Profile - Miftahul Jannah

Miftahul JannahPostgraduate Coursework
Masters of Engineering Science (Extension) in Environmental Engineering
International student from Indonesia

I have always been fascinated by the way human activity and natural events affect the environment. In 2004, the province (Aceh) where I come from was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. This natural disaster left a huge amount of solid waste which posed a real problem for the local community.

At the time, I worked as an interpreter, facilitating communication between the environmental engineers who came to deal with the problem and the local community. The solutions they presented really impressed me and so I decided I wanted to focus my career on environmental engineering. I was very fortunate to be awarded a scholarship to study my Masters in Environmental Engineering at UNSW Australia.

In my time at UNSW I have been learning as much as I can about different ways to deal with environmental issues. I am most interested in solid waste management and water pollution, so I enrolled in those courses to learn the about current issues and sustainable solutions which could be suitable in developing provinces like Aceh.

One of the classes I enrolled in was Environmental Management, run by Stephen Moore. He gave his students the opportunity to be involved in the Sustainable Infrastructure Showcase, a student led event designed to create sustainable infrastructure on Murray Island. As part of this fantastic event students were encouraged to talk directly to community leaders on the island to get to know the current situation, then they designed a sustainable integrated system including materials and waste, water, energy and transport. It helped to open my eyes about the importance of getting a true perspective of a problem before designing a solution.

During the first few months of my study, I found the language barrier quite challenging, especially understanding the strong local accent during lectures. (Listening to the echo recorder helped a lot.) I also really missed my support network from home, particularly my family. However, it didn’t take long to build up a new network. UNSW has International Student Support which has helped by exposing me to many different types of people. It has given me the opportunity to develop connections and improve my English.

When I return to my home country, I want to share what I have learned with my colleagues. I hope to be a lecturer in Aceh and teach engineering classes in English.