Taking Engineering to New Boundaries with Engineers Without Borders

Updated October 2019

Hello, my name is Prince. After the completion of my undergraduate study in my home country, Nepal, I decided to move to Australia to pursue postgraduate study in civil engineering.

I chose Melbourne as my study destination as it was recognised as the world’s most liveable city with a high standard quality of living and vibrant multicultural society that is safe for international students.

Enjoying 2017 footy final with my Australian mate
Enjoying the 2018 Footy Final at the MCG with my Australian mate.

I applied for the Master of Engineering program with a Civil major at CQUniversity because, from my research, I found that CQUni provides up-to-date programmes and resources that meet the current job markets demands.

In addition, located at the vicinity of Southern Cross railway station, CQUni’s Melbourne campus is located at the best location for students like me, providing convenient ways of travel.

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Enjoying Malaysian food with new friends.

The start of my journey

My new experience as an international student started in July 2017. On my orientation day, I was very excited and curious to learn more about CQUni’s campus facilities, resources and opportunities available for students.

I really enjoyed orientation, where I got an opportunity to meet new friends from all over the world and welcoming staff, experience native Australian wildlife, receive knowledge about my course and enjoy delicious food.

First day at CQU.JPG

It was a unique experience for me when I attended my first university lecture where everything was based online, which was very convenient to navigate unit details and assessments using Moodle system.

I found the teaching staff very professional, friendly, supportive and highly skilled. This gave me the confidence to engage more with the lecturers and interact with them on a regular basis.

I found that regular participation in my unit presentations, interacting with lecturers and campus staff provided me with an opportunity to improve my communication skills, which was a turning point for me in developing confidence in my speaking.

My first lecture workshop at CQU.JPG
My first lecture workshop at CQUni.

From my first day at CQUni, I have remained determined to improve myself day by day,  study hard and become a professional Civil Engineer. Meeting new people and learning from their experience at campus made me realise that study is important; however at the same time, your social skills are very important too.

Networking and being social

I started attending networking events at Engineers Australia and other social events, which provided me with an opportunity to meet engineering professionals and people from different organisations.

Me as EWB Summer Volunteer.jpg

These events helped me to further seek opportunities where I could learn and grow.

Since my childhood, I have always been passionate about community services and helping people. I was always looking for opportunities to learn something new and make myself better.

Fortunately, through my intensive research, my passion for community service led me to a not-for-profit organisation, Engineers Without Borders (EWB), which creates social value through engineering.

me at EWB National Council

Through the application, I was selected for a 12-week Summer Volunteering Program at the national office of EWB Australia in November 2017.

This was one of the important achievements for me to get an opportunity to work in such an amazing organisation, to meet wonderful people, learn from them and contribute towards the community.

I was able to get deep insights into concepts of humanitarian engineering and human-centred design approach including further bolstering my professional skills.

Bringing Engineering Without Borders to CQUniversity

With all the experiences at the EWB national office, I started my own initiative to establish an EWB chapter at CQUniversity in order to involve students in creating positive social change and providing them opportunities where they could gather professional skills, new concepts and build a network.

Me presenting an Engineers Without Borders competition.

I needed at least 20 students to register a chapter officially at the EWB national office. I started interacting with students, advertised through CQUni Market Days, distributed flyers, organised presentation competitions and invited people from the EWB national office to have discussions with students.


It wasn’t easy for me to gather students’ interests since it was a voluntary opportunity and I found most of the students underestimate voluntary activities.

Nevertheless, I have been involved with the Engineers Without Borders Victoria region chapter where I regularly attend regional meetings, networking events and participate in EWB activities, which are very productive, helps me to expand my network and develop my interpersonal skills.

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Engineers Without Borders Making an Impact Summit with CQUniversity team.

I was able to get a grant from CQUni to travel to Perth to attend the EWB Australia national council event in 2018 at Edith Cowan University where people involved within EWB through university and region chapters, national office staff and different organisation professionals come together to discuss EWB plans and policies and provide training to its members.

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Representing CQUni, Melbourne & Victoria region chapter at EWB, National Council meeting 2018 in Perth.

It was a great opportunity for me to attend those training sessions, learn about community development, meet new people and share and learn from each others’ experiences.

From these experiences, I have found that voluntary activities keep you engaged, helps you to develop social skills, expands your network, improves communication and further strengthens your confidence.

Opportunities on campus

I was selected to become a member of CQUni’s Campus Life Committee (CLC) at the Melbourne campus where I have been advocating for students’ wellbeing and addressing their concerns.

This opportunity is a voluntary role; however, this position has provided me with an opportunity to work together with campus staff, attend meetings and interact with committee members to work towards improving students’ campus experience.

I recently lead a CLC project to organise a logo design competition to help students unleash their potential, enhance their creativity and develop a unique symbol for CLC, which will help to connect CLC with students.

Volunteering opportunities

I have also been involved with different voluntary activities such as Bicycle Network where I volunteer to count bikes on an annual basis where the recorded data are used by councils for future infrastructure planning.

Me as a Bicycle network volunteer.jpg

Also, I have been involved with Travellers Aid Australia at the MCG where we provide free buggy service for footy and cricket fans with mobility challenges to travel from stations to the MCG stadium (pre-match and post-match service).


I have been involved with Spokes In the Wheel through Engineers Without Borders, where we recycle and repair donated bicycles and give them back to the immigrant community providing them access to sustainable and affordable transport, connecting them with other communities and promoting healthy living.

Furthermore, I was able to get appointed to work as a Student Peer Advisor at the campus library, which was a very good experience for me to learn about customer service and administrative skills including building a rapport with students.


