Travelling to Bordeaux for two weeks over the mid-semester break was truly one of the best experiences I’ve had. Combining learning more about my passion for sustainable development, studying and completing an elective, travelling abroad to France and making tons of friends – I loved every minute of it. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from it because I didn’t know anyone from UTS who was also doing the program and because it was my first time travelling completely by myself. However, it exceeded all of my expectations.
The overall program was planned and organised really well with lectures covering a different aspect of sustainability, daily intensive French language classes, amazing field trips around the city and buckets of wine and cheese. Amazing industry professionals covered a difference topic in each lecture – giving a general overview of the topic and then diving into their own personal research. I loved that most of the lectures covered topics that directly related to my studies as a civil and environmental engineer and what I am passionate about, such as groundwater management, growing urbanism, sustainable wood development and food and waste production. It also touched on topics that I had never even though about but really sparked my interest, such as photovoltaic cells, electric consumption and telecommunications from a sustainable development perspective. The field trips around the city were my favourite parts because we visited places including La Cite du Vin (The wine museum), Bordeaux City Metropole, Veolia Lapouyade as well as attended culinary workshops and visited Chateau Beychevelle which truly made the experience worthwhile by breaking up what we were shown in lectures and immersing ourselves in French culture.
The people I met while on the trip was the icing on the cake. I met 4 other students from UTS as well as other students from RMIT Melbourne, China, Morocco and South Korea. It felt so good to get out of my comfort zone and experience “the classroom” in another country and culture with people that share the same interests and passions. We all got along straight away and it made everything 10 times better. It was truly an amazing experience and I am so happy to have undertaken this amazing opportunity with UTS BUiLD.