Tag Archives: chalmers

A year in Sweden in 15 photos.

It’s been a little bit over a year for me in Sweden. Tomorrow, a new beginning starts…the first day of my last year as a student in Sweden. After one year in this magnificent country I’ve been lucky enough to travel around, and experience a whole lot of new adventures. I compiled my favorite 20 pictures and this is the result.

The sunsets in Sweden are something out of this planet. During the spring/summer when the days are brighter, the sun paints the clouds in colors that I’ve only seen in pictures (like the one above).

For New Year’s eve, I traveled to the northernmost town in Sweden. Where I got the chance to ride a dog sledge through the amazing landscapes in the Swedish Lapland.

After feeling like someone punched my face for over an hour because of the cold-air in my face, we stopped to have fika in a traditional Sami tipi. Hot coffee and homemade cookies to warm ourselves back again.

-24 degrees couldn’t prevent me from being incredibly energetic while crossing the Norwegian-Swedish border. That trip to the Swedish Lapland was amazing.

The crane jungle-like landscape in Gothenburg. I saw this on my way to Chalmers for the for the entire academic year. It still amazes me how the cranes break through the clouds on a misty day.

Sauna in Sweden is a thing (maybe not as big as in Finland, but Swedes do like to spend some time in the sauna). This is by far my favorite sauna so far, it is in Abisko next to the lake. This was the spot where I got to see crystal clear the northern lights while partying in the sauna.

Now let me introduce you to my favorite dog in the whole Sweden: Zamba! The most friendly/cool/playful/noble dog ever. He was part of the group in the sledge that I was on.

The ice hotel in Kiruna is one of those places that only exists in everyone’s imagination until you set foot inside. The place is incredibly well curated, all the rooms feature all sorts of giant sculptures craved in huge blocks of ice.

The Lapland trip would have been hundred times less fun without these guys. What a better way of starting the year than partying and laughing until feeling like having done two hundred abs every day for a week basically.

Kuggen is an impressive green building in Lindholmen, the building is a fantastic place with group rooms and designer couches (I don’t know much about interior design but the couches look fancy) for reading and/or studying.

Vattern is the second largest lake in Sweden. I took this picture during a trip with all the digital ambassadors to Jönköping, Gräana Omberg. Those trips are always full of new experiences and great people from all around the world!

The only thing I knew about ice hockey before coming to Sweden was basically that the players fight occasionally for some reason and that it is Canada’s and Sweden’s favorite sport (I know it is a bit stereotypic but it is not far from reality). After being in Sweden one year and being a Frölunda fan, now I can say that I understand a bit more about the game. Actually I wrote a blog post about the basics.

I know it looks like I’m always traveling and just roaming around but I am actually doing a full-time master’s degree, and a lot of times I have to either work on assignments or prepare for the exams. Gothenburg’s Library has become my favorite spot to get the work done without any distractions and in a perfect environment surrounded by thousands of books.

The academic year was over, the weather was getting better by the day. This only meant BBQ and beers time, this was one of the last pictures that I took with my friends from the second semester.

This picture is not in Swedish territory, but I like it a lot. It was finally the time when we got to see the product of everyone at Chalmers Formula Student racing on track. On that particular weekend, we claimed the first place in Formula Student Netherlands.

This were a few of my favorite pictures from the first year, a lot of them from my trip to Kiruna and the Swedish Lapland. Some of them of my friends and the people I’ve got to share a lot of experiences. Now, a new year starts and new experiences lay ahead!


First Year of Master’s: DONE!

It is incredible how time flies. I still remember the day I arrived to Sweden like it was yesterday, but it’s been 10 months already in here, that means that I’m halfway done! First year of my master’s degree has come to an end, this translates into two things; first of all SUMMER BREAK is here! and second, I only have one more academic year to go!

Before I get a little bit too excited over the summer, I wanted to write a few thoughts about this first year. So, this post will be about my first impressions, what I’ve been up to during the past year, and finally what I’ve learned from being an international student in Sweden.

Technically I’m still working on Formula Student, preparing for the competitions during the summer, but hey! at least I don’t have lectures nor assignments to hand in anymore (for the time being…).

First impressions.

A few of us have written about our first months, our first thoughts (right now Ivanna’s post comes to my mind, also Francesco’s post). I want to keep this part of the post short, so I will give you a brief summary.

The student life in Sweden is amazing! There are student committees basically for every interest you might think (we have a scuba diving, hot air balloon and pyrotechnic committees at Chalmers), I’ve visited a few universities in Sweden, and in my experience all the campuses are so incredible. In general terms, Sweden has an incredible atmosphere to study, on the other hand Swedes might give the impression to be cold, but it’s just one layer of trust that you need to go through.

First year of Master’s.

