By Casey Stribbell
It’s been exactly one year since Eduardo Sequeira graduated from TIS. He’s had a full school year to be on his own and immersed in university life in a country that is the “polar opposite” of Macau.
“I’ve just finished my first year studying in Canada, at the University of British Columbia in the Okanagan region of BC,” says Ed, “The course that I am studying is Applied Science, or engineering.”
Most universities that offer applied science engineering begin the program with a general year for students who are just starting out. This way, students can “experience and learn things common to the main bodies of engineering”—civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical [engineering]. However at UBCO, the first two years are considered general years, so students have additional time to choose a particular specialization in engineering instead of immediately choosing one after the first year—which Ed says is something that is “interesting and truly useful about UBC Okanagan.”
While studying at UBCO, Ed has been a part of some hands-on activities and particularly exciting events.
“Since UBC focuses a fair bit on ‘real life’ experiences and learning, for one of my courses, I got to work with the British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association—the BCSEA acting as our client. We had to come up with an effective plan to raise awareness about our energy consumption and to get people more inclined towards wanting to make a difference in the world—slowly saving and healing the world by being more aware of energy consumption, and what we can do lessen our negative impacts on the world.”
Other out-of-class activities included the annual trebuchet competition organized by the Engineering Society, and the national concrete toboggan competition.
Not only has Ed had to adapt to university life at UBCO, but also to a country with scenery and weather totally opposite to Macau. While Macau is a small city located at sea level, the Okanagan area of BC is a “beautiful rocky and mountainous area, with ski hills nearby in the winter, and trails though the mountains and forests for hiking or mountain biking.”
“Macau is a hot and humid place where the seasons more or less blend, but Kelowna has extremely well defined seasons, with the temperatures reaching almost -20 degrees Celsius on the coldest winter days, and can get as high as 30 degrees Celsius on the hottest summer days,” Ed says.
However, he admits that it wasn’t the weather that was the biggest difference, but rather living in a place with so much open space. Ed has lived in Macau for 18 years so traveling to Canada and living 8 months out of the year there was a huge change. He went from the small city of Macau that is “so compact, so packed, with over half a million people” to Kelowna, where there is “so much space,” and “breathtaking vistas.” He seems to like the change of scenery.
Ed is back home for the summer doing an internship at LECM, the Laboratory of Civil Engineering in Macau. During his internship, he has been able to shadow a team of engineers and watch them at work on construction sites where he gets to see first hand what civil engineers do and what problems they face over the course of a project. The team of engineers who have temporarily “adopted” Ed are working on the Macau Light Rail system, which will span across Taipa and eventually connect to and expand in Macau.
“I get to watch the workers move about the site, see the chain of command, meet the chiefs of the construction project, watch solutions that have been implemented, as well as observe the quality control on the sites. It’s very fun and it’s a priceless experience, especially for someone who is considering specializing in civil engineering,” Ed explained.
Ed is content about his choice of studying engineering. He says that if you have a passion for engineering, “a natural curiosity as to how things work and if you get excited by the latest technologies—by how bridges and building are being built—if you like asking why, and how, if you are willing to work hard, then you can and will excel.”
“I am loving every second of my time at UBCO, and I am loving every challenge that I am faced with in the courses. I cannot wait to return to Canada and begin my second year of engineering,” Ed concluded.