Learning the elements of large edifices

luxury of experimenting

Learning the elements of large edifices

I  was raised in Dubai, an ever-changing city with new, striking buildings popping up by the day. For a long time, I knew I wanted to be related in some way in making these mega structures.

My father is a structural engineer and his whole stream seems so interesting to me when he describes all the projects he has done and the innovations in engineering that has been made to allow crazy structures like the ones in Dubai. This led me to choose civil engineering as my bachelor’s degree.

I chose the University of Sheffield after months of research on the internet and visiting countless numbers of university fairs. It is among the top 10 universities in the UK for civil engineering. I have also received the GREAT scholarship from the British Council for my studies at the University.

The course I have picked allows me to work in a civil engineering firm in the third year of my studies. I had interned in an entertainment park called Adlabs Imagica in Mumbai. It was an excellent opportunity for me to go behind the scenes of all the huge rides and understand the mechanics of the components that make each ride work. This is why I think a year in industry would be a great experience for me.

Home-like feel

Although I haven’t been in Sheffield for too long, I have come to really love this city. Maybe it’s the interesting course or the awesome company. My course here motivates me to think beyond the mere design of a building. It makes me think about the effect of what I do on the environment, on ways to use the properties of our planet to your benefit.

We started a large bridge building project within the first few weeks of university itself, where we designed and constructed a scaled model of a bridge from scratch.

I am also a part of the Indian Society here and that’s helped me meet a lot of people who have helped me feel like at home. The Diwali party they had arranged was very homely and made me feel like I was back in my country, celebrating it with my friends.

Another part that I love about my choice of coming to the University of Sheffield is the Diamond. The Diamond is a newly finished building, an investment of 81 million pounds, has specialist teaching facilities for engineering students and over 1,000 study spaces, which are available 24/7 for staff and students across the University. The building contains a number of labs with a large variety of tools and machinery that can be used by us during our course. It also contains computer labs scattered around the building and over all, it is an absolute beauty. You will find something to do here always..

I have got the chance to work in a few of the labs myself, mainly the materials and structures labs. In the past few weeks, we got to use tools to figure out the hardness of materials and flow rates of fluids. My ongoing project now is to build a model bridge in the project lab space with wood, paper, string and foam and analyse how this bridge works (or doesn’t).For this project, we get to use CAM tools like laser cutters, 3D printers and many other machineries. It becomes a lot more interesting to learn when you have the ability to make structures and do things by hand, rather than watch a video or read a textbook. That is probably the major difference between studying here and if I were studying back in India.

By doing things by ourselves in labs, it becomes a lot easier to recall specifics and relate to the ideas. We have the freedom to experiment with our notions, get things right or wrong, and learn from it rather than being told what is right.

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