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Building his way to a better future: Tuan's story

This article appears in: Alumni stories, Engineering, High school to uni
Engineering student graduate Tuan Thai Darwin waterfront

Tuan’s decision to go to university wasn’t a difficult one. From Year 9 he was keen to pursue further study to broaden his career opportunities and better himself as an individual.

With the support and encouragement of his family, Tuan applied to study engineering at CDU.  He’s never looked back.

“I choose the degree at CDU because it offered the civil and structural engineering components that I wanted and offered flexible study options,” says Tuan.

Opening doors

Aside from the study itself, Tuan notes that there were multiple highlights during his time at CDU.

“My experience at CDU has helped me a lot in broadening my outlook and driven me to start my future career as a civil and structural engineer,” says Tuan. “Many of the people skills, knowledge and applications I’ve learnt over the years will definitely aid me in finding professionals and career paths to connect with.”

Best of both worlds

Tuan studied internally and externally at CDU and considers himself lucky to have experienced both. While the initial transition from campus to online was challenging, Tuan soon got into it the swing of it and enjoyed the freedom it gave him to shape the way he learnt.  

“As I adapted to the change, online study became easier,” says Tuan.

I learnt to make a schedule for myself and keep ahead of the work in each unit by reading the content a few weeks early and staying in regular contact with my lecturers for help.

Tuan notes that the university facilities, particularly the library and the engineering computer rooms, provided the perfect spots for studying and assignments.

Hands-on experience

Engineering student Tuan Thai

As part of his Master's degree, Tuan gained 12 weeks experience working within the engineering industry overseas. It’s an experience that confirmed this was the career for him.

“During my work experience, I was involved in different projects and exposed to an office and practical workplace environment,” says Tuan.

It was a great insight of what my future career could be like.

Overcoming challenges

Studying is not without its challenges, but Tuan says that, with the right approach and attitude, these are easy to overcome.

“Tertiary study is very much on you. Unlike high school, you must be more proactive in asking questions and more confident in your abilities. I overcame this with time as I learned to overcome my hesitations.

My change in study mode was hard at first, but by implementing a study schedule and using the online study networks and friends, I quickly overcame this barrier.”

Words of the wise

So, with his study now complete, what advice would Tuan give his younger self?

“Be sure to establish connections to people, especially experts and professionals within your industry. The earlier you make those connections, the better it’ll be for your future and potential career during and after university."

While studying, keep in mind the reasons for doing this hard work, such as your ultimate dream career, or goals. It’ll be worth it in the end.

Interested in studying engineering like Tuan? Explore courses at Charles Darwin University and build your new world. 

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