- Course: Architectural Engineering MEng
- Nationality: Korean
- Location of year abroad: USA
Yejin completed her NCUK international foundation year (IFY) at the IEN Institute, Korea, before studying at University of Leeds.
I chose Leeds because of the major on offer. I compared different university options in the civil engineering and architecture area, and I could focus on building here. To help me decide, I used the website and asked older students who had studied at IEN; we had the opportunity to meet them and ask them questions.
I really liked my second year Constructionarium experience. We went to the site in Norfolk where we built a scaled-down version of a bridge; our group successfully completed the challenge and built a 10m bridge. This was a good example of what I like about UK education – you have more freedom to manage your own time and your own learning, and it’s independent. In high school in Korea you simply learn things off by heart, but here you express your own opinions. The IFY helped me a lot in so many ways, and EAP taught me how to do presentations and start discussions. We even made portfolios which I have had to do here too.
Engineering is hard; it was challenging at the start. We write technical reports, explaining what we’ve found out, rather than essay writing. I had some big lectures in first and second year, with up to 120 people.
I’m now used to living in a smaller city and Leeds is peaceful and convenient. I don’t like London – it’s too busy! The highlights of my time in the city have been good nights out, affordable rent prices, and the connections you can make in a smaller community environment.
I decided to study abroad in my second year; I’d always wanted to go to America, and it’s very popular in Korea. However I’m so glad I chose England for my main degree, as I much prefer the educational system here. In the US I was based at Drexel University, a city-based institution in Philadelphia, not far from New York. It was a good experience; I can now compare the cultures in Europe and America and it broadened my knowledge and insight. Four students went there from Leeds: three from my course and one from Economics. The study abroad office helped me find the placement and arranged sessions before we went.
In future, I aspire to get a job here as a civil engineer, and I’d like to stay in the UK. The Engineering employability team send me weekly emails about job openings and I do my own research too. I’ve also visited the careers centre, who organised a practise interview for me which was helpful.