The opportunity to travel, study and learn French in Bordeaux, France, was incredible. Undertaking the Bordeaux Institute of Technology Sustainable Development Summer School which, although was out of my direct area of study, was so interesting and relevant. Giving me an insight in to other aspects of engineering and the different contributions that these fields can have on creating a sustainable and fruitful future. Travelling with 4 other UTS students, all taking different degrees and majors, allowed for a diverse bunch of individuals to experience everything Bordeaux had to offer. Other participants of the summer school included a group from Melbourne’s RMIT university, Morocco, Norway, China and South Korea.
When you think of Bordeaux most people think of silky red wine varieties and endless plates of cheese and cold meats and this is exactly what it was. Daily! Combine this with cloudless skies, endless sunlight, with the sun setting at around 10 pm every night, and 37 degree Celsius days the stage was set for an incredible summer adventure. The relaxed culture and cheerful vibe of the Bordeaux people made it easy to feel connected and really enjoy the time spent outside of the classroom during the trip. Timing was perfect with the 2018 FIFA World Cup being held and televised throughout our stay in France. Especially with the wild success of the French national team, les Bleus! It did not take long for the UTS crew to splurge on official French jerseys to be worn throughout the final series. With jerseys on, the French tongue flowing after days of intense language lessons and sipping on Frances finest 1664 lager we blended in to the crowds and getting among the action for the finals was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
Inside the classroom we had some of the leading researchers and professors deliver briefs on different environmental and sustainability topics. Some stand outs include:
- The UN Agenda for 2030 on Sustainable Development
- Recent development in photovoltaic cells – Laurence Vigneau
- Future of telecommunications – François Rivet
- Sustainable Wood Production of the Landes de Gascogne Maritime Pine Forest – Florian Delerue
- Wave-based resonant microsensors for environmental applications – Corinne Dejous
As well as these lectures, Bordeaux INP had organised many half day trips to break up the time spent in lecture halls and classrooms. We visited the Bordeaux Metropole, the architecturally impressive and futuristic wine museum, Chateau Baycheville, the waste management facility and greenhouses utilizing the processed waste to grow tomatoes that are then sold all over France. There was even a morning cooking class by the river learning the fine art of creating different French style, buttery, delicacies.
Leading into my final semester at UTS I feel so lucky to have applied and taken advantage of this opportunity. It has been one of the most impressive and incredible experiences of my time at university and encourage anyone reading this to give it a go. The places visited, the people met and the memories forged, it really was an unforgettable trip.