Edson Manoel Da Silva
I studied a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering at Federal University of Santa Catarina (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina UFSC) and in 2014; I started my year abroad at the University of Leeds.
Prior to studying in Leeds, I was working as a Research Assistant at a laboratory inside UFSC, developing FPGA algorithms for Audio Signal Processing.
I currently work at Hexagon Agriculture as a Hardware Engineer, developing hardware for precision planting embedded systems. I am responsible for a number of things, including defining circuit and electronic components to meet the PCB design requirements.
Choosing the University of Leeds:
When choosing somewhere to do my year abroad I knew I wanted to study in a country where I could practice my English by speaking to native English speakers. I also wanted somewhere that was rich in culture that would also give me the opportunity to travel to different countries easily during my breaks in order to experience an array of cultures. These were my main reasons for choosing to study in the UK. The choice to apply for the University of Leeds was an obvious choice for me as it is one of the best universities for my degree course.
Studying at the University of Leeds:
I noticed quite a few differences between the style of teaching at Leeds and my university in Brazil.
I was instantly aware that in Brazil, we had more class hours and there was less emphasis on worksheets and essays. Instead, there is a big focus on exams and I would have up to four exams per semester. However, in Leeds some of my modules went across the whole year and only had exams in the final semester.
I felt that my professors in Brazil focused solely on the theoretical side of the course. Whereas with my professors in Leeds, there was more of a focus on increasing our practical knowledge alongside our theoretical one.
Before starting my studies, I took an Academic English course at the Language Centre at the university, which helped me to understand the type of assessments I would face whilst at Leeds.
We were assigned Social Assistants who helped us to adapt and adjust to the city, by the time we were settled in they had become our friends.
During my year at the University of Leeds, I was able to develop a number of both academic and transferrable skills. One of the skills I was able to enhance was my ability to work in a group as we had many group tasks during seminars.
One of the most important skills I got by doing my year abroad was the improvement of my spoken English. Although I already spoke English, I initially found it to be a challenge to speak to native speakers due to the accent (especially the Yorkshire one). Being in such a big university, I was able to come across many different people from different backgrounds through my course and the societies I joined. Regularly engaging with people with different experiences from me was essential for me to practice and advance my spoken English.
The student-life at Leeds was amazing, I always feel nostalgic reminiscing about it. The campus was comfortable, full of history whilst still being modern. I used the gym on campus- The Edge, the libraries, the computer rooms and the Union. I had all the facilities I could need around me.
Leeds had over 300 student societies, which allowed students the opportunity to have fun, play sports and dance with many different people, a culture that we do not have at our universities in Brazil.
The university campus was walking distance to the city centre, where I would frequently go shopping in the main mall- Leeds Trinity. I also went to the city market where I would buy good quality and cheap food to prepare traditional Brazilian food.
There was a very good Brazilian community in Leeds. There were many Brazilian students on the same exchange programme as myself, both at the University of Leeds and the neighbouring university so this helped me to feel at home. There were Brazilian restaurants where we could go to that had the food we loved. There were also language students interested in Brazilian culture who we got to know, and became friends with.
I was fortunate enough to have the chance to study Embedded System project modules. This provided me the crucial knowledge I needed to first get an internship and later enter a job in this field. The experience of an exchange student is highly valued in Brazil, especially at the company where I work, as it is an international company.
The skills I learned on modules such as Embedded Systems Project and Radio Frequency Engineering helped me to meet the requirements on project quality and EMI standards in my current job role as a Hardware Engineer at Hexagon Agriculture. As I have work with many international suppliers and write English reports, the opportunity to study at an English university gave me an advantage to be in the position I am in now.
Recommendations and Top Tips:
I would recommend studying at the University of Leeds for a number of reasons. You will have the opportunity to study with great professors involved in high-tech and top-science projects.
My top tips are: make the most of your classes and professors, ask questions and absorb as much information as you can; but also get involved with the university community by taking part in societies and making as many friends as you can. There is no better experience than meeting people and different cultures.