Allez lez Bleus!

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. 


– Keelan

Chinese Language and Doing Business in China

Share the experiences of three students who completed the Shanghai University-UTS SILC Winter School Program.

Group calligraphy lessons


How did this BUILD Abroad Program relate to your course or future goals?

As a business student, the SILC program offered subjects that were particularly helpful for my management course. It was basically a crash course about business in China, covering Chinese economics, human resources , and entrepreneurship, which are exactly the subjects I’m learning in the spring session. SILC allowed me to view my management course through an international perspective which will be definitely helpful for my future. The business tours SILC arranged were particularly helpful as they allowed us to see what we learnt in action ! They took us to Coca-Cola and Sinsun (a very innovative robotics company).

– Chia


What was the most memorable/impactful part of this BUILD Abroad Program?

The most memorable part of the experience was when some friends and I took the train to a city called Hangzhou, only 1 hour out of Shanghai. We spent the whole day there exploring different temples and pavilions, enjoying the views of the lake, joining in with locals dancing by the water, and of course eating delicious food! It was a little get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Shanghai and it allowed us to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of Chinese culture and history!

– Hugo


Is there anything that you would recommend to be changed or improved in this BUILD Abroad Program?

There is very little I would change about the experience! The program was organised well, allowing students to learn some everyday phrases in mandarin, achieve an insight into Chinese culture as well as experience one of the world’s most incredible cities! I am very grateful to the BUILD team for providing me with the opportunity!

– Luke


To find out more about SILC and other BUILD Abroad programs check out our BUILD Short-term Program Database.

Teaching kids in the Himalayas


In August 2018, seven students from the UTS School of Education set off to teach in Paro, Bhutan. It was two weeks of non-stop adventure. We explored temples and climbed mountains in between the lesson planning and actual teaching.

A small country located in the eastern Himalayan region, Bhutan’s culture has been largely unaffected by bordering nations due to the high mountainous peaks that surround it.

We stayed in Paro, which is considered the third largest ‘city’ in Bhutan. It’s about the size of Newtown in Sydney, with only about 20,000 people living there. Bhutan’s streets are crawling with wild dogs and there is not a single traffic light in the whole country.


Bhutan’s crime rate is very low. Most of the local people practice Buddhism, and perhaps as a result, are extremely friendly and welcoming. Bhutanese people are known for being the happiest people on Earth, and this is definitely evident when meeting them.

English is one of the national languages of Bhutan and is widely spoken in urban areas, so you can easily get by without knowledge of the other 28 local languages.


Bhutan’s highest point is 7,570 metres above sea level (while Mount Everest is 8,848 metres). Fortunately for my poor legs, we only climbed a peak of 3,120 metres to Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery, which is located on the edge of a mountain as shown in the picture below. There were a lot of steps and steep tracks. It took us half a day to climb up to the top but we managed to make it inside.

The sense of achievement that followed us around as we viewed each room in the temple was profound. Many spectacular large golden Buddha statues and other deities glittered at us from above, tapestries and murals lined the walls and a number of Buddhist monks were praying or walking around in their rich red and yellow robes. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

A rainbow shot over the sky as we looked out at the view from the fair side of monastery, but unfortunately we were not allowed phones or cameras whilst on the sacred grounds (so I didn’t manage to snap a picture of the pot of gold), but I don’t think a photo would have done it justice.

The harder part was walking back down the mountain, as it had rained and the track was quite slippery. It was slow going, but we managed to make it back down to the base camp. We finished the hike off with a delicious picnic provided by our hosts from the Paro College of Education and then went and soaked in some hot stone baths to relax our stiff muscles.


Teaching in Bhutan was insightful and a lot of fun. The students at Khangkhu Middle Secondary School were very respectful compared to some of the students you’d find in Australia. They addressed you as ‘Madam’, would stand up every time you entered a room and wouldn’t sit down again until you gave them permission to do so.


Since Bhutan is such a small nation, visitors from a place like Australia are practically unheard of. We were treated like celebrities by the students throughout the two weeks of teaching. Students actually asked each of us for autographs, holding out their hand or a piece of paper with a quick “May I have your signature, Madam?”. On the last day, the students showered us with small gifts and some of the younger kids were reduced to tears. It was hard saying goodbye.

