Bordeaux in two weeks

7pm, my last exam finished. 10pm I was on my flight to Europe. Crazy right? Two weeks before my flight I didn’t even know I was going to Europe, just the casual weekday leading into the exam week when I get an email from UTS BUILD regarding my application from several weeks back, “Congrats!” it says. An opportunity I would not miss, France was a destination I have wanted to visit since I was 3, when I use to live in Talatamaty in Madagascar. French was the language I had picked up first, as a result of living in Madagascar, although leaving all that behind and 17 years on I am now living in Australia, my love for France is still there.Now, 31 hours later, I arrive in Madrid. I spent a few days here before setting off for the summer program in Bordeaux. Europe lived up to my expectations so far, and the excitement only grew as I was travelling to Bordeaux from Madrid on the 29th of June.

The program was for a duration of 2 weeks, and consisted of daily lectures within the topics of ‘Sustainability within Civil Engineering’ which were eased into with an hour of French before it. Every day commenced at 9am, with an hour of French, a lecture, 1.5 hours of lunch break and then either another lecture or a site visit. Site visits were an amazing experience where the entire group got to experience the practical aspect of the lectures, some visits outside the engineering field were wine tours, these involved learning about the French vineyards and details about wine production.

Amongst the educational aspect of the program, the socialising opportunity was a great experience. I was the only student from Sydney, amongst 10 students from RMIT in Melbourne, few Chinese students and a few Korean students from Seoul. Making friends from different places around the world, yet connected by the same discipline of engineering was a unique experience. The usual day would finish at 5pm, after this the others along with myself gathered and went out to the city to soak up some French culture, either indulging in some French food or going to popular bars where we would meet others who are also travelling, or even appreciating the French architecture which was mind blowing as it was very different to what we are used to seeing in Sydney.

Some amazing work in the city I have captured are presented below.

The city of Bordeaux is a great place for students to study as the city is young, plenty of people out and about even until really late we still felt safe walking around the city. Sun set’s really late in Europe, so that was an experience in itself as we had plenty of day time to explore the city. This was weird at first as we’re use to such an early sunset back home!

Most of the city was covered with old French influenced architecture and it was maintained as such to be the centre of attraction in Bordeaux. However if you were to make a small effort to cross the Garonne river via the cities iconic ‘Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas’ bridge you come to discover this magnificent and alluring portrayal of the youth influence within the city. A location known as ‘Le Hangar Darwin’ where every wall boasts an eye catching piece of art through graffiti. The place is not filled with too many people at once however, you will come across a few locals who spend time with friends and of course the odd tourist like us who come to appreciate the contrasting nature of the city from the ‘left side’ to the ‘right side’ as the locals say.

A few of the works in ‘Le Hangar Darwin’ are shown below.

Overall, this short yet meaningful trip has taught me several things. It has shown me how to get through obstacles that you may face small or big, it has allowed me to gain confidence and step outside my comfort zone and do something out there. Most importantly, something I will keep with me for a lifetime; the new friendships and qualities which have been engraved into my personality from the duration of the trip. I strongly recommend this program for future students who seek something outside the normal university life and want to travel whilst adding value to their degree.

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

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.



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.


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


Can’t believe that two weeks have passed since i completed my Build abroad program at ECE Paris. Thinking about it, i realise that there are many things that i have to reflect upon. Within the month of July, i have made many new friends from many different other countries as well as million of memories. From just casual group picnics around the Champ De Mars drinking under the Eiffel tower, to climbing the tower itself as well as the Arc de Triomphe, trying many types of local food (*wink at the croissants), visiting the Louvre and many other museums, all the churches that i could manage to visit, and a few trips outside of the city to Disneyland and Versailles. One step at a time, let start at the beginning.

My first day started in a way that i would called well, as considering i have put a lot of research before coming to Paris. My program, Energy and Environmental Seminar, has the most applicants as compared to the other programs. Everyone was friendly and we got along really well, not to mention that  we were also fortunate enough to have a professor that was both funny and very passionate about what he was teaching. At the end of the day, we all went to have a picnic at Champ de Mars, where I got to meet more friends from the other programs.