Internship opportunity

CQUniversity provides internship opportunities, which is a very important opportunity for an international student like myself. I was able to secure an exciting internship opportunity at RMIT University, which helped me to master new skills and further build my network.

During this internship, I was able to get involved in an exciting research project to investigate the possible effects of driverless vehicles in traffic congestion.

This topic was a unique opportunity for me, and it provided me with a broad range of knowledge on autonomous vehicles and new software skills, which would be very useful for my future career.

Almost the end…

Apart from these activities, coming toward the near completion of my studies, I have been able to achieve outstanding academic achievements and have always enjoyed my studies.

I am very thankful to CQUni for providing me with plenty of opportunities, which will aid me to progress towards my desired career.

Melbourne has been a great place so far to enjoy my stay here in Australia. I have been impressed by the welcoming and friendly nature of local people, the well-developed infrastructure and feeling safe to move around.

I enjoy the vibrant city life where I gather unique experiences every day from singing buskers, beer-swilling footy supporters and colourful nightlife.

Enjoying Melbourne New Year’s celebrations.

I have gathered a load of beautiful memories in this vibrant city from dazzling new year celebration, Australian Football League games (AFL / footy), international cricket matches at the MCG, Big-Bash cricket league, bushwalking, beautiful beaches, wide range of foods, sport activities such as indoor ice-skating rock climbing and multicultural experiences.

Watching my favourite team playing international cricket at the MCG.

I remember my first footy game experience at the MCG where I was completely struggling to understand the rules. However, I absolutely loved the way it was played and, as a result, I have been continuing to attend AFL games, which has helped me to now understand the rules.


It has been a great opportunity for me as an international student to learn about the Australian footy culture and meet local people.

I had one of the most fascinating first-ever experiences of my life at the 2018 AFL Grand Final game at the MCG where I was amongst the jammed crowd of more than 100,000 supporting Collingwood and the West Coast Eagles.

Coming into the 2019 footy season, my second year of footy experience, I have developed a special connection with the AFL and I love it so much that I have already picked up my favourite team: Richmond Football Club (nicknamed the Tigers).

Next steps…

Coming to the near completion of my Masters degree, I wish to gain work experience in an Australian working environment to implement my theoretical and practical knowledge into real-world practice and transfer the gained skills to my home country.


I have been applying for graduate roles in civil engineering where I have received lots of support from CQUni’s Career Hub.

I am very optimistic that I would successfully land into my desired job in the near future and of course, understand it requires patience, dedication and continuous development of professional and technical abilities.

October update: what’s happened since graduating

A lot has happened since completing my studies in June!

Getting a job!

Through the application and interview process, I recently secured a position of Civil Engineering Laboratory Supervisor/Instructor at the CQUni Melbourne campus, which has provided me with an excellent opportunity to learn a range of technical skills as well as apply my own skills and share them with junior students.

I enjoy using different sophisticated laboratory machines to perform experiments and analysing the results, it’s really helped me to further boost my confidence.

I feel very happy to work alongside my academics, students and staff members in a friendly environment.

Apart from engineering skills, this position has provided me with a range of other skills such as procurement skills, management skills, work health and safety procedures, which is very important in every Civil Engineering project.

Being a recent graduate, this has been an excellent supplement for me to grow, boost my communication skills and acquire other professional skills.

Study Melbourne Victoria International Education Awards Nomination

Last month, I received the most exciting news since I’ve been in Australia —I’ve been selected as a finalist for the Study Melbourne 2019 Victorian International Education Award in the Higher Education category!

CQuniversity Melbourne Study Melbourne Awards

I came to know about this opportunity through CQUni Melbourne’s Campus Coordinator, Annie Vassil and Director of Studies — CQUEnglish, Will Alderton.

When I heard about it, I was very inspired to apply for this award as CQUniversity recognised my contributions, encouraged me to apply and I received a lot of support for the application.

I was very pleased to get a reference for my application from Associate Vice-Chancellor, Lara Carton, who has always motivated me and supported me.

The happiest day for me was when I received a congratulatory email saying:  

I am writing to congratulate you on your successful application and am pleased to advise you have been shortlisted as a finalist.  Please find attached a letter congratulating you on becoming a Finalist in the 2019 Victorian International Education Awards.

It was the proudest moment for me where I felt my contributions and achievements were being acknowledged by such a prestigious organisation.

I am looking forward to the award ceremony on November 25th 2019, where I will be representing CQUniversity.

I feel very lucky to be a student — and now alumni — of this amazing University, which has helped me grow a lot. I can confidently say that I am at this position because of CQUniversity.

Studying for two years, and taking on these various roles such as Student Peer Advisor in the library, IT Technical Assistant, Enrolment Assistant, Campus life Committee member, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Chapter Leader and now Civil Engineering Lab Supervisor at CQUniversity, I have built such a strong rapport with staff members and students, and I feel CQUniversity is my second home.

Enjoying sunset in Perth.JPG

Last, but not least…

This year another happy moment for me was when my favourite AFL team ‘’GO TIGERS’’ won the 2019’s AFL Grand Final!

Come join me – and to find out more about Engineers Without Borders please get in touch: ewb.p.bhandari@gmail.com.

Enjoyed Prince’s story? You might also enjoy reading Civil Engineer and Social Innovation Champion, Bikesh from Nepal‘s story or Carlos from Colombia’s story on living and studying in Melbourne while studying a Master of Human Resource Management on the CQUniLife blog.

Keen to study Australia and cannot make up your mind where to study and live? You might enjoy our campus breakdown – from Melbourne to Perth, Sydney to Cairns and all those in between.

CQUniversity International (https://cqunilife.com)

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