Tag Archives: engineering

What I Wish I Knew About Studying Civil Engineering Before I Started

I have just finished the final year of my Civil Engineering degree and it has been completely different from what I had imagined, so I’ve put together a few things that I wish I had known when I started my degree:

1. Being good at maths and/or physics won’t get you far. In fact, I now know many people who got lower grades at A-Levels or didn’t do physics at all who consistently got great marks during the course because of their work ethic. You will need to work very hard to get a good mark. Also, now, anything above 70% is a great mark.

2. Your lecturers and lab-technicians want to help you as much as possible and will welcome curiosity, don’t be afraid to ask them questions or engage in class discussions. Doing so will help your own understanding of the topics. And make sure you pay attention to the first slide of the first lecture of every module – that’s the one with the lecturer’s contact information and office hours.

3. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, there is a strong emphasis in most modules on identifying errors and methods to improve in the future – critical reflection and self-awareness is always rewarded. In a lot of the coursework we did, particularly the reports, I did not get the “right” answer, but still got great marks. This encouraged me to develop skills such as self-awareness, reflection and professionalism. Additionally, I have come to realise that getting a “good” grade isn’t everything. It is important to have academic goals that you work towards, but it is far more important to improve your skills, your understanding, gain a variety of experiences, and take care of your mental health. Students are under a lot of pressure and I know too many who have become physically ill due to stress.

4. Group work isn’t that bad. A lot of the people you will be grouped with have the same interests and aspirations as you do, so you will make some friends from group work and be able to produce something that you’re proud of. As the years progress you will learn two incredibly important skills that you will need regardless of your career path: teamwork and conflict resolution. By third year, most of the modules will have some form of group work, so there will be plenty of opportunities to hone these skills.

5. Engineering is fun. It’s really, really fun. You and your peers will get to use your creativity and technical knowledge to design and build a number of things, you will get to do presentations, use cool software and go on trips. It will be difficult at times and there will be a lot of late nights, but remember to enjoy it!

Jasmine

A Short Guide to Studying Civil Engineering (Year 2)

In this post, recent Civil Engineering graduate Jasmine continues her guide through the degree, and details what you can expect to study and gives some helpful tips on what to prepare for. 

Exams and Coursework

This year written exams are 55%, practical exams are 2% and coursework is 43%. Although the percentages may change, second year always tends to have a lower percentage of written exams and a higher percentage of coursework compared to first year.

During second year, I found that making notes and taking pictures during practicals (when allowed) helped me with the coursework and practical exams. And as with first year, asking questions is a great way to engage with the work and definitely helped me with my understanding.

This year contributes to your final degree mark, so make sure to set goals and work towards them during the course of the year. There is a lot of coursework and there are a lot of tests this year, so it is a good idea to use a calendar or planner to keep track of coursework, exams and other commitments.

Should I Choose Civil Engineering or Civil and Structural Engineering?

During second year you will have the opportunity to switch between Civil and Civil and Structural (depending on the amount of spaces available and your grades). In third year, Civil Engineering students and Civil and Structural Engineering students have the same modules except for 3: Civil students have Spatial Data Modelling and BIM, Design of Transport Infrastructure and Hydrosystems Engineering, while Civil and Structural students have Introduction to Architecture, Design of Building Systems and Structural Analysis 2. Consider which modules you would enjoy more and which would most suit the career you want to pursue.

Should I do BEng or MEng?

This is definitely something you will have to decide on during second year to avoid any confusion and disappointment during year 3. I chose BEng because MEng is not regularly accepted in South Africa (where I’m from), so if you are an international student or want to work in a different country, look into what qualifications are accepted in that country.

Something else to consider is finances. An MEng degree is considered one degree although it includes undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. If you do a BEng and then decide to do a Master’s at Newcastle University, this will be two separate degrees and will be priced differently – to clarify, the final year of an MEng degree and a Master’s degree will have different tuition fees. Be sure to contact the relevant people to get more information on how each option will affect you financially.

Finally, to progress onto an MEng course, you need to have a minimum Year 2 average of 55% (this may change).