The food in Bhutan was magnificent. It’s very easy to be vegetarian here, as many of the locals are for cultural reasons. We ate a lot of delicious dumpling-style food that the Bhutanese called Momos. Bhutanese people love their food to be spicy, and often serve chilli sauce with every thing, especially Momos.


I would highly recommend visiting if you ever have the chance. Bhutanese people are very proud of their country and they have every reason to be. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place with rich culture, great food and friendly people.

It’s clear to see why Bhutan uses a Gross National Happiness index to measure their population’s collective happiness and wellbeing. Their motto, ‘Happiness is a place’ is spot on.

Blogpost by Stefanie Carmody.


Sustainable Development in Metropolitan Bordeaux

Bonjour Madame, Monsieur,

Hello, I’m Celina, back from a BUILD Abroad Trip in Bordeaux, France, a region very well known for its wine. During June-July 2018, I attended a Summer School run by the Bordeaux Institute of Technology where I studied ‘Sustainable Development in Metropolitan Bordeaux’. The main topic the subject revolved around, was sustainable development and the consequences of global warming and so we learnt and saw how Bordeaux Metropole tackled relating issues in the surrounding region. Its move towards sustainable development policies, education and research to implement initiatives that created a greener and better quality of life to its citizens.

Whilst this was outside my topic of study, they provided eye-opening information on how we can adapt and live a greener life. For example, in France, two years ago on the 1st of July 2016 they banned plastic bag use in supermarkets whereas this has just been implemented in New South Wales. They have also implemented policies to reduce traffic entering the city and making it more accessible and inviting for pedestrians. In addition to sustainability subjects we were also given French lessons. Our daily French lessons also meant that we got settled in relatively quickly, picking up enough French to get around and order food, albeit a bit awkwardly at first.  Learning a language in the country it is spoken in is an experience I’d recommend to anyone, it is a much faster paced learning experience, not in the meaning that you are rushed but because you need to use it all the time outside of class, we all picked up the language relatively quickly.

Outside of class, Bordeaux Institute of Technology had also organised cultural events, starting off with Wine and Cheese, there were also cooking lessons, a tour of the Museum of Wine and finally finishing off the Summer school with a farewell dinner. And these weren’t all, as a class we also organised outings into the city, a trip to a music festival, a ballet and a tour of the vineyards with some wine tasting at an estate in Saint Emilion, a region near Bordeaux also famous for its red wine.

Overall with daily sessions and dinner meetups it wasn’t hard before the group of us were fast friends even with our varying backgrounds in study and origin. I now have new friends from China, Korea, Morocco as well as students from RMIT in Melbourne. This trip is an unforgettable experience I’d recommend to anyone willing to give it a go.



Rural India and I

I was recently fortunate enough to be selected to join a group of university students across Australia, in an invaluable and unforgettable experience. Working in rural India with a social enterprise.


The social enterprise I was working with is known as 40K Plus. I was a part of the Media/Marketing project, this meant in a team of four we would be creating and collecting content, to form the three microdocumentary’s which would make up the marketing materials that 40K can use for audiences such as future investors/partners, university students and much more.


The whole experience was amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone who is up for a rewarding challenge.  Not only did I learn about business structures, cinematography, photography, using programs such as Adobe Premier Pro to edit footage, but I also learnt how to be dependent, financial stable, how to work in a team and how to be a leader. From being in rural village to and pitching one on one pitch to the Indian CEO of 40K, I have learnt so much about India, social enterprises and myself.


The marketing material made for 40K is now the first piece of content I can put in my portfolio, which I will be able to show for future job interviews or even other programs/internships that I apply for.


During the program we had a couple days each week to do our own travel, in this time I was able to complete the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra & Jaipur) as well as explore some of the most beautiful places, I had never heard of, these include, Mysore and Hampi.


One of the best parts is, all these skills I have learnt while on the program are transferable for all my future studies, career prospects and life experiences, this trip is definitely an experience I will never forget.


By Sofia Warwar

Bordeaux Institute of Technology Sustainable Development Summer School

39036839_463190067483665_2843522277008474112_nTravelling 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.


