#BUiLDInspires Summer Competition Announcement!!!

Drum roll please……..

The winner of the Summer #BUiLDInspires Competition goes to Chun-Wei Kay for his remarkable video submission for the Australian Thai Youth Ambassadors Program (ATYAP) in Thailand. Chun-Wei’s prize is a GoPro!  

Music: StiickzZ – Martin Garrix & Dua Lipa – Scared To Be Lonely

Second prize goes to Muhammad Waqas Ayub for his AWE-INSPIRING image of Hallstatt Village in Austria during his time at Management Center Innsbruck (MCI). Muhammad’s prize is 2 x tickets on Culture Scouts!

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Third Prize goes to Brittany Davidson for her height-defying image of a 4,680m climb up a volcano during her time at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico for the Mexico Intensive Language and Culture program – QUE FOTO TAN HERMOSA!!!
Brittany’s prize is a $75 Gift Voucher for PigeonHole!


We would like to give a very special acknowledgment to every single student who participated in the summer competition. We had such an overwhelming response which was really heartening for our team in the office with no windows! The #BUiLDInspires gallery will continue to inspire UTS students to take on their own UTS:BUiLD adventure.

Check out the #BUiLDInspires gallery here.

Language & Culture in China

From reading about the SILC Business Program on UTS’s BUILD Abroad website, I was interested in being able to learn Chinese from a beginner’s level whilst sightseeing and learning about the business culture within China’s biggest financial hub. From the day I left Sydney the buddy system implemented by the SILC team was tremendously helpful – from organising my taxi pick up service at the airport to making sure I had a point of contact with a local at all time via WeChat. The stress of arranging accommodation, transportation to and from the airport, researching places to visit, learning Chinese, communicating with hotel staff was drastically reduced since SILC’s staff and buddies provided prompt and useful information and helped solved any problems which arose – even the not so pleasant issues such as a clogged toilet. SILC’s friendly atmosphere made me fall in love with Shanghai because although there are some unpleasant Chinese people, there are many more lovely and caring people who go above and beyond to help during difficult situations. My buddy was extremely helpful and kind enough to take time out of her weekend to take me and those who arrived early around the Jiading district. We got to know one another as we took a stroll inside the gardens which encircled the Confucius temple and had a banquet lunch where we got to try tea infused with slices of carrots, apples and other fruits. It was weirdly refreshing.

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The day finally came when we had to start class. I don’t think anyone of us wanted to wake up at 7am but the free breakfast buffet at our hotel was enough incentive to drag us out of bed. The classes we had were not at all what I imaged. The relaxed, interactive classroom environment made it easy to engage with what our lecturers were saying. It was fascinating and eye-opening to learn about China’s lifestyle, such as traditional tea ceremonies. For instance, we not only learnt, but witnessed, WeChat being used as the main method of payment rather than cash and credit cards.

Other than mere classes every weekday, the SILC team arranged tours with the lovely FeiFei as our guide. Her  friendly and happy personality made every trip with her so much more enjoyable. One such trip was to Su Zhou – a city known for its canals and bridges – where we were given free time to meander through the various lanes of traditional architecture.

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Additionally, the program provided us with an opportunity to enter a kind local’s home and enjoy the delicious homemade feast prepared by a local mother. Such an opportunity to interact with the locals on such a personal level opened my eyes to the lifestyle of a local. Shanghai’s lifestyle was not only limited to this, we were also able to experience the rush of lunch time at Shanghai university as students scurry left and right to snatch up the food before it’s gone. By joining in with the local retirees at the retirement centre in activities such as dancing, ping pong and singing it was an unforgettable memory as we wouldn’t have been able to live like a local for a day without this program. The students  from Shanghai University’s music campus in Baoshan were so talented and exposed us to the traditional musical instruments which are now rarely played.

