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

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Civil and Structural Engineering Internship

My three month vacation this year was not at all like any other I have ever had before. Usually when I have vacation from school, it means you stay home and watch a lot of movies, catch up on all the shows that you've missed during the year. But this year, although I had planned for the same, I was greeted by something very different.

My name is Balgovind Ranjith, a second year student of The University of Sheffield studying Bachelors in Civil and Structural Engineering. Click on my name to view my profile! After witnessing a lot of my seniors going around town working for the university or businesses in the city, and hearing of what they've done over their vacations, I had decided that an internship was best for me to gain a sort of real world experience is what I need to learn and increase my employability. I had worked up an opportunity to work at a construction site through my dad's contacts (my dad who conveniently works in the same field as I study!).

Bouygues Construction, a French contracting firm, starting their first construction project in India and I was part of it for a month! There wasn't a lot that the firm could allow me to do as an intern, but I still got to do odd jobs here and there. The first week, I found a database that they were using that could be refined. I asked for it, and I got the work. Using excel skills that most students nowadays would have and a lot of 'Googling', I transformed that database into a program effortlessly does exactly what you want. Other than that, I got the opportunity to work shadow a site engineer, follow him down into raft excavations to witness how work is done there, what it means to be a site engineer, their responsibilities and difficulties. Towards the latter half of my month there, I was responsible in handling a steel bar fabrication yard! I was kept in charge of a team of fabricators to make sure the work being done was correct, to address any issues in the yard and most importantly, to make sure work was being at all!

After a month there, to get a feel of both halves of my structural engineering world, I worked in a consulting firm. Buro Happold, a consulting firm based in Bath with an office in Mumbai. The engineers after being incredibly surprised of all the content that I've already learnt in my first year in Sheffield, gave me a whole building to design. Although that may seem daunting to a first year engineering student, it honestly wasn't. The engineers there were incredibly friendly, and appreciated me going there to learn. They pointed me in the right directions as long as I was willing to google the rest. In the end of a month working there, I completed the design of 23 storied building, including earthquake design and wind loads (which are really complicated stuff! Just saying). Also, a little trivia I found out while working there, Buro Happold was the firm that designed the structures of the Winter Gardens in Sheffield and also played a role in renovating the infrastructure in Endcliffe and Ranmoor. I can't tell you why exactly, but I got very excited when I found that out.

Overall, the decision taken to work over my vacations was one of the best in my life. I've learned an incredibly vast amount over the short duration of just two months. Content that would put me at an advantage during my course and even later on. The other benefits of this being that in the short term, I didn't waste my vacation away and in the long term this would be a significant boost to my career. An internship is something I would recommend to any ambitious student, be it work you get through your connections or by applying formally, work in Sheffield or at home. It will be worth it.

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