A Short Guide to Studying Civil Engineering (Year 1)

In this post, recent Civil Engineering graduate Jasmine gives us a brief overview of what the first year of the degree is like to study.

What Should I Bring to Lectures?

In First Year, the main thing to bring to lectures is something with which to take notes and something on which to take notes. You’re given a tablet with a stylus during Induction Week which you can use for the rest if your degree. If you are going to use your tablet, bring the charger with you as first year has the most contact hours compared to the following years, and most days start at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. However, if you prefer using a pen and paper, make sure to bring along a pencil with you to lectures as we draw a lot of diagrams.

Just as important is a calculator. Before you start the course, make sure that you have the correct calculator as there are only certain types that are allowed in assessments:

  • Casio FX-83
  • Casio FX-85
  • Casio FX-115

Throughout the degree, we use calculators in lectures, labs, field practicals, etc. So using the correct calculator during the course will help you during exams as you will already know how to operate your calculator so you won’t waste any time trying to figure it out.

Exams and Coursework

This year is 60% written exams and 40% coursework. Because tests are considered coursework, there was actually a lot more studying in Year 1 than I expected. Other coursework included reports and presentations, which I found to be particularly nerve-wracking at first, but really helped with my confidence and presentation skills.

In my experience, going to lectures really helps with studying because you will have had the information explained to you at least once by the time you get to revision. I also found that asking questions during lectures and practicals is a great way to engage with the work and definitely helped me with my understanding.

If you have a disability, specific learning difficulty, mental health condition or injury, make sure to contact the University’s Student Health and Wellbeing service as soon as possible to discuss alternative arrangements for exams.

Where to Get Academic Support

The Writing Development Centre offers advice and guidance on writing and works with students form all years and disciplines. Maths-Aid provides tutors who can help undergraduate and taught postgraduate (PGT) students from all disciplines, except those who are in the School of Maths and Statistics. Appointments are available throughout the academic year (except for weekends and University closure days). You can find more information on, and contact both through the Academic Skills Kit Website: https://internal.ncl.ac.uk/ask/.

Work/Life Balance as a Civil Engineering Student

Ever wondered how to balanced a degree like Civil Engineering with social activities, relaxation and part-time work? It can seem tricky, but recent graduate, Lizzie Templeton has got it covered. In today’s blog post she explains how she managed her time. 

 

I’ve recently graduated from my MEng Civil Engineering degree and as a student I remember deciding on what mattered to me when choosing a university to study my passion.  One thing I get asked about is the difficulty of managing the work life balance and how I found it.

When I first started at Newcastle University in Stage 1, I remember feeling daunted by the number of hours that appeared on my timetable.  After comparing timetables in Fresher’s week with my new flat mates, it soon became apparent that, as Engineering students, we were in the minority with our 20+ hour contact time weeks.  However, any worries soon disappeared once we got into the routine of our new adventure.  The time we were in Uni was very hands on and practical – we were in labs almost every week, keeping things interesting and different.  I remember being surprised how broad the range of modules were, incorporating many subjects such as maths, physics, chemistry, and biology.

The difference from Stage 2 compared with Stage 1 was very noticeable.  Many of the modules in Stage 1 were theory based, teaching us the basic engineering principles that are pivotal to design.  However, from second year there was more of a focus on design standards and applying the knowledge we had previously learnt.  This was particularly noticeable in a second semester module “Steel and Concrete Structures”.  I also noticed a big increase in independent learning, in our 20 credit Design of Sustainable Engineering Systems module (DSES).

The move to Stage 3 saw more design-based modules following on from previous years, with exams in Geotechnical Design and Design of Building Systems. Again, there was a push towards independence and creative, innovative learning in DSES 3, where we had to develop a basic, client Project Brief into our own detailed Brief.

With the intense workload that comes with a degree in Civil Engineering, it is very important to be able to “switch off” and relax, away from the stress of work.  One of my favourite ways to do this was to get out of the house and go for a drink with my housemates. I find it helps to get out, especially if I’d been been cooped up in the library all week.  I also liked socialising with friends off the course, allowing me to really relax and not think about any upcoming deadlines.

