Even though Freiburg is thousands of kilometers away from his home in Pakistan, Syed Emmad Tariq Fatimi had heard of the city in the German state of Baden-Württemberg and knew that, among other things, it is considered one of the greenest cities in the world. That was not the only reason Syed relocated for a master program after completing his bachelor studies in electrical engineering in Karachi. He says sustainable energies are important around the world and Germany has an excellent reputation in this sector. He chose Freiburg because of the extensive research conducted there. “Several renowned Fraunhofer institutes are located in the city, including one for solar energy systems,” the 25-year old student explains.
Syed has started his third semester in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität. He will need to complete four semesters to receive a Master of Science. All courses, seminars and tests are conducted in English. “Because the market for sustainable energies is global, you need to be fluent in English and able to negotiate in the language,” says Syed.
Students from 16 countries
Before enrolling, Syed had to take a test to prove his command of the English language. Like his peers from Germany, Syed has had no problems following the course material. The students often speak English among themselves because they come from 16 countries including India, Turkey and Italy.
Syed’s curriculum for the first year included general topics such as energy generation and supply. He learned about the EU’s directives on emissions as well as about complications in the power grid and how they can be resolved. In addition, Syed was taught human resource management, staff communications and other aspects of management. “In the third semester you are required to select a major,” he says. Syed chose photovoltaics – the conversion of light energy to electrical power – and plans to write his master thesis on the subject.
Most global projects conducted in English
Before embarking on this task, Syed will do a practical semester at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems. This is somewhat unusual because the study program mandates a shorter practical period after the first year rather than an entire semester. Also, studying abroad for a semester is not part of the program. However, Syed’s professors encouraged him to intensify his knowledge about renewable energies in the field and helped him find a spot at Fraunhofer.
After his studies, Syed would like to work in Germany. “I dream of having a position in Germany in a company that deals with photovoltaics or other renewable energies.” Alternatively, Syed would like to advise companies on the topic. Even though most international projects are conducted mainly in English, Syed knows “German is the in-house language in most companies here. That is why I want to improve my German language skills – so I can start my professional career in this country.”