First things first, if you are coming to do an engineering program, learning Matlab beforehand it’s a great idea! I still remember the very first assignments I had to do, they literally gave me a script to work with to solve some given tasks…let’s say that those days trying to figure Matlab out weren’t so pleasant. In case you don’t know it, I am doing a MSc in Automotive Engineering at Chalmers.

In my case, the semester is divided into two periods; 8 weeks each period. So, every academic year has 4 study periods. During the first period I took two courses, Engineering of Automotive Systems & Internal Combustion Engines. Both introductory courses but I liked them. A few months after beginning my program I took part of a project called Formula Student, which gives equivalent credits as two courses.

This months were hectic, I was basically in campus at least 15 hours a day, once the project started to become more demanding I was spending more time on campus than at my place. The second period I took again two courses; Vehicle Dynamics & Vehicle and Traffic Safety. I must admit that I didn’t like Vehicles Dynamics that much, don’t get me wrong, the topic is amazingly interesting, but some lectures were kind of boring.

Third and fourth period I took only one course each period in addition to Formula Student, I took Road Vehicle Aerodynamics on the third period and Vehicle Dynamics Advanced during the fourth. Both great. (I recall one post about the Vehicle Dynamics Advanced course from Gimmy).

224 days after, here I am, getting closer to that master’s degree.

What I’ve learned.

I don’t even know where to begin with, let’s just start with the easy things such as: doing my laundry (I very little experience back in Mexico), cooking different stuff, recycle more efficiently, a little bit of Matlab (it is so hard), a lot about aerodynamics, a few things about photography, things the Swedes do, a tiny bit of Swedish (it is also hard and the reality is that I haven’t spent too much time on it), and off course a lot of engineering things!

These things are just a few of the thousand things I’ve learned over the past year, and there are still a lot of new things to learn. That’s the most exciting part of being here I would say.

Now, it’s time to embrace the sun and enjoy the summer!


Why do race cars have aerodynamic shape?

This might be my very first post about engineering, which is a little bit weird considering that I am studying engineering (this is where the emoji with the hand on his chin wondering something goes). Anyway, let’s talk about something that I really like and hopefully someone will like it as well: cars, specifically racing cars!

Motorsports is where engineers test the limits of new technologies, where engineers break their head thinking on how they can defeat the other teams on the race track by building the best car. As you might know, I’ve been working on Chalmers Formula Student, where basically I’m part of a 32 team building a formula-like car.


As part of the Aerodynamics subgroup within Chalmers Formula Student, my job is to increase the overall performance of the car by adding wings to the car. This might sound non-sense, “adding wings into a car?”, for now just trust me when I say that wings on race cars or sport cars are good.

It might be a little bit complex to explain but I will do my best, let’s start by defining what aerodynamics is:


noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction aero·dy·nam·ics \ˌer-ō-dī-ˈna-miks\
1. The branch of mechanics that deals with the motion of air and other gases and with the effects of such motion on bodies in the medium.

We all have extended our hand out of a car’s side window and felt the air pushing our hand, this is basically a straight forward way for understanding aerodynamics. If an object moves through a fluid, air in this case, then the object will experience forces acting on it. One of them it’s the resistance of motion, and this one is called aerodynamic drag. The second force might be not so obvious, mostly unnoticed by the everyday driver, this force is the one “pushing” the car more to the ground, known as aerodynamic downforce.

Now for racecars aerodynamic downforce is of a greater importance than drag, this does not mean that drag can be left aside, simply it comes secondary. So far, I have explained briefly what aerodynamics is and which forces are generated due to the airflow, and everyone has experienced firsthand the aerodynamic drag so it is easier to understand that one, but how does downforce is produced?


To understand aerodynamic forces, specifically downforce, a typical cross section of a wing is of use. Now, let us assume that it moves from left to right. Because of the shape and angle of this airfoil section, the air will move faster on the lower surface than on the upper one. This speed difference creates a low pressure (suction) on the lower surface and a higher pressure on the upper one. The result of this pressure difference is the force that pushes the car more to the ground a.k.a aerodynamic downforce.

In a car, the forces to push it forward are created at the contact patch between the ground and the tire, these friction-like forces are strongly affected by the vertical force applied. Now, if we could increase the vertical tire force (and maximum friction) by pushing the tire more against the road, then the cornering force could increase dramatically, without the risk of sliding!

Long story short, if we push the tires against the ground we can take the corners at a higher speed without going off road, or without sliding, hence we can go faster around the track and reduce the lap times!

This is one of the main reasons why race cars look completely different to passenger cars!


Chalmers Formula Student 2017

Over the past 9 months I’ve experienced a lot of new adventures (I’ve written about a few of them in here), and I’ve faced a lot of new challenges. But no challenge is as big as Chalmers Formula Student; designing, building and testing a car in only 11 months is very ambitious and demanding. A few months ago I wrote about Formula Student, the project and the outline of the competition; what is it about? why is it so big? and a little bit about Chalmers Formula Student 2017 (CFS17).