With regards to managing my work/life balance, I found it regimented in Stage 1.  The structured 9-5 timetable made it relatively easy to complete most of my work while in Uni, allowing me to often have the evenings off to relax.  However, as I progressed through to Stage 3, more discipline was required from my perspective.  The contact hours significantly decreased, to approximately only 12 hours a week.  Therefore, in efforts to reduce last minute work and stress, I still endeavoured to maintain structured hours in the library, even when I was not timetabled in Uni.  I find this helped me to work without distractions and, apart from during exam period, I often got home to a free evening for my own time.

Successfully following this structure, I had plenty of time to enjoy playing with the Women in Engineering Netball team on Saturdays.  This was a fun, relaxed way to keep up my hobby without the pressure of training and away games with the official Newcastle team.  Additionally, despite the busy timetables and workload, I managed to work part time as a student ambassador.  This suited my work balance extremely well due to the flexibility of the role – allowing me to choose when I’m free to work and for specified hours.

Global Engineering – Expedition to Tanzania

In this blog post Laurence, a Stage 4 Civil Engineering student, tells us all about his involvement in the Raleigh International expedition to Tanzania…

The Global Engineering module presented a fantastic opportunity to undertake an international design and build challenge within rural Tanzania, applying engineering skills and knowledge developed in university. A vital aspect of this challenge involved improving the country’s access to basic amenities such as water and sanitation facilities, an issue which is particularly deficient in the Dodoma region where almost 50% of the population have no access to safe drinking water supply, and 90% having none to improved sanitation. In tackling this challenge, an essential feature of this international experience required my team, the engineers, to communicate and engage with the local community to understand their most significant needs while considering the impact our work would have on all age generations throughout the village.

In the initial stages of the expedition, myself and five other university colleagues travelled to Tanzania and arrived in Dar Es Salaam airport at approximately 10:00 AM, where it was extremely sunny with temperatures rising as high as 40°C. We spent the first week of the expedition at Raleigh’s field base in Morogoro, a five-hour trip away from the capital of Tanzania, Dar Es Salaam, and this week presented some valuable guidance on how the team would embark on the upcoming tasks. It involved meeting many of the other volunteers, understanding the culture of Tanzania and more importantly understanding our responsibilities for our design and build challenge – this was important as it made me realise how a fundamental aspect of this project required us to learn the in-country aspects to then consider before partaking in the design.

Throughout the design and build challenge, my team (Alpha 3) consisted of six students (including myself) from Newcastle University, along with eight other volunteers, who either came from different countries or were Tanzanian volunteers. Personally, I found this very important as travelling to Tanzania required my team to have a basic knowledge of the language; although I found this initially difficult, having in-country volunteers allowed me to improve my communication as it was easier to learn from them too.

The design and build challenge

My team’s design and build challenge was located in Mvungurumo, a remote village within the north-eastern region of Dodoma. The project involved the construction of a set of toilet blocks and the installation of a water tank facility. The new set of toilet blocks were designed to replace the existing toilet blocks, which was over capacitated by 400 students (including both boys and girls), and the several teachers. While the existing toilets occupied six latrines, the main problem concerned the lack of adequate sanitation and hygiene due to the absence of water supply. This clearly highlighted the importance of the task at hand – to improve hygiene and sanitation in the school through Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) lessons, and the provision of reliable water supply.

Life on the expedition involved eight hour working days with early 08:00 AM starts, where the temperature would severely increase at each hour. The project required numerous amounts of manual labour, where digging, concreting, brick-laying and steel bar cuttings formed a focal point of the tasks in constructing the toilets. The design for the new set of toilet blocks consisted of three designs for the boys, girls, and a separate teacher block for the school. The girls’ toilets had a particular design focus, where a menstrual hygiene management room was added to aid the menstrual hygiene for female students – this was important given that many girls in the village had started to drop out of school due to the lacking privacy and absence of adequate facilities.