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Overall, SILC’s program exceeded my expectations because the classroom environment was not like quiet and boring classes I normally take – both the business and especially the Chinese lessons were interactive, funny and most importantly made me want to learn more. The tours and trips we were taken on were unforgettable and are an experience of a lifetime. Not many tourists get to first-hand experience and immerse themselves into the life of a Shanghai local!

 Helen Ngo

My incredible Indian experience

My time in India was an unbelievable experience, we were meet at Delhi airport by two of the most incredible people who were there to guide us through India. Nothing can compare to first time you drive through Delhi traffic, what an experience. We arrive at our apartment at 1am had a very quick dinner than straight off to bed for a well-earned sleep. A few hours later we were up to go visit the offices of the Drishtee organisation where we were given a tour and got to meet one of the founders of the organisation. Following this we went shopping to buy all of kurtas to wear in the village. What a load of fun we all had dressing up with fantastic colour of Indian clothing. It was then off to the Delhi train station for our overnight sleeper train to Patna, Bihar. I was very apprehensive about this train ride, but it ended up been a fantastic experience. We were met by friendly people on the train and staff that wanted to make sure we had a great experience on the train.16463213_400315160316514_538181452381241770_o18319210_1624373084257271_7557924435321817432_o18238630_1624373440923902_7019193502551103458_oAfter a 6-hour drive from Patna we final arrived in Saurath the village that we would be spending 2 and half weeks living in. we drive in and there’s a lot of interest in us from the village people. We meet our cooks and some of the translator we will be using, and rest for lunch before going for a walk around the village. The place is so beautiful and much larger than we expected.18198421_1624373197590593_2088017481365787592_n

16665061_10212419854238225_5881366149295714511_o16836229_409776886037008_3018267045894672985_o16665187_10212419863998469_8173773122064318787_oWe spend the next 4 days exploring different aspects of life in rural India, by visiting schools, hospitals, farms, and religious leaders. It was so interesting to be able to go a talk to people about how the systems work and all the different problems they were facing. I took particular interest in the health systems. From this I went on to spend the rest of my time talking to health works and family’s about HIV education. What I found was that the systems put in place by the government where great ideas, however stigma on the topic and a lack of education of the people in charge of doing the educating and the village people led to a miscommunication.18155968_439841309697232_4216841282858057337_o

16602096_10212362359200885_4185133258488440380_o16797111_10212460887944042_7391630206694146942_o16797097_407712966243400_8013526958515756028_o16835764_10212516279608799_8330242297511124677_oOnce I believed that I fully understood the root of the problem, I set to work with my partner on trying to find a solution to the problem, this is no easy feat. What we came up with was a picture based informational sanitary pad liner that you peel off. When we presented this to the village the people really got behind the idea and found it a great way to learn and very informative.

16797854_406256863055677_5957955778651739598_oMy whole experience in India was amazing, making friends with the children that lived next door, doing morning yoga every day, becoming friends with some amazing people from UTS, meeting people from all different castes and most of all building deep emotional connections with some of people we spend so much time with. The only thing I would change about my experience this having it end.



by Catherine Walsh

*Applications currently open for Summer 2017/18 session – see here for more details and to apply http://drishteeimmersion.com/

Management Centre Innsbruck (MCI) Winter School 2017

In February I travelled to Innsbruck, a small mountain city located in the western part of Austria. While I was there, I participated in the winter school program organised by Management Centre Innsbruck (MCI). MCI is a relatively young university which focuses on practical learning with a modern approach. Over the course of three weeks I completed 3 different subjects, Business Ethics, Renewable Energy and Water Pollution Control.

RIver Inn, InnsbruckColourful houses of Innsbruck and the river Inn.

Although I only spent a short time at MCI, the amount of theoretical knowledge and practical skills I gained was phenomenal. As a part of Business Ethics, we learnt different ethical theories and how to deal with ethical dilemmas in the workplace, an essential skill for any professional. Through Water Pollution Control, we learnt about treatment methods of drinking and sewerage water, urban drainage design and membrane technology.

