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Crossing borders: Virtual Internship at Chemnitz University of Technology

French student Florian Jullien contributes to the Virtual TUCdays with his own machine tool simulation

"discover@home - discover Chemnitz University of Technology from the comfort of your own home" - this is the motto of the Virtual TUCtage, which are being held from 11 to 17 June 2020 for all prospective students at Chemnitz University of Technology. Many students of the university are involved in the event’s organisation, among them Florian Jullien from France. He had come to Chemnitz in February to discover the university. At that time he could not have guessed that he would do this mainly "from home," i.e. in his student dormitory. Of course Florian wanted to experience the country and its people. During his internship with a focus on virtual reality at the Professorship of Machine Tool Design and Forming Technology, he wanted to talk shop with his colleagues, get to know the region and improve his language skills on the side. "The first five weeks were fantastic - I received a warm welcome and was able to work in a very pleasant working environment," Florian thinks back.

But with the corona pandemic and the transfer of the university to full stand-by, everything changed. Florian was now only able to work on his internship assignment in his dorm room and to exchange ideas with his colleagues virtually. He is all the more proud that his results are so good that they will become part of the Virtual TUCdays. Florian has created a virtual machine tool modelled on a machine from Chemnitz-based METROM GmbH, which prospective students can operate themselves from home and produce a virtual workpiece. "The user can interact with numerous objects in the scene, set the speed and position of the spindle or monitor the process," he explains. This realistic simulation is intended to get potential students interested in mechanical engineering. Florian says: "The task was not easy because I had no previous knowledge and had to relearn everything, but thanks to my tutors and the Internet I was able to overcome these hurdles."

Jullien studies mechanical engineering at his French home university ENISE (École Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Saint-Étienne) near Lyon. Last year, when he heard about the partner university in Chemnitz, which offers a "hybrid" internship combining mechanical engineering and virtual reality, he took the opportunity to apply. "I also wanted to improve my language skills by 'immersion' in this beautiful country," he says looking back.

The circumstances of the corona pandemic overturned many plans, but Florian nevertheless draws a positive conclusion: "I would like to thank everyone at the professorship warmly for their welcome, their support and their zest for life.” Perhaps he will come back again to make up for what was not possible in the past five months – namely getting to know the city and the university at close quarters.

The virtual TUCdays program from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, including a link to download the machine simulation:

(Author: Katja Klöden, Mario Steinebach / Translation: Chelsea Burris)

Matthias Fejes

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