Our team’s project was a continued development from the previous group’s work, and it was seen that much of the work was behind schedule due to limited material supplies. With only 18 days to finish all essential tasks, careful planning, team management and communication were at the forefront for the delivery of a successful project.

After the 18-day period had completed, we had managed to achieve our own objectives, along with extra-curricular tasks which added value to the overall project. These included the construction completion of the male and female students’ toilets, the erection of the teacher’s toilets, installation of the water tank, and the provision of WASH lessons, where many students’ in the school had learnt of the importance to maintain good hygiene levels.

Life in the remote village of Mvungurumo

The Tanzania expedition offered a unique opportunity for myself and my team to see the social aspects of sustainability in this country and through all tasks in the design and build challenge. While the majority of university modules in my course (Civil & Structural Engineering) have addressed the importance of sustainability, I was highly overwhelmed by the difference that engineers can make in the developing world. As well as the provision of appropriate infrastructure in Mvungurumo, another priority of this expedition was to ultimately raise awareness for the importance of good health and hygiene practices to enhance the impact of the new facilities provided. Much of this was achieved through WASH lessons with many of the school students, community meetings with villagers of different ages.

When initially arriving in the village, I was nervous with how the community may welcome our group as we were among the first foreigners in Mvungurumo (along with the previous group who visited). However, it was overwhelming to see how welcoming the community were; many of us were invited to church services, to play football, and allowing us to engage with many of the children – a fantastic way to finish the day off after working! All of our group and the community formed a solid bond which enormously motivated us to complete the task at hand. Effectively, we managed to finish our objectives before our set period, given the small time that may have been given to us for the project.

The particular highlight of my trip was on the 15th day of our time in Mvungurumo Village, where a ceremony took place on ‘Action Day’. This day presented an extraordinary occasion for my team to fulfil our bond with the community. This was achieved through numerous activities, games, dancing and speeches to commemorate the efforts that us, Raleigh International and many of the villagers as a whole made to enhance the way of life for much of the community. This day also allowed every person to appreciate one another for their efforts in this project. As an engineer, this ceremony really made me aware of how much difference the design and build challenge can have on a community, where much of the village residents were able to express what they had learned in community meetings and in school lessons. However, I felt that these meetings, coupled with the abundant combination of ideas shared between the multitude of engineers and volunteers effectively made this project successful, and thus this made the Action Day ceremony more special for myself as an engineer.

Advice for future students embarking on the design and build challenge

The Global Engineering module was a truly fantastic experience for myself as a prospecting engineer, and I am so glad I participated in a project that made a far-reaching difference. This expedition offered a once in a lifetime experience, providing the chance to adapt, learn and work in a completely different culture while living without modern technology in the 18 days I was in my village. For anyone seeking, considering or weighing up the option to participate in this challenge, I cannot recommend this opportunity enough and hope to offer useful advice on some aspects of the project.

Fundraising for the expedition was challenging as this occurred during the degree modules and required continuous commitment. I would highly recommend making the earliest start while using any term-breaks as opportunities to plan and partake any fundraising activities. It would also be much useful doing this with a group of people, not only because of the possibility of reaching the fundraising target sooner but also because it provides the opportunity to bond with potential team members – although this may be time-consuming! On the other hand, setting personal targets for fundraising can sometimes help motivate you to complete this task sooner.

An essential aspect of this expedition allowed volunteers to take ownership of the project, where effective decisions could be made. While it was surprising to see Raleigh staff members take a backseat, the control of the project allowed me to see how much I could develop a good understanding of the challenge, while considering the needs of the community and the scale of works to be completed in a short period. I would strongly advise breaking down each task and communicating with every person involved in the project to solve construction problems before site work while acknowledging the health and safety of all colleagues and the outer community.

On top of the design and build challenge, there are opportunities to go on a week’s trek and potentially a safari across the country with Raleigh. This presents another chance to make more friends, create stronger bonds and develop any prior weaknesses!

Personally, the Tanzania expedition was a life-changing experience which enabled me to improve as an engineer in tackling real-world engineering problems through a social aspect and was amongst the highlight of my life. For this reason, I cannot recommend this module enough for any future students looking to see where this experience takes them!

