Profile - Vanessa Alvarez Calderon
Masters of Engineering Science in Transport Engineering
International student from Spain
Working for almost nine years on road concession projects – everything from operation to management – I realised that to progress my career I needed to formalise my professional knowledge about both traffic and management. So, after investigating a number of different training options, I decided to apply to do my Masters in the field of Transport Engineering at UNSW Australia.
It was quite a shock to return to studying after nine years of working as an engineer, and this time it was even more challenging with a family to take care of. I also found the language quite tough – UNSW is so wonderfully multicultural that it took me a few months to get used to all the different accents.
I chose UNSW for a number of reasons, the main one being that it is known and respected worldwide in this field and is ranked 14th in the world for Civil Engineering by QS. Australia is also a great country to bring up a young family, and for my two kids (aged 2 and 4 years) to become more fluent in English (with the added bonus of an Australian accent).
The thing that stands out to me about UNSW is that it provides a very different way of learning to my home country Spain. The courses I’ve taken so far are much more practical and reflective, and the degree provides a continuous stream of learning which I believe is more efficient from a real world perspective.
There are so many interesting courses to choose from at UNSW, it is sometimes hard to stay on track with choosing the right ones. Fortunately I have been able to take some traditionally unrelated courses in my Masters – including Stephen Moore’s Environmental Management course – which has been such an inspiration and taught me to look at my field in a completely new way.
The quality of all the courses and teachers is definitely one of UNSW’s best assets. However, all the extra help and services offered by UNSW are also great. This includes seminars and web resources, tutors and lecturers who are always very open and willing to help, a learning centre and an astonishing careers service.
When I finish my Masters, I will have a deeper understanding of Transport Engineering with a more efficient approach and an environmentally respectful point of view. I’d really like to stay in Australia with my family to work for a while, putting my experience and knowledge together to contribute to the future of this amazing country.