Now it is time to write about Chalmers Formula Student 2017.

Chalmers Formula Student 2017

Let’s start from the beginning. One of the cornerstones of CFS is not only to build a highly competitive car, but also to form skilled engineers. This is why at the beginning of every academic year a completely new team is assembled.

During the first weeks, the idea is to define a common goal and assign responsibilities as well as start planning for the months to come.

This year our goal is:

“By working as a team, CFS17 will design and build a high performance 2WD electric car with key components that are compatible with a 4WD concept. The car should run latest May 1st, 2017, weight less than 180kg and have tested and verified subsystems. As a result, the team will finish top 10 in all events and top 5 overall in FSN and FSG 2017.”

Once the goal was defined it was time to move on into investigating new solutions, this stage of the project is about reading reports from previous years and considering new technologies that can be implemented into the new model to improve upon last year’s model.

Sounds pretty much straight forward, but trust me, there are thousands of things and small details to consider, even the simplest change can have a huge impact.

Designing a car

After a couple of weeks of investigating new solutions and, developing together as a team a concept, we move on into the actual design, where we use CAD (Computer Aided Design, specifically CATIA; fun fact about CATIA…it hates me) to design and model the parts and assemblies that at the end come together to build a car.

This part of the project was a little bit hectic, probably everyone in the team pulled an all-nighter at least once by now, but for me the design part was very hectic and stressful. Specially because I was taking 2 courses (Vehicle Dynamics and Vehicle and Traffic Safety) at the same time while doing CFS.

The winter break was close but we had to lock down our design before taking a small time off, this means that everyone needed to be done with the parts they were designing to have a complete car assembly.

Building a car

Building a car in sounds much easier that it is. Manufacturing every single part in the way they are designed is quite challenging, and at the end this is the stage of the project when you realize that there are parts that look rather simple in the computer but they are a pain to manufacture.

At the end, no matter all the small issues during the process, we built a very beautiful car (still needs to be tested in the track but probably it will perform very good), and the important part is that everyone in the team worked so hard to achieve this. So, I want to raise my imaginary beer right now and just say, cheers to everyone in CFS!

*drumroll to create suspense* and this is how our car looks like! Hope you guys like it!


We will be now preparing and tuning our car until the very last day before the competition, which is taking place in the TT Circuit Assen in the Netherlands (FSN), from the 17th – 20th of July and in the Hockenheimring in Germany (FSG) from the 8th – 13th of August.

I’m really looking forward for the competitions and I hope that CFS wins both in FSN and FSG!


CFS16 during endurance test in FSG 2016

THE ultimate engineering competition.

A few months ago, it never crossed my mind to be involved in a project as big as Formula Student, and if we go even further it never crossed my mind being in Sweden, and you know what, that is exactly what I like about decision making, ultimately every single decision will take you one step closer to a new adventure.

First things first, what is Formula Student? And why is it so big? If I had to explain Formula Student (Formula SAE) as simple as possible the only thing that comes to my mind is: THE most challenging engineering competition in the student environment.

CFS16 during Formula Student Germany ©

Formula Student

In my dictionary, engineering means developing and pushing an idea to the limit defined by science (the fun part is when you go over the limit). Now, let’s move on to the question what is Formula Student? Well, Formula Student is the world largest engineering competition at student level, just to give you an example; 249 teams from all over the world participated in registration to take a place in the event held in Germany!

Basically, each university team designs, builds, tests and present their concept of a single seat, open wheel formula racecar. The competition is not won by the team with the fastest car, but rather by the team with the best overall package of construction, performance, and financial and sales planning. The car is assessed through different events, both static and dynamic.To test the performance of the car, dynamic events like acceleration, skidpad and endurance take place during competition. Car is also judge in design, cost and in business planning.

I mentioned that the competition is in Germany previously, but the competition is not exclusively held in Germany. There are 10 different competitions around the world: Michigan, 2 events in Nebraska, Australia, Brazil, Italy, United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, and finally Japan. Germany being the most challenging and competitive one.

Formula Student involves a tremendous amount of effort from everyone in the team, it’s a project that extends for over a year, since the formation of the team until the last day of competition. Moreover, Formula Student it’s not just building a car, it is one of the best ways of getting experience.


CFS16 during Formula Student Germany ©

CFS16 during Formula Student Germany ©

Chalmers Formula Student

This year I have the fortune of being part of the Chalmers Formula Student (CFS17) Team, one of the top teams in the world (the best team in the world according to me but this is just me not being objective). Chalmers has performed quite good over the past years, just last year CFS16 ended up in the 6th place in UK; 2012, CFS12 won the competition in the UK; in 2014, CFS14 got the 3rd place in Germany, but this are only some of the results that Chalmers has achieved over the years.

