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Simon Yiheng Lu

From high school in Nanjing to studying English and engineering at Ara Institute of Canterbury to an engineering career in New Zealand, Simon Yiheng Lu has come a long way. His advice for aspiring young engineers is to follow his lead.

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As one of the largest tertiary education institutes in New Zealand, Ara excels at providing pathways for international students. Students from China and all over the world come here to study English in preparation for studying qualifications in the career of their choice.

Simon chose Ara for the small class sizes, affordable fees, the excellent reputation of Ara in both China and New Zealand and because the Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil) is recognised in many countries.

After three years at Ara, Simon knows he made the right choice.

After completing his qualification in civil engineering, Simon secured a job with the Dunedin City Council as a graduate hydraulic modeller. The programme gave him the skills and experience to prepare for this future employment.

Most important, he says, was “the connections - Ara always helped me to make connections between the industry and the school.” This enabled him to “understand the latest technologies that applied in the industry, make connections with the industry professions and reduce the gap between the book knowledge and the real-life practices.”

Students take field trips to see how engineering skills are used in the workplace. “It is very helpful for us to have a better understanding of our future work and make connections with the local engineering companies so we can have a deeper understanding of the knowledge from the textbook. We can ask questions of the professionals in the industry and get the latest information and technical knowledge.”

Simon is enjoying his work with the Dunedin City Council. “The purpose of hydraulic modelling is inspecting the existing water supplying performance and predicting the demands in the future,” he says. Simon’s daily job includes updating the existing water, wastewater and stormwater models.

“From the three years studying at Ara, I had a good understanding of the water supply in the urban area, stormwater designs for new subdivisions, and capacity and demand calculations for wastewater systems.”

Simon also enjoyed student life at Ara, making many new friends and attending events on campus. “I really appreciate that Ara can provide such a good studying environment and resources, and I strongly recommend Ara to every young people who wants to be an engineer.”

in July 2017, the Department of Engineering and Architectural Studies moved into a brand new purpose-designed building on campus, making Ara even more exciting for engineering students.