A group of engineering students from La Trobe University travelled to China as guests of Tianjin University of Technology. Their two-week trip examined engineering practice and procedures in a fast-developing nation.
The group included six electronic engineering students from the Melbourne campus and four civil engineering students from the Bendigo campus.
"Visiting China was an eye-opening experience for our students," says Dennis Deng, Associate Professor in Engineering at La Trobe University who supervised the trip. "China is a country that has huge and ambitious building development projects. It was a great benefit for students to see the practical applications of their study carried out on such an enormous scale."
The two groups of students visited construction sites, engineering companies and technology start-ups. Highlights included seeing an entire metro system that had built in its entirety within 3 years, and a single site where four high-rise buildings were under construction.
"Visiting the manufacturers and university labs gave us a small peek into the business and educational side of China's economic growth," says Alex Newsome, an electronic engineering student. "It was really terrific to get a chance to see some actual production lines and listen to the proud managers and staff members explain their future ambitions."
"China as a whole is one marvellous engineering project," says Dr Eddie Custovic, Industry Project Coordinator for Engineering at La Trobe University. "Everywhere you look there are major engineering projects and as such students were exposed to things they normally don't have access to in Australia. They had the chance to embrace the truly global nature of the Engineering profession."
Dr Custovic also explored the option of placing La Trobe University engineering students into Chinese engineering companies for a six-month work integrated learning program.
"Given the economic drive from China we will see more and more collaboration between our countries," says Dr Custovic. "It is important for La Trobe students to get a sense of the global context of the engineering world."
As part of their trip the students held two presentations for staff and students at the Tianjin University of Technology, giving an overview of the curriculum and their learning experience at La Trobe University as well as reflecting on what they saw and learnt in their time in China.
The study tour was funded by La Trobe University with assistance from the Asiabound Grant, part of the Study Assist Program of the Department of Education, Australia.