Furthermore, in Renewable Energy, we discussed methods of generating clean energy and developed renewable energy concept plans for different cities around the world. Laboratory classes and an excursion to the local water treatment plant allowed us to reinforce knowledge learnt in the classroom and experience it in real life applications.

Another exciting aspect of the winter school program was the opportunity to meet students from all over the world. There were students from countries including Italy, Turkey, Taiwan, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Finland and Austria. It was fun working on group projects with them and learning about their different cultures.

It was not all study and classes though, we still had the weekends off and one/two days off during the week. During my days off I explored Innsbruck with my new friends and went on many day trips. We visited Munich, the capital of Bavaria, Salzburg, the city in which Mozart was born, the lakeside village of Hallstatt and Mittenwald, a small picturesque town located on the border of Germany and Austria. Some pictures from these trips have been included below.

Rauschbrunnen - Alpine RestaurantSpent two hours hiking up the mountain to reach this alpine restaurant, only to find out it was closed.SalzburgA view of Salzburg’s old town from the Hohensalzburg FortressLake Lautersee, MittenwaldLake Lautersee in Mittenwald GermanyHallstatt VillageHallstatt Village. Had to catch four different trains and a ferry, a total of 5 hours traveling, to reach this small lakeside village. It was worth every minute!Nordkette Mountain PeakView from the peak of the Nordkette Mountain in Innsbruck.

Orientation Group PhotoGroup photo after orientation on the first day.

Being able to experience Austrian food and culture was also a big highlight of my trip. Simple foods such as bread were so much better, with many different varieties available at the local bakery. Desserts were also amazing, especially the traditional sacher cake and apple strudel. Main dishes were hearty and filling, with one of my favourites being Käsespätzle, a dish consisting of home-made egg noodles with melted cheese and caramelised onions.

Overall, the winter school program was one of the best experiences of my life. I made countless new friends, learnt so many interesting concepts, experienced Austrian culture and explored numerous cities, towns and villages. I would also like to extend my thanks and gratitude to the UTS BUiLD team and MCI International Office for providing me the opportunity to participate in this program and all the hard work and effort they put in to ensure the program ran smoothly.

Muhammad Ayub

Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Construction)

CAMP Shanghai Summit – March 2017

What is CAMP – China Australia Millennial Project (CAMP) is a program designed to connect young people who are passionate about social innovation and the China-Australia relationship.

Why did I apply for the program – I applied for CAMP as I wanted to learn more about the Asia Pacific region, specifically China, and how Australia interacted with the region. Furthermore, CAMP’s Shanghai Summit offered a fantastic opportunity to immerse myself in Chinese culture and their amazing food.

My experiences in China

Prior to the commencement of the Shanghai Summit I visited Kunming located in the Yunnan Province. Kunming is a beautiful city during March, the cherry blossoms are blooming and the weather is comfortable. The best way to experience the city is via bicycle or an electric scooter. Whilst exploring the city, my friend introduced me to some really good eating spots and to the game of Jianzi. Playing Jianzi with the locals was loads of fun as I was able to connect with them despite my very limited mandarin skills.


During the Shanghai Summit I had the privilege to visit the Alibaba headquarters and meet some really inspiring entrepreneurs working within the China-Australia markets. This program combined with CAMPer’s (delegates) made the trip amazing. Outside of the CAMP program, I immersed myself in the Shanghainese way of life visiting the Yunnan Temple, the bund, travelling on the metro and eating copious amounts of Xiao Long Bao.


What did I learn?

Upon reflection of my brief visit to China I gained a couple of insights into the complex culture that is modern China. Firstly, a lot more living occurs on the city streets and I love it! I really think Australia could learn a lot about designing open streetscapes which accommodates pedestrians socialising, eating and general activities. Secondly, with my very limited mandarin speaking capabilities I felt very culturally ignorant. However, sharing food, visiting temples and playing Jianzi I was able to experience and connect with some of China’s culture. In summary, I have only scratched the surface of Chinese culture and I think you need to visit China multiple times to truly appreciate what China has to offer. For my next China trip I would love to visit rural China and Beijing.