I joined CFS without knowing what I was about to do, without knowing the amount of time that I would put into a single project, without knowing the number of things that I would learn just by looking at what previous years have done. So far, it’s been quite challenging.

I am part of the Aerodynamics and Exterior Design subgroup, where I work with 2 more team mates adding wings into the car…I know it sounds crazy but trust me, wings are good for race cars. You can expect a post later regarding aerodynamics, right now I don’t want to bore you with engineering facts.

To give you some context, the team consists of about 30 engineers, from different nationalities, everyone with a different background and from different academic programs. This is, in my opinion, one of our best advantages.

Right now we are building the car, every single component from the new complety re-design motors to the carbon fiber rims. CFS latest model will be running 1st of May (or at least that is the plan)

Stay tuned for the upcoming updates on Formula Student, I’m sure I will write again about it!




Student Housing? Relax! You are in Göteborg [UPDATED 2016]

To keep things short, for the best balance between cost, location and space when looking for housing in Gothenburg = pick SGS Rotary. I live there.

Now, exactly one year after I published this post I made some updates for you.

I’d like to thank CHALMERS KINAGRUPP for letting me share their videos with you!

Table of Content:

  1. 3 x ProTips
  2. Don’t get shot! (a sensitive issue in Göteborg still, but we are baring lokal situation all out)
  3. A little on Frolunda
  4. Why Rotary?
  5. About Kjellmansgatan

I don’t think housing in Göteborg is as bad as Stockholm.

My friends complain a lot about the housing here. Don’t be tempted thinking there are many options available. Just play it safe and get a place to stay first (beggars can’t be choosers). I know every August the hostel is full of Chalmers international students looking for housing… Don’t be those guys.

Most common complaints are:

1/ Internet not working

2/ Old building, not clean enough

3/ Expensive…

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.32.45 PM

Looking back a year ago, I just applied to whichever housing that was the cheapest available. I lived in Frölunda. It was cheap, yet relatively far from school. But, it worked out for me.


Tip #1: Where to Start Your Search?

FIRST, I went to the SGS website. SGS is this housing agency for students. I think most foreign students use their service. Many of my friends have grunges with this company, not satisfied with their services (see top three complaints). Beggars can’t be choosers.


Tip #2: What Are Your Options?

Out of the 24 places, I didn’t recognize most of the places…

Why? Because the Swedish students scoop out the “good” places long long long ago, after having queued for a long long time, and moved in for a long time…



ProTip #3: Pick a Good Neighborhood, it is worth the money!

Recently, there are lots of news about shootings in Gothenburg. I just want to say that shootings happen in “rough” neighborhoods on the other side of the river (north side). Gothenburg is still really safe at all times of the day…

Map of shooting locations: Red guns represents shooting in 2014…



A Little About Frölunda

I lived in the Frölunda neighborhood for four month. It is not the most “posh” hood in town… People EXAGGERATE about its conditions. It is not that tough as you imagine. Sure it is populated with immigrants. Sure people warn you about locking your laundry (apparently people steal laundry???)… But it is safe. Really!

Story goes… there’s a deadly shooting in the building adjacent to where I lived 2 years ago. End of story.

But shooting can take place anywhere…

Balance Sheet

Downside to Frölunda is the distance to campus: about 25mins by tram

more downside: SGS owns 5-6 apartments in this large apartment building. Not a strong student environment.

Upside: cheaper housing (I paid 3200kr for this tiny room, see pic below.), and you get a MASSIVE shopping centre at your door step!

Upside +1: the parties there are great!


haha, no I didn’t have a roommate. My friend was just visiting me for the weekend! But you can see how tight the room was!


Occassionally you get 2 month of green water, because the copper pipe is old. People really complained a lot about it. We even had a “green water” party.

Finally, my time at Frölunda was over. The building management decided it is time to renovate this old building. And I got moved to a new place. I had several choices. I choose the one that is closest to school (that one hour of commute took away a lot of my time).


View outside 11th floor at the Frölunda SGS apartment.

A Little About Rotary

I live at the SGS Rotary now. I löv it!

It is almost too spacious! 3800kr. (For an additional 600kr, I get my own bathroom and a much larger room! 10 mins walk to school. Large shared kitchen (reminds me of hostel kitchens)). I FEEL IT IS REALLY WORTH IT.


If you want to enjoy your time in Sweden, having a good nest is important.


A Little About Kjellmannsgatan

My buddy Sid had enough of his old crappy room and requested for a new place. BOOM! one month later he moved into his own room at Kjellmannsgatan. It is around 3800kr as well. Really nice neighborhood.

Pics of the room in virgin condition. I took them as I helped Sid move in.

IMG_1245 IMG_1246

The hallway, one person per door.


back to my kitchen, a picture of the last dinner party…. benefit of having a large common kitchen.