A day in the life of…a Civil Engineering student

First year Civil Engineering student Toby Loveday talks us through what a typical day is like for him studying and living in Newcastle.

Hey,

I’m Toby, a first-year Civil Engineering student at Newcastle University. I remember when I was deciding which Uni to attend; the hassle of writing my personal statement, attending the open days and interviews it was all a bit of a nightmare, until I found Newcastle.  The mix of student life coupled with a word class university was a no-brainer.  With so many different routes into my future career, Newcastle was by far the best option for me. Newcastle not only has great connections with industry but has world leaders in the Civil Engineering industry, which is incredibly inspiring.

Most mornings, I’m up by 8 and in uni for the first lecture of the day by 9. Contact hours vary throughout the year with 4-5 hours being common, but as exams rapidly approach some days can have up to 6 or 7. Although this may seem daunting, it is all beneficial, well that’s what I tell myself! I also try to spend another 2 hours in the library after lectures, catching up with content as well as reading around my course modules.

Being a Civil Engineering student, I study a wide array of modules from engineering maths to environmental systems, which in my view provides a great mix.  So far, my favourite module is design of sustainable engineering systems which continues through the first two years. One of our recent projects for this module was designing and building an aluminium truss, then testing it to destruction.  This was an incredible experience; it taught me practical skills, helped me to appreciate my design and to see if my calculations were correct!

Another important module which I have enjoyed studying is Geographical Information Systems, which allows engineers to model and analyse spatial data. This module is extremely important as it is the future of engineering and planning development. Although challenging at first due to no prior knowledge of ArcGIS, after multiple tutorials and one to one help, I managed to design and present a residential development right here in Newcastle.

Civil Engineers at Newcastle are encouraged to join the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Being a student member of ICE opens up opportunities to attend conferences and improve my contacts into the industry. Through ICE, I have expanded my knowledge and I get the opportunity to speak to experts in the industry.

Outside of my academic studies I am a member of the Cross Country and Athletics team, as well as the Cycling Club. After a hard day of studying, I often find myself going for a run with the Cross-Country team where I get to catch up with some great friends. Being a member of both clubs, I get the opportunity to travel to various events all around the country competing for the university.

Not only do I love to participate in sport, but I also like to watch the ‘Toon Army’ play at St. James Park. One of the best things about the city of Newcastle is the nightlife.  With a variety of student friendly clubs, pubs and venues there is always somewhere to go. When you make the right decision and come to Newcastle you may see me out sometime.

Thanks for reading!

Toby

A day in the life of…a Geographic Information Science student

Second year Geographic Information Science student Sheoma talks us through what a typical day is like for her studying and living in Newcastle.

Hi everyone!

My name is Sheoma and I am a second year undergraduate student studying Geographic Information Science (GIS).

Newcastle University was the obvious choice for me as the city seemed very small and friendly and the quality of the teaching on my degree was extremely high.

My typical day consists of being at university from 9AM – 5PM for lectures and practicals. After, I usually head home to work on assignments. Sometimes I socialise with friends by heading to the cinema or catching student deals at my favourite spots.

Lectures

My course consists of many lectures and modules that are all interconnected and contribute to my overall learning experience. Practicals give me the opportunity to practice skills or theories that may have been discussed in lectures. They also allow you to gain a better understanding of the course content by giving you hands-on experience. Don’t worry if you find yourself saying ‘aha’ during a practical. It is expected that they clarify things that may have been otherwise difficult to comprehend. There are also occasionally a few seminars where specific topics are discussed to stimulate ideas and encourage everyone to participate. Although there are many lectures and practicals, you will appreciate them when you realise that they have equipped you with all the skills necessary to be one of the best in your profession.

Social Life

As a GIS student, you can become a member of the Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEGsoc) society. They organise a variety of events that range from socials to paint balling. A particular favourite of the society is the annual Christmas Ball where everyone puts on their most exquisite attire! If you fancy something else, there are over 160 societies to choose from, as well as the many adventures that await you in the ‘Toon’.