My trip was amazing and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering visiting China!


Lausanne – A taste of family life

This past February I went to Switzerland, to the town of Lausanne to study French for three weeks. While the classes were greatly beneficial, albeit quite difficult for me, the more memorable experience was the lifestyle I had while living there. I was lucky enough to meet a family – through my Aunt – who live about twenty minutes outside the city centre so I stayed with them for the three weeks I was there.

The Dad is dutch and the Mum is French so it probably wasn’t what you would call a typical Swiss experience, but it was lovely nonetheless. The three kids were aged 5, 11 and 12 and it was these three that really made the time so enjoyable for me.

Alyssa – the youngest – was studying ancient Egypt at the time, and she goes to an international school so in the afternoons I would help her with her presentation. We had so much fun learning about Tutankhamun and his tomb. She also showed me her skills in ballet. They pronounce the ‘t’ because they think it is how you say it in English, I tried to teach them that we use a lot of French words and so we pronounce them the same, but Alyssa couldn’t get her head around that idea.
Sarah, the eleven-year-old, was the first of the children I met. The day I arrived the other kids were away for the weekend so Sarah and I had lots of fun playing with her rabbits and going down the hill on their fancy BMW-branded sledge. Unfortunately, I was too heavy for the sledge and we lost control and hit a tree, breaking it completely, not a great start to my stay.
The oldest child, Tim, was a very much a boy. Always playing tricks on his sisters and parents and always keen for a wrestle. We had fun walking to his school one day and just having a chat.

Being the youngest child of four, I never had younger kids around me when I was growing up, so I never experienced the joy of being proud of younger siblings. My trip definitely changed this for me, though. I came away with a new family and three younger brothers and sisters.

I went to Switzerland hoping to improve my French and have a nice time away from the normal routine. And I certainly experienced both of those things. But the time I spent with my new family is a time I will never forget.

Matt van Geldermalsen

Shanghai University SILC Summer School Summer 2017

Shanghai, is a multifaceted city; a mixture of traditional and modern, and a mixture of Asian and Western culture. The Shanghai University SILC program was the perfect introduction to this enchanting city. The business classes, culture classes, Mandarin classes, tours and free time were all excellent but my favourite part of the program was the company I had. Shanghai University is extremely accommodating, especially the staff members and student volunteers (mentors). Even before I landed in China, I felt welcomed by Shanghai University through our interactions via email and of course, Wechat. My fellow peers from UTS were of course the highlight of the program for me. All the UTS students on the program (all females coincidentally) quickly bonded and we had a great time exploring the city together.

On the weekdays, we would have Mandarin language classes with Fairy, business lectures with different lecturers on their specialised area of teaching, various cultural classes such as traditional Chinese music and tea ceremony, and tours around different areas of the city. The rest of the time after class and on weekends, we had to ourselves to do whatever we wished. We really enjoyed the nightlife over there although some nights we did stay in for “Chinese TV and chill” just to unwind, play games and get to know each other better.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe traditional Chinese gardens and architecture were amazing to look at. It was simultaneously relaxing and exciting to explore. I also enjoyed interacting with the locals. We all had a great time using the Mandarin we learnt but when all else fails, there is always body language and pointing. 

The cool weather in Shanghai was a sweet relief in contrast to Sydney’s blazing heat. Although I did miss Sydney’s fresh air. Being over there made me grateful (not for the first time) for being able to live in a country where I have access to clean air and water. The differences in culture, language and lifestyles were interesting to observe and appreciate.

I was initially apprehensive that two weeks would be too short a time to explore such an exciting city but it was the perfect amount of time. It was sufficient enough for me to do the things I wanted to do but left me slightly wanting more. It was a good taster for the city. I will definitely visit again in the future where I will no doubt look back on this experience with amazing friends that I would never have met otherwise. I definitely recommend this program (or any other overseas opportunity) to fellow BUILD members.


 By Theresa Duong