- Course: Civil and Structural Engineering BEng
- Nationality: Polish
Why did you decide to study MEng, BEng Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Leeds?
My strengths lay in mathematics and data analysis and I wanted to apply those skills in real life, therefore civil engineering was an obvious choice. I was previously studying the same programme back in Poland; it was the only civil engineering programme in Poland that was entirely in English, as I wanted to prepare myself for pursuing my MEng degree abroad. However, after completing my first year, I wasn't really satisfied with the level of English at the University. I decided to apply via UCAS for similar programmes in the UK. After I received an unconditional offer from the University of Leeds, it took me only two days to make up my mind to start studies once again.
What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?
You learn how to solve a problem step by step - you learn to how to come up with the solution, and it is probably the most useful skill you can learn during your university career. Apart from that, there is plenty of opportunities available for students, e.g. variety of societies that anyone can join, new placements that we get e-mailed every week, support during your process of a job application, different workshops to improve report writing skills - as long as you have a determination, the sky is the limit.
Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?
I have completed a variety of projects, these include a one week surveying field course, several teamwork assignments for real case scenarios, plenty of laboratory sessions, modelling the bridge in BIM software and analysing behaviour under different loads, as well as my own dissertation project - and with every time the bar goes a little higher. I really enjoy the freedom given to us when working on projects - I can be very creative and take an extraordinary approach to any problem. There is never only one solution, and you are shown just a few possibilities, but it is completely up to you what the finished version will be.
What are your ambitions for the future?
Next year I am going to fully focus on my studies, and afterwards I am planning to go on a graduate scheme and work towards the Chartered Engineer qualification. What excites me the most, is the amount of possibilities after I have broken the language barrier and graduate with an engineering degree, I feel like I can really work anywhere in the world!
What Experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?
It was important for me to get a solid engineering background, and by the time I graduate, to become completely fluent in English and capable of producing professional reports using technical terminology. I still have my last year of studies to complete, however at this stage I am extremely happy with the progress that I have made; I see clearly now that I wouldn't have achieved that if three years ago I hadn't started my studies here, but stayed in my comfort zone.
What would you say to students coming to do the same course?
I would strongly encourage you to keep on trying, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. As a perfectionist, at the beginning I was getting frustrated when I didn't know how to do something, or I couldn't understand someone due to the accent to the point where I started avoiding it. I have learned that the phrase 'Do it properly, or don't do it at all', doesn't always apply, and certainly not when it comes to studying. It is incomparably more valuable to you to do something completely wrong than if you didn't even try.