The thing that I find most interesting about my course is the strong links with industry. We constantly have the opportunity to network with employers who value and appreciate the level of academic excellence at Newcastle University. This makes the placement and graduate process more straightforward because we have already been exposed to a lot of different companies and have an idea of what they expect from graduates.

Hope to see you soon!

Sheoma

A day in the life of…a Marine Technology student

Second year Marine Technology student Yanis talks us through what a typical day is like for him studying and living in Newcastle.

Hey guys,

I’m Yanislav, but most people call me Yan or Yanis. I am currently a second year student and I’m studying a masters programme in Marine Technology w/Naval Architecture.

Newcastle was my first choice university for many reasons, the biggest one being the feeling of community and connection between the course and student. It really does feel like your degree doesn’t just matter to you, which makes studying much more enjoyable!

Another benefit of being here is the incredible city itself. From stunning architecture and high culture art installations/indie digs, to the wide array of bars/social spaces, restaurants and shops, it’s easy to find something new to do or a place to relax.

University and student life are, as everyone likes to joke, very different to anything you will have come across before.

Most of my days will start anywhere between 9am and 12pm and typically I will have at least 3 hours of timetabled activity, but this can easily be as much as 7 hours at the busiest times of the semester. The amount of contact time may seem big, but this is a blessing in disguise really! On any given day I will tend to do 2-3 hours of additional work in the many libraries/study areas around the university and I use this to keep on top of the lecture content and complete any additional work needed to do well in assignments and exams.

The lectures and content studied are quite varied; compare pure Engineering Maths with a wordier Production Management module; which provides a nice mix of study. Personally, I really enjoyed the Marne Engineering and Naval Architecture modules, as they had a good balance between the science and maths you’d expect to study.

Something I didn’t expect to do was coding and some of the Computer Aided Design, like modelling a single-cylinder engine. Although not easy to start with since I had no prior experience, I did find both very interesting and satisfying once I got the hang of it.

Outside of academia I am a member of the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme (DTUS), as a Royal Navy sponsored student. This means I attend the local naval base once a week and develop the skills I will need in order to be a technical officer. Alongside this I also get the opportunity to lead and develop various Adventurous Training, specifically for me Offshore Sailing.

In my downtime I like to experiment with cooking, picking up various bits and pieces to try from the massive Grainger Market. I also enjoy watching the rugby at the nearby Newcastle Falcons Kingston Park stadium and there is also the compulsory night “Ooot in Toon” which you will no doubt experience at least once (a week).

Feel free to send me a message on Unibuddy, you are more than welcome to ask me more about my daily happenings, the course or any concerns you have about the step up to university!

Cheers for reading!

Yanis

Engineering: Graduate Prospects

Third year Mechanical Engineering student Jenny Olsen talks us through the many options that are available to engineering students once you graduate.

So you’re thinking of choosing an engineering degree to study at Newcastle University – great! You’ll learn lots of practical skills and engineering theory that will make you both knowledgeable and employable.

First of all – there are lots of different types of engineering; Mechanical, Civil, Bio-medical, Electrical and Chemical (to name just a few!). That means lots of different career routes, but despite there being lots of different streams of engineering we all study quite similar topics (at least for the first few years of your degree). Often, companies hire engineering graduates from more than one discipline, so try to study what you think you’ll enjoy the most! If you have a set career in mind, look at what types of engineers they tend to advertise vacancies for and consider tailoring your degree towards that.

So what happens after you graduate? You’ve passed all your exams, you’ve been at University for 3-4 years, maybe taken a placement year or Summer internship – what now?

As an engineering graduate, there are lots of options open to you – if you’ve graduated with a BEng and want to become chartered, the next step is probably taking an accredited Masters degree. Alternatively, some graduate schemes are tailored to take BEng graduates straight to being a chartered engineer, however these are harder to find and require a longer training period.

If you’ve taken an MEng and want to be chartered: straight into a graduate scheme or professional job role and you’re on your way to chartership!

