Thursday, August 27, 2015 | By Lindsay Cashin
31 university students from across China spent four weeks immersed in life at UBC-Vancouver to learn about civil engineering as part of the Vancouver Summer Program. The program, designed to give students from UBC partner universities the opportunity to study at a world-renowned university while improving their English skills and learning about Canadian society, attracted hundreds of students to UBC-Vancouver to take academic courses in subjects ranging from law and business to medicine and arts.
Civil engineering was the featured discipline for students enrolled in the Applied Science cohort, and the program offered two intensive courses on the topic of civil engineering materials. The students came from a range of engineering and science backgrounds; and for many, these courses were a first exposure to a civil engineering topic. Nevertheless, this energetic group worked hard to master the challenging academic material while enjoying an exciting social and activity program outside study time. Highlights included a Granville Island market tour, a visit to the Museum of Anthropology, and optional weekend day trips to Victoria and Whistler.
The program concluded with a poster session wherein the students showcased their group course-work, and a mini-grad celebration. The students were delighted with their experience and their accomplishment; one commented “It is a great pleasure to take part in this summer program in the Department of Civil Engineering in UBC. Thank you for the training and assistance you offered us, and I am fortunate that I have learned a lot from all of the professors and TAs.” Professor Nemy Banthia, program leader and one of the instructors, called the 2015 program a great success, noting “VSP adds significant diversity to classroom at UBC. Civil Engineering is highly privileged to be the first engineering department to participate in the program, and I am sure that many of the bright VSP students will return to UBC as graduate students.” PhD student Salman Soleimani-Dashtaki, who instructed one of the two academic courses, and teaching assistants Mohammed Farooq and Yuan Yan were instrumental in the successful delivery of the Vancouver Summer Program; as were Justin Fishman and Varun Banthia, who served as UBC student ambassadors and tour guides.
Professor Banthia anticipates growing interest in UBC Civil Engineering as a result of this exciting and unique experience, and looks forward to welcoming future cohorts of students via the Vancouver Summer Program in the years to come.