Jake Chan

Jake Chan

Why did you choose to study Architectural Engineering?

I chose to study Architectural Engineering because I like drawing buildings and I wanted to put some sense of practicality into my career path by studying to be an engineer. 

How did you find settling into university life in the UK?

Settling in wasn't so hard - I spent a lot of time hanging out and having intellectual discussions with my classmates. It was great, most people were open to different opinions and we usually ended up laughing about the differences between our cultures. I did join a couple of societies at the student union but I never really went to the meetings as I'd already found great friends on my own course. In my second year, me and four classmates lived together in a house, which was great fun!

What's been the best part of the course? 

Without a doubt, the best aspect has been the architectural projects. This is because they require you to put the theory into practice that you've been taught in class, plus any extra stuff you've learnt during placements. The projects are where the building theories and your own artistic aspirations meet. These projects can also be added to your architectural portfolio. 

Have you undertaken any work experience?

In my second year, I spent 3 months in Hong Kong working for Arup. I was assigned to the structural team and most of what I was doing was closely related to what I'd already been taught, but there was a lot of extra stuff that I learnt too! My mentor assigned me the task of designing some temporary concrete abutments and then checking them for sliding or overturning. He also showed me how to use structural analysis software to optimise certain structural sections of a proposed swimming pool, that was to be added to a central plaza building in Hong Kong.

What activities are you involved in outside of your studies? 

Apart from socialising with my friends and course mates, I spend 99% of my free time doing 3D art. This is actually quite beneficial to my course projects, as it helps me to do 3D photo-realistic renders of my architecture designs. Also it was through the university that I received a free licence for the 3D design software. I've also been to a few music festivals with my course mates and this has been great for me, because in my home country China, they don't hold gigs as good as this. My experience of living in the UK has been, to a large extent, a musical one, and it's been a very liberating experience that I will never forget. 

What are your ambitions for the future?

In the future, I'd quite like to specialise in glass; working in glass does not requires a specific licence as many other disciplines do, but it's actually one of the most complicated disciplines to work in. I'm currently contemplating the sort of company to apply for a job in as a structural engineer.

One thing that will definitely help me is the advice given to me by one of my professors, Professor Steve Garrity; he spent countless after lunch appointments talking things through with me. I've had a few tough challenges recently in life and Professor Garrity's words have reminded me to push beyond my limits.