3rd-year student, Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Building Engineering
He has always been fascinated by the modern design and structure of buildings, says building engineering student Tuiala Junior Ah Sam who came to AUT from Samoa, supported by a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade NZ Scholarship.
“I admired buildings that have effective systems and enable the different systems within them to work together to offer a comfortable environment and support sustainability. Whenever I come across these types of buildings I always think of the group of people that made that particular building happen. I’ve always wanted to be one of the people behind the construction of those buildings.”
Currently most infrastructure and building development projects in Samoa are carried out by foreign companies, but Tuiala is hoping to apply his knowledge of building engineering to make a contribution to his home country’s construction industry.
“I want to use the knowledge and skills I’ve gained from my engineering degree to play a part in the development of my home country through infrastructure and buildings. As a local, I’d also like to be involved in developing construction projects in Samoa.
“I would recommend the Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Building Engineering to those seeking a career in the construction industry as a project manager, safety engineer, construction engineer and many other professions in the industry.”
Fitting in and making friends
Coming to AUT from Samoa was a big shift, Tuiala admits.
“When I first started at AUT I was very nervous. However, AUT and especially the AUT scholarships team helped me overcome these challenges by offering a very welcoming and sociable environment. This has helped me feel confident, and now I often spend my whole day at AUT doing my studies until the university closes.”
He has enjoyed AUT’s university environment.
“AUT offers a very good environment for studying and for relaxing. I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends. I’ve never studied in a diverse environment before, and studying at AUT has allowed me to experience it. I’ve made good friends from different cultures, and studying alongside with them has enabled me to learn about many new cultures.”
Advice for other students
Now in the final year of his degree, Tuiala has some great advice for other students.
“My advice is to use every opportunity available around the university to enhance your studies. Be proactive and don’t leave your assessments or studies to the last minute. Take some time to relax and cool off from your studies.
“Don’t be afraid to talk to and make friends with students from the same degree as you can study together as a group. Never hesitate to ask your lecturers and mentors for help as they will always be willing to help. Most of all, have faith that you can do it.”