Denise's Interview

Civil Engineering



From Germany

Civil Engineering


From Germany

German-born Denise spent most of her childhood in Germany where she studied a bachelor of business. She came to Australia several times when she was younger and fell in love with the country. She decided to apply for a student visa and a few weeks before her WHV expires. She started her course at the Southbank campus of TAFE Queensland.


Where have you lived during your studies?

I don’t like commuting for a long time, so it was a logical decision for me to live close to campus. I have been living in West End, Brisbane ever since I started studying and I can walk to campus in under 5 minutes. It is a really hip area and I can walk to the class which is epic.

How many days do you go to class per week?

At the start of my studies we had four days of class per week. Now that the end is approaching, we only have three days. Besides these, we also get homework and reading assignments. For an example: for structural engineering, we do a couple of calculating the beam weight questions in class and we get the rest as homework. That way the teachers are sure we understand what we have learnt. We also need to do a lot of drawings for projects at home.

Did you have a side job while studying?

This course is quite intensive and I don’t want to sacrifice my weekend, so I have decided not to do a side job for now. However, all most all of my class mates work at least part time. Many work in the industry where they did their vocational placement.

Did you do a vocational placement? If so, where?

Our course requires 240 hours of vocational work which I have just started completing. I am working for an engineering company in the city, which is only about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. Engineering companies often come to TAFE and leave their contact details.

How were your teachers?

Our teachers are not just teachers, but people with lots of experience in the field. They all have worked in the industry for many years. This is very interesting because they write their own material and they tell us everything they know from a real-life experience point-of-view. Some of them are experienced in more than one field, so they teach us several subjects. I have noticed that on some occasions it is difficult for them to go back to basics and explain things on the level of a student because they are already so knowledgeable.

Tell us about your classmates?

I became close friends with several of my classmates. We often have group assignments and we also study together so you really get to know each other well. For the lectures, we have a class of about 30 people, for the tutorials we are a smaller group of about 10 – 20. Everyone comes from different parts of the world: England, South America, China, India, France,… I am the only German.

What is the most difficult part about the course?

My course is not easy as many other courses, it requires a lot of hard work. The hardest subject is structural design and drafting. I have been studying hard though and learning a lot. I think when you enjoy what you are doing, you have a good time, even if it is difficult.

What is your favourite subject?

I absolutely love civil design and drafting. Figuring out where the water and sewage lines will go and connecting them to the houses,… It is very interesting.

How are the facilities?

We have some high-tech facilities with access to computers that have specific programs necessary for the job, such as drafting programs. We also get our subjects on ebooks. The campus is also great. Right in the middle of the city, with good transport and lots of restaurants.

What is your plan when you graduate?

I would love to get a job in a drafting and design company. I don’t really mind where in Australia it will be, I will go where the work is. I love the warm weather in Brisbane though.

How do you feel about the school?

I love the relationship we have with the teachers at TAFE. We can always ask them any questions, even if they are not the teacher of our course.


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