How to Get More Students Involved in FIG

Discussion article by Linnéa Lindqvist & Jennie Nilsson, Sweden

1. INTRODUCTION

We are two young women at the moment studying a Master of Science, Land Surveying and Management, at the University of Lund in Sweden. We are at our third year and during the education we have realised how important it is with international co-operation between surveyors all over the world. An international co-operation gives a chance to exchange knowledge and help each other cross the borders.

2. OUR EXPERIENCE AT THE WORKING WEEK IN PARIS

Last year we attended the FIG working week in Paris, where we presented a poster about the gender perspective at the education in Lund. We got the opportunity to participate at the working week thanks to the Educational Board for the Survey Education in Lund, Sweden. The Board encouraged the students to write a paper about the education in Sweden and then they choose the most adequate paper and sponsored the journey.

In Paris we had a great time. We met a lot of interesting people who really inspired and encouraged us. We listened to several interesting presentations of papers and learned a lot about the situation in other countries. However, there was a lack of students and younger surveyors at the conference. The experience had been even more valuable if we had got the chance to meet foreign students in our situation.

During the conference we joined a session about underrepresented groups in FIG, held by Gabriele Dasse. We discussed the problem that there are few female surveyors, few students and few surveyors from distant countries who are participating in these global meetings. We talked a lot about the lack of representatives of the surveyors of the next generation. It was during this discussion, since we are students, the though came into our minds; more students should participate during these conferences!

3. WHY STUDENTS ARE IMPORTANT IN FIG

It is important for students to get a connection to FIG, and the international perspective that the organisation represents, already during the studies. A connection brings a possibility to international commitment, a chance to meet people of the same age in the same situation and a chance to meet experienced future colleagues. Such a gathering will be the beginning of a social network with personal contacts and a chance to meet new friends who will be future fellow workers.

Another aspect of the meetings between students from different universities is the possibility to exchange studies. The experience of exchange studies brings personal development and understanding for different cultures, which are important in the forthcoming work as a surveyor.

Moreover, to let survey-students join the working week means a stimulant to FIG and brings important rejuvenation to the organisation.

4. HOW TO IMPLEMENT THE PROPOSAL

Students often don’t have the possibility to finance the participation in the working weeks. Some kind of sponsoring is necessary for the students to be able to join the gatherings. One way to make this happen is if FIG supplies students with Scholarships. However, FIG already has student discounts on the membership fee and Scholarships for surveyors from distant countries. A more reasonable possibility is if member-organisations of FIG, such as SLF (the Swedish Survey organisation) or the organisations concerned, like Lantmäteriet in Sweden, could sponsor students from the specific country.

Another way for students to take part in FIG is to get the universities interested. The universities could arrange suitable contests to find interested students, and sponsor their participation at the working week. To sponsor a student is a great chance for both the university and the specific student. The student becomes an ambassador for the university, which leads to great advertisement. The specific Survey Program will probably be an eminent and well-known education in an international perspective. The university also has the chance to establish international contacts, which can be valuable in many ways.

To get the attention from the universities, a well-organized co-operation between the specific university and a contact-person connected to FIG has to be established. The responsibility for the co-operation should be in the hands of FIG and our proposal is to create a sub-group to commission 2 - Professional Education. The sub-group could be the link between FIG and the worldwide students.

5. HOW TO INVOLVE THE STUDENTS DURING THE WORKING WEEK

To make the students feel welcome to the conferences, representatives from FIG should participate during the working week and help the students with general questions they might have. The representatives will be there to organize the gathering between the students from different countries and be a support to the individuals. It can be a bit tough for a young student to present his thoughts among the experienced members of FIG for the first time.

A way to make the student to feel more secure and the meeting less formal is if the representatives from FIG are young and therefore more understanding and interested in the students. This is a great way to involve local students. A suggestion that makes it easier for the students, and the veterans, to find each other is if the students wear coloured badges. The representatives from FIG could also help with the arrangements of lodging, such as a room in the local school for example.

At the working week there can be a session where the students have an opportunity to talk about their experiences, differences between their educations and the possibilities to exchange studies. These discussions may serve as the basis of a further discussion in the home country of the student.

Moreover, to get the foreign and the local students to know each other in a more casual way a Student Eve could be arranged. This get-together could be something simple like a night-out at the local pub. The main thing is to get the students to feel akin with each other.

6. CONCLUSION

In our future profession as surveyors it is important to have international contacts as the countries of the world works differently. There is much knowledge in different areas that can be shared if international contacts establishes already on an educational level. Today there is a lack of students involved in FIG, which prevents new ideas from young people.

A sub-group for students in FIG and a co-operation between FIG and Survey Programs all over the world would give many young people the great experience that participation at a working week gives. A student organization could be the beginning of a social network with personal contacts and a chance to meet new friends and colleagues from all over the world for both students and veterans.

CONTACTS

Linnéa Lindqvist, Jennie Nilsson
Students at the Survey Program at Lund Technical University
Norbergsgatan 3, 223 54 Lund, Sweden
Tel: +46 46 133 445, +46 70 853 91 64
Email: linnea.lindqvist@telia.com , jennie@hl.lu.se


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