International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Meet our International Engineering Ambassadors: Sebina Kalawadwala

Sebina Kalawadwala

Course: MEng Civil and Structural Engineering

Nationality: Indian

Hi, first of all I’ll start by telling you a bit about myself. I am Sebina Kalawadwala, a first year Civil Engineering student from Gujarat, India. I have completed my 12th CBSE boards from Lancers Army School, Surat. I am passionate about sports, especially table tennis. A good stress reliever for me is listening to music or curling up in bed with a good book.

Now going to the most essential question, why I chose to study at the University of Sheffield and a more pressing one, what made me come here, hundreds of miles away from my home and family? Well to be honest the decision was not easy but I can tell you this, it is definitely worth it. I chose this University because I was looking for a very specific kind of course, i.e. MEng Civil and Structural Engineering, which is a 4 year integrated masters course. Not a lot of people know this but in the UK, as of now, there are only a handful of universities offering this course of which the University of Sheffield is the best. The University has a lot to offer in addition to their study programs, the Students’ Union has been voted, 4 times in a row, the best Students’ Union in the country. We have more than 300 societies and sports clubs - there is something for everyone here and if there isn't then they can start their own society.

What I love about my department?
The thing I love most is that here at the University it’s not all about theory; we are provided with real life hands-on practical experience. How? Let me give you an example. Through the study of Civil Engineering, everyone knows that one will go ahead in life to design and build bridges and other structures after gaining a deep understanding of the principles behind it, but would you expect a first year student to do the same? The answer will most definitely be no. Going ahead of the conventional thinking, we were asked to build a model bridge purely from our intuitions and qualitative judgment, excluding any sort of technical or mathematical calculation. Here we were given a brief which we had to strictly adhere to and, like a real life situation, we bought and sold materials, hence calculating the total cost of the bridge. Later we tested the bridge and, to avoid any penalties, we ensured that the latter was able to carry the required minimum load of 8kg.

Going through this exercise I am sure that I learnt a lot more than I ever could from any textbooks.  I am confident this exercise was just the tip of the iceberg - the department has a lot more to offer in the future. I am eagerly looking forward to my time here.

In my profile I could have gone on talking about numbers but personally I feel numbers are boring and you can never get a true sense of something from them, so instead I decided to write about one of my most cherished experiences and I hope it will give a feel of how studying at the University of Sheffield is. 

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