h242 - Civil and Structural Engineering MEng

Meet Chandan from the UK

About me

Choosing Newcastle

I chose Newcastle University for the course, the school and the city. At the Open Days I attended, the staff in the school were friendly and enthusiastic. The University offered a course in Civil and Structural Engineering, which was what I wanted to study. When I researched further, I found that ranking of both the University and the Civil and Structural Engineering course were high and that the job prospects were good at the end of the course. I also found the city to be a good size: small enough that it wasn’t overwhelming but large enough to not get bored. Newcastle is also easily accessible from home, by train or by car. 

Studying at Newcastle

The teaching quality on the course is brilliant. All the lecturers are so passionate about their subjects and this enthusiasm comes across in their teaching. They are also really keen to support the students and help you to learn, all the lecturers are happy to help you with any questions you might have. Also, the material is delivered in lectures and supported by tutorial questions which you can do at home. The tutorial questions enable you to consolidate what you have learnt in class.

My favourite module has been the Design of Sustainable Engineering Systems module. We have this module every year and it is a group design project that runs throughout the year. It brings together all the technical knowledge we learn in our other modules and applies it to a real life engineering problem. Although I found this module the most challenging, it is also the most rewarding as you get to see a project through from start to finish. It surprises me how far your knowledge of the project can grow from nothing, at the beginning of the project, to a deep understanding at the end.

Recommending Civil and Structural Engineering  

The course is so much fun and there’s a mix of subjects, practicals, tutorials, theory and design. It’s the perfect course for people who want to make their impact on the world we live in because Civil Engineering is all about engineering the world around us. The course at Newcastle is particularly good because the design projects every year allow you to apply what you have learnt and experience working on a project in a design team. Although there can be a lot of work, we are lucky to have enthusiastic lecturers who are always willing to help. 

Living in Newcastle

There is a huge range of activities in Newcastle. In addition to the night life, there’s also the Theatre Royal, cinemas, the Sage, St James’ Park, The Baltic art museum and lots of shopping opportunity and restaurants at Eldon Square and the Metro Centre so there’s something to keep everyone entertained. I also enjoy visiting Leazes Park which has a lovely lake and is very close to the city centre. Newcastle is a compact city, making it very easy to get around on foot. There is also a good public transport system of Metro and buses, making it easy for students to get around.

Getting involved

There’s such a wide range of clubs and societies at Newcastle. I have been a member of Salsa Society, Newcastle Student Orchestra and Choir and Engineers Without Borders. Salsa Society run weekly salsa classes taught by a great teacher. I’d never done Salsa dancing before university but its good fun and I’m really glad I started. Engineers Without Borders is a branch of a larger international development organisation. In the branch, they run workshops and talks as well as an Outreach programme where they go into schools and do workshops to teach the children about engineering and introduce them to the challenges of international development. This year I am President of the Newcastle University Student Orchestra and Choir. This orchestra and choir are run by students, with weekly rehearsals and two concerts per year. It’s a great way to keep playing or singing without it being a massive time commitment.

Student accommodation 

During my first year I lived in Castle Leazes. This was really easy to sort out as I just applied online. At first I was a bit disappointed to be in catered accommodation. However, I think it worked out well as I didn’t need to worry about cooking during the week but we had cooking facilities so I could cook at the weekend. For the past two years I have lived in Fenham. Although this isn’t one of the most popular student locations I think it’s really underrated! The houses there are a very good price and it’s not too far from University but also very convenient for getting into town and to the train station. There are lots of houses in Newcastle so there’s no need to panic about not getting one. I do think it’s worth looking around and considering all the options rather than just going where everyone else is going.

Managing your money

I work out a weekly spending budget and then take that much cash out at the beginning of the week. During the week I pay for everything with cash so I know that if I have no cash left in my purse I’ve used up my weekly budget. I find it much easier to monitor my spending this way than paying for everything on card. Although it can be tempting to avoid looking at your bank balance, I’d suggest checking it regularly so you are aware of what your financial situation is.

Future plans

I would like to be a structural engineer at a consultancy after I graduate. In order to do this I think it’s really important to get work experience through internships. The University hosts Careers Fairs where employers set up stands and you can talk to them which is useful to find out about the range of companies that exist and how to apply for internships. The Careers Service is really helpful when you are applying for internships too because they have a CV checking service where someone will sit with you and go through your CV to help you to improve it. They can also run mock interviews. In addition, the University have a range of activities you can get involved with that would give you experience and help you to build up your CV, such as being a Student Ambassador, Street Scientist, Student Rep, working on campus and many other opportunities.