Gonzalo Marques, an Angolan International Student studying Civil Engineering with Project Management

Gozalo Marques

Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?

The University of Leeds is one of the best universities in the UK and, being part of the Russell group of universities, it is also one of the leading universities for research. When I was doing my one-year engineering foundation in Oxford, I was looking for universities that would offer a solid basis of knowledge in Civil Engineering and project management during the first two years and a course programme of regular project assignments. The University of Leeds course structure for the Civil Engineering with Project management fit this perfectly.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?

The best aspect of studying at Leeds has been the group projects. Engineering (Civil Engineering to be specific) is all about team work. At the University of Leeds, the aim is that after the 4 years of study you will have done a lot of group projects. This has helped me gain considerable communication and team working skills.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?

During my 3 years at the University of Leeds I have been involved in some very interesting and exciting projects. One of these was during level 2. I had to design a 5-storey building in steel and concrete, which brought everything together because the project required me to combine knowledge from different modules of the course. However, my best experience so far at the university was just after 2nd year exams. I took part in a summer module at Bircham Newton construction site for a level 3 student project. The project consisted of building a reduced, to scale version of the Leeds Brewery Wharf Footbridge in one week. It was very exciting because it was a team project and we all had different tasks. Team work was really the key to overcoming some of the problems we encountered there. The amount of real Civil Engineering construction experience gained in only one week was incredible.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Diversity. Leeds gives you the opportunity to try a range of different things. Regardless of your taste Leeds offers you a variety of night out options as well as different restaurants and shops. It is a very active city and I believe once you get used to it, it is very difficult to leave.

What are your ambitions for the future?

My ambition is to secure a job in civil engineering and be involved in as many engineering projects as I can. I would also like to become a Charted Civil Engineer and keep learning and researching.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

I am currently a Peer Mentor at the University of Leeds. This has helped me to further develop my communication, organizational and time management skills.

My course, Civil Engineering and Project Management, requires a whole range of different skills. Through working on group projects I have gained different skills from leadership to creative problem solving. I am also involved with extracurricular activities, through which I have learned time management and planning. These are skills that I believe are essential for a successful career.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

I would tell them to enjoy their time at the University. Try to be involved in as many activities as they can, both inside and outside of the university and take something positive out of each experience. The degree is quite intense so having a little time management and planning is very helpful. They should make the most out the staff as they are there to help them succeed. The university provides help to everyone who is struggling so do not save it to yourself, if you are not happy or are concerned about anything there is always someone who can help.