In the period from September 2020 till April 2021, I did an internship at Adviesbureau Tielemans in Eindhoven. The entire internship was done from home due to COVID-19 restrictions. Via Teams, I got in contact with my colleagues daily. I would have liked to feel and experience the ambiance at the office, since this was also one of the reasons I wanted to do an internship. Even though I could not experience the ambiance at the office physically, I experienced it online. All colleagues were open to meeting with me and teaching me things.
The internship started with getting to know and learning to work with Technosoft, the program which is used a lot at Tielemans. When Technosoft was mastered, I got my first project. I did a lot of internal renovation and extension projects for residential houses. Every project was different and had its own difficulties. Furthermore, together with a colleague, I wrote a report concerning cracks that were observed during construction. For this project, cracks were measured on the construction site, and an analysis was made about the cause of these cracks and whether or not these had an influence on the structural safety.
I learned a lot about combining theory with practice by doing these projects. By asking a lot of questions to my colleagues and seeing more and more projects, I got a better understanding of the practical aspects in the field of structural engineering.
I also got the opportunity to have contact with the clients of some of the projects I did. Communicating with the client is an essential aspect of being a structural engineer. I was happy that I got the responsibility from my supervisor to do this myself for my projects.
Furthermore, one of the goals of the internship was to go to the construction site. In the internship period, I went with different colleagues to different construction sites. It was educational to see how the designs and calculations done at the office became a reality. The chosen profiles and dimensions of the structural elements were seen in real life, which was also informative. It came to my attention that a woman on the construction site was rare, especially as a structural engineer. I got a lot of comments on the fact that I am becoming a structural engineer. Still, the people were interested and enthusiastic about the fact that more and more women are interested in the field of structural engineering.
At the end of the internship period, it came to my attention that meetings are also a big part of the job. I joined one meeting for a project from my supervisor. This was an interesting meeting since all parties involved were at this meeting (sound, light, air, architecture, structural engineers, installations). The other meeting that I accompanied was especially a meeting where the topic was structural design. The main discussion in this meeting was the use of prefab or in situ concrete for the building. Together with the contractor, structural designers, and the client, conclusions were drawn.
The internship was a very educational period, where I learned a lot about all aspects of being a structural engineer in the company of Tielemans. I still work one day a week at Tielemans as a junior-structural engineer.