There are plenty of places to search for graduate roles or engineering vacancies – using sites like Gradcracker is a good place to start however they generally only list big companies which makes the roles extremely competitive. The University Career’s Service also lists vacancies in the UK and abroad from companies who are actively seeking to recruit Newcastle graduates which is a brilliant resource. Alternatively, asking your lecturers if they know any companies that are hiring is a great way to find out about smaller companies that won’t be listed on the other sites!

But what if you’re not ready to give up Uni life just yet? If you’re one of the many students (like myself) who aren’t quite ready to leave behind the lecture hall, maybe further study is for you? There are plenty of research degrees or Doctorate schemes available, and this is a great time to specialise as you’ll already have had 3 or 4 years to discover what you really enjoy learning about.

Whatever you choose to do after your engineering degree, you’ll be well prepared to fit into a workplace, communicate with your colleagues and tackle the problems of our generation!

Jenny

A day in the life of…an Electrical and Electronic Engineering student

Third year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student Di Muanza talks us through what a typical day is like for him studying and living in Newcastle.

Hi everyone,

My name is Dinduele, known as Di,  and I am a third year student at Newcastle University studying MEng Electrical Power Engineering.

I chose Newcastle University as my first option for many reasons. Firstly, the teaching quality that they provide for Electrical and Electronics engineers is outstanding, which is very important for future engineers. The environment the university creates for all students despite their background, culture and race is also another major reason that made me pick Newcastle as my first choice. As an international student I feel welcome and I enjoy as much as I can because I am part of Newcastle University community.

The university campus is in the city centre and Newcastle is very compact city and everything is close by, which makes it very convenient for everyone living here – especially students! I personally love being able to get around without much effort or need to use public transport.

As an engineering student, you must be committed and ready for anything that you might face.

As a third year student most of my time is spent doing my final project which is a big part of my course and as a result I don’t have many lectures. I do have lectures on Tuesday from 9am-11am and 1pm-3pm, which focus on Electric Drives, where we consider topics such as drive configurations and load characteristic, motor modelling; and Renewable Energy where we talk about renewable energies such as solar, wind and wave energy and many other factors related to energy generation. On Friday I also have two lectures from 11am-1pm and 3pm-5pm; Law for Engineers where we learn the basic law concepts that are very relevant in the life of an electrical engineer; and Power System Operation where we analyse modern electricity network. During the breaks between lectures I might do some work on my assignments or  continue reading up on some topics that are relevant to my project.

It is essential as an electrical engineering student to feel confident with maths because most modules will require you to apply the mathematical knowledge you have and the lecturers expect you to know – especially if you are third year student.

I essentially have the rest of the week free, so I focus on reading and working on my project. I have my own studying program – each day I have a specific module that I consider and I spend 2 to 3 hours working on that particular module. Sometimes I go to the library or student union building to read or I can work at home. My project involves modelling and simulations as well as building a prototype. To model and simulate I use specialised computer software which means I use my personal laptop and to build a prototype I use the university electronics lab in Merz Court for soldering and testing. I work on my project almost every day, and it is a commitment you should definitely consider making as a stage 3 student.

Electrical and Electronic Engineering gives you an insight into communication, power (machines/converters) and electronics and at the same time it provides an opportunity for specialisation in your third year, where you can choose anything depending on what you like the most. I personally prefer power so that is what I chose to focus on.

When I am not in university I get involved sometimes in activities that the various socieities or NUSU (Newcastle university student union) organise, such as volunteering. I also do some occasional paid work that the university offers for students which is an excellent way to gain experience (and earn money) whilst studying.

I enjoy watching documentaries, anime such as one piece and some series I find interesting. I like going out with my friends/girlfriend or just hanging out at home, drinking/eating and play video games (even though I am not very good at them!) Sometimes I DJ and I really enjoy doing that. I also like cooking (my friends have all told me that they think I would make a great chef!) I go to the gym sometimes as I believe it is very important do some sort of exercise and I am currently learning how to swim – it is never too late to learn something new!

Please feel free to get in touch with me @dimuanza (Instagram/Facebook) if you would like to ask me about the course or anything else.

Thanks for reading!

Di