Shanghai University SILC Summer School – a Place for Food, Friends and perhaps making a Fortune?

If you were to ask me why I would return to Shanghai, my straight up answer would be for the food.

$6 for 12 steamed pork, soup dumplings (Xiaolongbao) from Jia Jia Tang Bao

It was delicious, as well as cheap. $4 for fried rice prepared right in front of you, $6 for 12 traditionally-made dumplings, $13 per person for Korean-BBQ, and the list goes on. Why would you need a kitchen inShanghai when there’s so much good food around?

Besides the food, travelling to Shanghai was an experience of a lifetime. Not only because this was my first time away without parents (freedom!), but because of the amazing things I got to see and learn. You realise how much more independent you have to become, like packing your bags to make everything fit, trying not to get lost and (attempting) to keep a budget. But hey, that’s all part of the fun and adventure. And once you get a taste of exploration, you’d want to be arranging your next travel plans very soon.


The ‘Doing Business in China’ module broadened my understanding of the country’s business environment. Our lectures were on Chinese Business Culture, Economics and Innovation and Entrepreneurship, followed by site visits to three Chinese incubators. I learned that there are over 500+ incubators in Shanghai alone, with the government encouraging its citizens to take on entrepreneurship as a career path. Even the teachers were passionate about connecting with SILC-UTS students and prompting them to start a business in China. It would be a crazy mission to find something that would suit a population of over 1 billion people, let alone Shanghai’s population of around 24 million people (equivalent to Australia’s population), but who knows what the future holds. With big risks come (possibly) big fortunes!

I also had the chance to meet new people and make friends from UTS, Shanghai, UK, and Germany universities. They were great companions to venture out with to restaurants, shopping centres and pretty much anywhere in Shanghai. Plenty of laughs and fun to share!


Inside their trains during non-peak hour

We also had tours and lots of free time to explore Shanghai on our own will. In terms of transport, buses were hired for tours, but we mainly used the efficient metro system to get around the city. Trains came every three minutes, cost less than $1 and they were extremely fast. Let’s hope CityRail reads this too.

There were also cheap and quick taxi services, with DD being the main application to order taxis (it is like Uber). They have lots of great applications but most of them require that you can read and understand Chinese.


Shanghai offers a range of wondrous sights, ranging from their main tourist attraction, The Bund, to the bustling markets near Yu Gardens. For me, everything was a sight to see as the environment is very different from a typical Sydney street. There are many small stores, different types of restaurants and food choices and sometimes you wonder if you will ever see blue sky (and yes, we eventually did). Some places I went to include…

The Bund

A waterfront area looking over the Huangpu River towards Shanghai’s financial hub. The best time to visit is on a clear night, where you get to see all the bright coloured lights, glimmering over the water’s edge. I went on a very smoggy day, so I wasn’t able to get the best panorama shots, but it was still worth the view.



East Nanjing Road

Shop ‘till you drop along Shanghai’s main shopping district. Here there are many major fashion brands including H&M, Uniqulo, Forever 21, Nike, Adidas, etc. You can spend an entire day here just roaming through the stores, seeing what China fashion has to offer.

Shanghai World Tower

The world’s 2nd tallest tower, with 118 levels. I went right before sunset to catch a glimpse of Shanghai while there was still light and I stayed until night fell and the city lit up.

A quick tip – make sure to bring your Student ID as you get tickets for 50RMB cheaper!

Yu Gardens 

Built more than 400 years ago during the Ming Dynasty, this garden puts on a display of natural beauty and artistry. If you love getting up close to nature, this is the place for you! Beyond the garden, there is a bustling marketplace where you can get a taste of street food, see Shanghai’s traditional buildings and perhaps grab some souvenirs. I was able to eat a crab soup dumpling and Tang Yuan (sweet rice balls with black sesame filling). Heaps to eat and heaps to do!


A residential area within the French Concession (originally designated for the French), this place is home to restaurants, bars and small shops (great for souvenirs). I devoured their fried cheese and sausage hot-dogs, a whole coconut cut out of its shell and long potato chips drizzled with tomato sauce – all DELICIOUS! There were also some creative dumplings shaped like animals, flowers and other objects; I never got to try them but they looked cute and sweet!


