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What two civil engineering students got up to on their year of studying, travelling and working abroad

Published: Tue 4 Mar 2014

Studying an academic year abroad, working in one of a country's largest business entities or travelling across different areas of a continent each sound like great opportunities. Two students studying MEng Civil Engineering were fortunate to do all these in one year whilst part way through studying at the School of Engineering.

Together, Veronika Hantson and Thomas Ormonde jetted off to Hong Kong to complete their third year of Civil Engineering at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Once adjusting to the searing heat and different way of living, they quickly adapted to a new cultural and educational lifestyle.  Whilst studying in Hong Kong, after completing core modules in semester one, they were able to specialise in semester two; with Veronika focusing on environmental engineering and Thomas on structural engineering.  To find out more about the culture, they were also taught a module in mandarin, supporting them to understand the language and adapt themselves to living.

Throughout the year they both stayed in student halls of residence, choosing to stay with local students rather than mix with other internationals. This allowed them to find out more about the culture and even though they soon found out local students tended to be shy, the plus side meant it allowed them time to keep focused on their studying.

The city itself is an inspiring and mesmerising place to be, more especially for those working their way towards civil engineering. Hong Kong is a city clustered with high rise buildings, each one an exemplary demonstration of engineering. An odd sensation for Thomas and Veronika is when they often found themselves walking across the city whilst at least three floors above ground level through buildings. And, seeing the common Asian approach to scaffolding of using the cheaper material of bamboo gave a unique insight to an alternative method of building, with Thomas commenting “they are not sure how it works, it just does.”

Once completing their year of studying abroad, Thomas and Veronika didn’t stop there. They continued their time abroad by incorporating a few months of travelling, visiting countries within South East Asia including; the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. They also worked at Henderson Land Development Company Limited, a leading property developer within Hong Kong. Here, they completed an intense 13 weeks working on the planning for high rise buildings, gaining invaluable work experience.

Since returning to Bradford in September, Thomas and Veronika have continued their course at the School of Engineering. Reflecting back on the year they would fully encourage other ambitious students to do the same, it is a great opportunity and one that should not go unmissed. Looking forward to completing their studies and graduating, Thomas and Veronika both have potential offers to return to the company they worked for in Hong Kong, however it is more than likely the experience and qualification combined; will be producing a few more offers knocking at their door.

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