Theodore Wamugunda a Kenyan international student studying Civil and Structural Engineering

Theodore Wamugunda

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

I had done some research and university of Leeds came up as one of the universities that are globally renowned and highly established in civil engineering. It also didn’t hurt that a family member had recommended it to me as a great place to study, adding to the fact that it is a few hours from London means that it is a quite affordable area. The UK has a similar style of education as my home country Kenya, so I was aware that the University of Leeds would assist me through the transition.

What has been the best aspect of studying in your course and at the university and why?

The best aspect was being given the opportunity to be a course representative. I was able air the views of my fellow civil students to the faculty and ensure notable change. The hands on learning also gave me a chance to visit the Drax coal power station and take a tour of York within the first week, gaining hands on experience. The interactive first-hand lab sessions has allowed me to apply material from lecturers. I am also a member of various societies (Leeds Student Radio, East African Society), which have helped me make more friends, experience different cultures and learn new skills.

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

The university gave us the opportunity to design a pavilion in our first year, which is an experience that will assist me as I move on in my career. We were able to apply what we had been taught to the designing.

In the same year our class was then given another chance to design a vertical barrier. This shows the much faith the lecturers put in their students as this barrier was to be part of the school.

Before this we visited the Drax power station. There we were able to carry out different real-life scenario tasks putting our learning to the test. It was an eye-opening experience that allowed us to fully experience the outside market.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds as a city has a lot to offer, with numerous restaurants where you can sample different foods and various activities that expose you to different cultures. The night life is also amazing and allows you to experience the city in a different light. The city comes alive at night and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

What are your ambitions for the future?

Currently I am a second-year student, and so in the near future I have an industrial year placement which will help in gaining a real insight into working life. For the far future, looking into the horizon, I’m hoping to start by working and being part of the engineering community. Eventually I want to set up my own engineering firm that will build stadiums back in my home country, Kenya. I also hope to connect with other members worldwide, building profitable relationships and help influence and support younger members by becoming a chartered engineer.

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

The school and the city in general have offered various different experiences. I was able to volunteer at an organization to help a worthy cause, be a member of various societies, work on projects that have developed my skills and become a student member of Institute of civil engineers. Late night studying with fellow students on applications such as Matlab and Revit will be really key in my future career.

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

The course is very interesting and the challenges it offers are exciting. Be prepared to put your best foot forward as this course requires keen attention but the lecturers are always available to assist.  Take every opportunity available; from participating in societies, becoming a course representative or even being a student member of the ICE.