In all honesty, all your Disney dreams won’t come crashing down if you don’t get a chance to visit Disneyland. Since it was peak season (summer holidays for Shanghai students), the waiting lines were crazy (about 8 hours of my day was spent waiting in line). Not to mention the searing heat and amount of people that were there, my Disneyland fun was slightly tainted. Even getting there at 6.30am in the morning didn’t save my friends and I from the crowds, and by the end of it we had become pools of sweat and we were exhausted. There were still heaps of great things to experience like the night-time fireworks and the awesome animatronics, but if you are a thrill-seeker like me, perhaps Happy Valley would be your amusement park of choice instead.


My motto in China: “If it looks good and its cheap, get it”. Food was the least of my worries in Shanghai – walk down the street and there was bound to be something tasty. Their popular convenience store chain “Family Mart” was everywhere, selling bread, fish balls on skewers, steamed buns, drinks, ice-cream, microwave-meals and much, much more. My food highlights included…

Yi Dian Dian

Best. Bubble. Tea. Ever. I had it about 5 times because it was so damn good and cheap (about $3 for a large). There were also other sweets you could add to the tea like ice-cream and cream cheese, which I suggest you try (cause they’re good too!). Coming back to Australia, I am now disappointed with all bubble tea stores :’( .


Never have I had such an amazing hot-pot place in my life. This place provided one of the best restaurant services I had ever seen, offering drinks and snacks while my friends and I were waiting for a seat, hand massages and a chance to make paper crane origami (for everyone you make, you get 0.5 yuan off your meal). When we got our table, we were given an apron, glasses wipes, a hair-tie and a seal-lock bag for our phone. Staff always tended to our needs and the food was delicious. Though, be careful when selecting a spicy hot-pot – we ordered the least spicy pot and it still burnt our throats!


Shanghai’s Starbucks Roastery

If you’re a coffee connoisseur, check out the largest Starbucks in the world! This two-level building offers much more than your regular expresso – mouth-watering pastries and desserts, different fusions of tea and coffee + ice-cream. It’s definitely a nice place to go with some mates to chill and chat over some good food and beverages.


More Random Food Pics to Make You Hungry


Shanghai offers many sights and activities so you won’t get bored (or hungry) during your stay. Something I regret is not being able to travel to the outskirts and see the traditional life of Shanghai in comparison to the bustling city life. You will be limited on time (I was lucky I had booked for another week) to see more of Shanghai, so either spend a few more days before or after the program if you want to experience more of China or choose wisely where you really want to go.

I loved it over there, I hope you do too!

– Jamie Chan


NB: For more information about the program, read the UTS Build Abroad description for 2018:

Meanwhile, in sunny San Sebastian…

Over the past winter holidays, I had the amazing opportunity of visiting San Sebastián, Spain alongside three wonderful engineering peers. It was a two week engineering pro gram at the University of Navarra. The four of us from UTS had been split up into two of the three available courses, one focusing on drug development (biomedical engineering), and the other focusing on robotics.

After finding out that I had been accepted into the program, I was both very excited and anxious. I had many concerns regarding accommodation and transportation, as I had never travelled to Europe prior to this. However, this anxiety was largely alleviated very soon after, as I was able to meet the three other students that would be joining me in Spain through the mandatory workshop. We managed to coordinate our flights and accommodation, finding a great airbnb apartment within 10 minutes walking distance from the campus!

The two week course itself was structured very well. Each day, we had class from 9am till 1:30pm, with a lunch break in between the two sessions. The classes were run by Dr Jacobo Paredes, Mr. Javier Aldabai, and Dr. Kiana Aran. These three professors were very knowledgeable and helpful, being highly qualified professionals in the field of biomedical engineering. We had lectures, computer labs and biomedical laboratory experiments for each topic we had covered. As well as this, we were assigned fun challenges such as designing a pill with various enzyme specific coats, with the objective of reaching a specific part of the body. These exercises really allowed us to consolidate what we had learned, as well as allowing for creative freedom. The professors placed a strong focus on discussion, which I very much enjoyed. They had allowed all of us to share our ideas and encouraged us to think outside the box. It was very exciting to learn that Dr Kiana and Dr Jabobo had actually worked together on a drug mechanism known as MucoJet, which was very recently FDA approved and funded!

