Hello, I’m Euan. I’m currently a second year student reading Materials Science and Engineering with Industrial Management (BEng).
I’ve just spent this past summer as an intern for BK AsiaPacific in Hong Kong.
I first applied for my internship through the University’s MyVacancies e-mail (an online jobs database for students). I wanted to get a feel for the business side of the Engineering world, with a focus on finance or law.
Whilst searching I came across Absolute Internship, a company that helps students from all over the world to gain valuable work experience in one of the following cities: London; Madrid; Beijing; Shanghai; Singapore; Hong Kong.
I applied to the one month internship program in Hong Kong, simply because I was there for a few days during my gap year and really wanted to experience the culture and food again. Furthermore, Hong Kong is where the East Asian culture blends well with the Western culture, and is the financial hub of the Asian market.
Absolute Internship is like a headhunting company; they find an internship, match your profile, help with the visa application and a place to stay during the internship. The process varies from person to person but for me, I applied and received a telephone interview. After passing the interview they helped to find a suitable company, in my case it was to be with BK AsiaPacific. I just had to fill in some paperwork for obtaining a visa and make sure my flights were booked and the accommodation was paid.
Alongside the placement, the company also organised several weekend trips and fun activities for all interns working in Hong Kong!
Photo © Euan Gray. Winner of the University of Sheffield Placements #TakeUsWithYou photo competition, ‘Best Creative’ Category.
BK AsiaPacific is a quantity surveying, engineering consultancy and claims company. The company is affiliated with many construction companies, not just in Hong Kong but globally. The work is very different from what you learn during the Materials course.
During the first few days, I had to understand what quantity surveying exactly is, plus bills of quantity, different engineering laws and a lot of civil engineering procedures. After a lot of reading and background research during the first week and a half, I was tasked with checking bills of quantities myself! Plus I had to read through and help with other claims work, and different contracts to identify which clauses were missing. As well as redesigning the fire route escape for the office, I attended a seminar on the topic of Building Information Modelling (BIM) software, New Engineering Contract courses and attended networking events hosted by the Lighthouse Club.
This experience has shown me that the Engineering field is very diverse and that the skills you gain during university can be transferable to other areas. Above all, I enjoyed working and living in a new environment. I think that if you are able to gain experience away from your own culture/country it gives you a much wider perspective of the world and makes your communication and adaptability better.
My advice: apply for placements, experience, jobs or volunteer! Do as many things as one can. Being busy is the best. Trying out new things and taking responsibility.