Even if the holiday season is here, there is still activity at Luleå University of Technology (LTU). PhD-student Hana Zrida from Tunisia conducts research in materials science and works with the development of composite materials that will be used in aircrafts.
– I work with NCF composites, artificial composites that are lighter and cheaper than previous composites. With the help of experiments and analysis, I examine how the material can handle different types of stress.
Hana Zrida started higher education in her hometown Sfax, Tunisia, where she earned a degree in physics. As the top-ranked student, she received an Erasmus Mundus scholarship and joined the AMASE program (Joint European Master Programme Advanced Materials Science and Engineering). Five universities in France, Spain, Germany and Sweden, LTU included, is responsible for the program. Since French is Hana Zrida’s second language, she chose France and because she also wanted a Masters degree in English, she chose Sweden and LTU. But that choice was made not just because of the opportunity to study in English.
– I wanted to experience something different and Luleå was the place that was furthest away. I had also heard that the Swedes are friendly and helpful, which was true.
Hana Zrida, got her French and Swedish master degrees in materials engineering in 2011 and then began her PhD-studies through DocMASE, European Joint Doctoral Program in Materials Science and Engineering. Again, she chose LTU and also Nancy in France, and now the aim is set for dual PhD’s.
Hana Zrida enjoys working and living in Luleå, and she prefers the bright summer evenings compared to the dark and cold winter. But one memory from last winter makes her laugh.
– I tried ice fishing, something I've only seen in cartoons. It was fun even though I didn't get any fish.
When asked if there was something about the Swedish culture that surprised her, only one short word is needed: fika.
– Even if it interrupts my work I appreciate to sit and talk with my colleagues while having a coffee.
In the future, Hana Zrida can see herself working in Tunisia or in the Middle East, for example in Dubai. An English doctoral degree would provide opportunities for the latter. She wants to continue in academia, with both research and teaching, and she looks forward to learn more types of materials.
– I can use my knowledge for other materials, and to be honest there are environmental friendly materials that are more interesting than those I work with now.