While the content we were learning was really interesting, the course structure had also allowed for a lot of interaction and socialisation with other engineering students. Us UTS students were joined by 30 other American students, with the majority of them coming from the University of Michigan. During our scheduled dinners and city tours, we were all able to interact and share stories. I can’t promise that I have nailed the American accent, but I have many new funny phrases under my belt that I was very excited to learn.

Overall, I found the two week course to be such an amazing and memorable experience. It went by way too fast! Before I knew it, I was back at the airport, ready to embark on my 30 hour adventure home.20180626_143414.jpg20180625_182757.jpg20180625_143646.jpg

I was so honoured and proud to be representing UTS overseas, especially having discovered such amazing peers through this program! I would definitely recommend this to everyone, as I am sure I will be babbling on about this for years to come.

Thank you so much to UTS build for giving me this opportunity, and I hope I’ll be able to do something as amazing as this again soon!

Amy Sorattanachai

Paris – City of Love


I spent two weeks in Paris studying Luxury Brand Management at the Paris School of Business.  The weather is absolutely wonderful over there, summer in Paris is so different compared to Sydney.  The sunsets don’t come until 10 pm, with night time being quite short. The summer weather was so comfortable at 27 degrees.

We went on many after school excursions as a group, visiting places including the Montparnasse building which shows 360 degree views of Paris. There was also so much food to taste which definitely added to the experience.

The study period was very short and quite fun. I can’t speak any French myself, however,  all the classes are taught in English so there wasn’t a real language barrier. It was a great experience if you are willing to get to know new cities and their culture.



Champs Elysees
well known for its theatres, cafés, and luxury shops 



Petit Palais: art gallery of sytle éclectique ou beaux arts


a collection of streetshots




Photo credit @ yanmartea

A Fashionable Summer in Milano, July 2018

Milano… the fashion capital of the world that lived up to my every expectation.

My three week program ‘Fashion and Design Management’ at the University of Bocconi was something i had been planning and hoping of getting into for two years. The University in it’s self is one of the top 10 business university’s in Europe and the actual program ‘Fashion and Design management’ was exemplary. From the abundant knowledge the lecturers shared to the fun and cultural excursions to Valentino headquarters in Milan, Gucci Gallery in Florence and MAC Cosmetics. We had extremely experienced people in the Fashion industry come to the University as guest speakers and provide knowledge on the companies they work for. The companies they represented were Kering Eyewear, Intercos and GCDS. It was extremely valuable to hear experts in the industry share their knowledge  and insights.


A great attribute of doing a BUILD Abroad program is the diverse cultures and people that you meet. There were people from 43 different countries doing a summer program at the University of Bocconi which allowed me to make friends from all over the world. The friends i made will be life long friends and i plan on visiting them in the future. Countries where they were from included Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and France.

My apartment was situated in a suburb called Brera, which is the fashion and arts district of Milan. The first morning of waking up, i sat on my little balcony over looking a lively bunch of restaurants, bars, fruit stalls and old churches. I could smell the roasting of coffee and croissants… my favourite! I instantly  knew the next few weeks of living there would go beyond my expectations.


On the weekends i had time off from the university program, so made sure to make the most of being in Italy. I travelled to Lake Como for the first weekend and Sicily for the second. Conveniently some of my friends from UTS were doing abroad studies as well so we were able to meet up in these locations. I can say that a lot of pizza, pasta and Aperol Spritz were thoroughly enjoyed! We spent our days swimming off the rocks in Sicily, exploring old Italian ruins and enjoying the local cuisine.


Although this experience only lasted 3 weeks, i have gained so much knowledge not only in the industry of fashion and design management but also personal experience of putting myself in an unfamiliar environment and pushing through those moments of  uncertainty to gain unforgettable moments of clarity, excitement and a whole new love for a city which was once unfamiliar.

This course has brought me closer to understanding what i would like to gain and the direction i would like to take in my career. Since i have one semester left, this course and it’s timing has been invaluable to me.

Written by Sophie Brownie Booker