this year, thirty Italians and five Irish aged 17 to 20. The Irish students were invited as result of a desire to put an international aspect to the course, with the added benefit of the Italian students improving their English.

We were divided into four groups, Rossa, Viola, Verde and Blu. Two groups studied welding in week one while the other two groups studied electronics. This was reversed for the second week. Each day was split in half: one half was spent studying either electronics or welding, while the second half was spent in English classes to help the Italians improve their English. The Irish students helped the Italian students in this class.

In the first week my group, Rossa, had welding classes. Throughout the week we were taught the theory of welding as well as experiencing rod welding. We spent the week practising different types of welds, welding straight lines and angles. On the last day of the week we were given a final task of welding the outline of a boat onto a flat plate of aluminium and weld a stand onto the back of the piece.

The second week we had an electronics class. We were taught about electricity and its properties. Then over the course of the week we were given the task of wiring a transformer to regulate power going into a motor. We then incorporated fuses and switches to add different functions such as the ability to turn on and off the motor, as well as reverse its direction.

Each day in ELIS lasted from 9:00am-6:00pm after which we had different activities organised. Over the two weeks we went to see some magnificent sites such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Villa D’Este, Villa Borghese and the Vatican. On Saturday we had a free day in the centre of Rome where we saw Piazza del Popolo, Castel Sant’Angelo and the Hard Rock Cafe. On Sunday we went rafting which was good fun and a great team building exercise.

On the final day there was a presentation where we each received a certificate for our participation in the course. Each group was given an aspect of the two weeks to present to the guests at the presentation, Welding, Electronics and English classes as well as the extra curricular activities. A video presentation was put together with interviews from each student as well as footage of the different activities undertaken during the two weeks.

I had a fantastic time. It was very well organised and the tutors and students alike were lovely and I made lots of new friends. I got great experience in saldatura (welding) elettrotecnica (electronics) and learned a little Italian. I was challenged to create an oil rig design from basic materials and I also did great team building exercises. It was an amazing insight into Electronics and Engineering. It was a great opportunity to independently travel to another country and overcoming the language barrier.

I will undoubtedly use the social skills I have developed in Rome throughout my life.