Our program focused on the contents early on both current and emerging environmental issues that the world currently faces. Classes were usually entertaining because not only that we got to learn about issues other different countries are facing and what are the best current options to solve them, we got to interact with the issues based on many different types of board games or group works. Classes usually started at 8:30 and finished at 5 pm, afterwards were a free time which we usually used to hang out under Champ de Mars or local attractions such as museums, etc.20429918_1202368266533737_8528343876377180830_n.jpg

Friends that I met along the trip 🙂 Tisa, Emmanuel, Amy, Kamran, me and Tiberu, and Joseph (photographer 😉 )

For the second week of the program, we started moving on to a different area of study which was the corporate social responsibility as we participated in more assessable tasks such as a performing a presentation based on a company you picked, and a group game where we got ourselves into group, after picking a topic, we as a company had to come up with some solutions and the solutions that sound the best would end up win a box of macaron from the professor (the game ended in a 5 team tie, how odd!!!!). Not only that these activities taught me how to be creative and allowed me to think individually, it also improved my abilities on how to work better in a team, be a team player etc. Outside of class, I continue to met more friends, we visited Disneyland on the weekend, Arc De Triomphe on Bastille day, and Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame, Museum de Louvre, etc.

20597493_1202384143198816_3116638090692533730_n.jpg 20429674_1202374853199745_552788781666032454_n.jpg20376153_1202379626532601_7272505824488248370_n.jpg

In the third week, the program started to move on to energy and more physics based contents. Although the contents were challenging, we did find it interesting learning about the different type of energy to generate electricity and water and easy to relate to how I could I apply this knowledge to better use in the future or in different countries. The assessment for this week was a three way debate between 3 different type of energies: Fossil Fuels, Nuclear, and Renewable Energy in which the professor thought that out of the 5 years that they had been running this program, our debate was the best one yet, as everyone was so involved in it and we had such a good time. With most of the local attractions have been visited, we now turned into the food. Throughout the week, we have tried Snails (fun fact: they taste like liquid garlic bread”, we tried the special rum steaks at the Latin Quarter (the one hour wait was worth it), but out of all we had a blast at this famous Korean restaurant at Korean town, where I had found a new addiction in rice wine and for some reason I kept trying to put on a Nashville accent as I pronounced it as “Rhas Whine”.


Moving on to the last week, where mostly all the cultural activities happened. there were no new contents learnt this week as we had to revise and sit final exams the day before I left Paris. We went for a rowing trip at Bois De Bologue, we had a picnic as a whole school under the Champ de Mars, as well as a school excursion to the Science Museum. These cultural activities not only allowed me to bond more with my newly made friends, but they also shaped up a new perspective I have on Paris.


To sum it up, it would be fair to say that this trip has been a phenomenal one. Paris has been an absolute blast for me. From the early busy morning train commute to those late night picnic under the Champ de Mars, I just still can’t get enough of it.  This trip not only had given me many new friends, but it also improved all my personal skills as well as helped me gain a whole different perspective on things which I would be able to adapt and utilise throughout my life.


Global Conflict & Diplomacy, Paris- July 2016

Attending a two week course in Paris to study global conflict and diplomacy was definitely not how I envisaged my winter break at the beginning of the year. Yet halfway through the semester, the opportunity arose through BUiLD to spend two weeks immersed in culture, history, long summer days and crepes! 

My pre-departure into Paris was frantic, I had the trip to organise, people to see and final exams to prep for. Yet, departure came swiftly and before I knew it I was on a plane bound for Paris!

All my apprehensions regarding Paris were dissipated within arrival. I spent my first weekend before school started soaking in the rich history of Paris, as well as consuming my body weight in food! 

My experience at the Paris School of Business was unlike one I’ve ever had before. The staff are always kind and willing to help, the friendships and connections you make with people from all around the world are priceless and the content of the course itself is something that can only be understood if experienced firsthand. The courses were intensive, as they were conducted in 4-hour blocks, and were taught by world renowned professors in their field of international relations. Professors included directors of the NGO Doctors Without Borders, a director in the French foreign ministry, a director at UNESCO and many more! However, the French system was unique in that despite the intensive theoretical filled mornings and debates, all afternoons comprised of field trips around Paris that complemented the theory learnt. Over the two weeks, we had guided tours of UNESCO, visited the Opera Garnier, went on a day trip to Reims, visited the Notre Dame cathedral, the Louvre Museum, the Palace of Versailles and the French military museum where Napoleon Bonaparte’s museum is located, to name a few! 

The decision to go to France was one that is unregrettable, as not only did I leave my comfort zone, but my enrolment in the Paris School of Business allowed me to meet so many new and amazing people that I made instantaneous friendships with. The friends I made at the school not only aided me in class, but we also all genuinely enjoyed each other’s company and chose to spend the rest of the day after school together exploring the city as well as during weekends!