Ken Vui Chua
Ken comes from a small town in the Borneo Island of Malaysia, called Tawau. Cardiff is the first city he has lived in away from home, where he began his long journey of higher education.
Name: Ken Vui Chua
Home country: Malaysia
Course: BEng Civil Engineering – MSc Hydro-environmental Engineering – PhD in Water Engineering
Year of graduation: 2018
Ken has now spent 8 years in Cardiff University, starting with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, followed by an MSc in Hydro-environmental Engineering and finally a PhD in Water Engineering.
Tell us about your course and how your undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD studies have each been different.
The teaching syllabus of the BEng degree was very broad, covering a wide range of topics related to the Civil Engineering such as structural, hydraulics, geotechnical, material designs, and even computer coding.
It allowed me to get a glimpse into the different branches of Civil Engineering and ultimately led me to my decision to pursue my expertise in water engineering. The MSc course in Hydro-environmental Engineering had given me the opportunities to work in multiple group projects and a 6-month research project. Both opportunities were essential to prepare students for future industrial or academic careers.
I consider my PhD years as a working experience. Apart from the daily discovery and self-learning process, I have worked with several colleagues, each with their own knowledge and expertise on the subject, to produce interesting and meaningful work through academic publications.
How has Cardiff University been different from studying back home?
Studying at Cardiff University requires a lot of perseverance and self-discipline due to the freedom and flexible nature of the courses. Also, as an international student far away from home, I’ve learnt to adapt to the local culture and more importantly to become a more independent person.
What have you enjoyed most about studying at Cardiff University?
I have thoroughly enjoyed the complete university experience, which includes outstanding academic excellence, complete infrastructures and facilities, first class student support, free language courses and one of the UK’s top Students’ Unions.
What is the best thing about living in Cardiff?
The best thing about living in Cardiff is that everything is within walking distance. You may find yourself getting to school in the morning; going to the city centre to do some shopping after class; having a jog in Bute Park in the late afternoon; and finishing the day in Woodville Pub without the need of any form of transportation. Concerts and events are happening all year round which keeps the city lively and busy. Furthermore, there are very good connections between Cardiff Airport and a great number of popular European destinations. Last but not least, a bonus for the football fans, Cardiff City Football Club is in the Premier League!
Are you a member of any clubs or societies? If so, what’s it like to be part of a society?
I was an active member of the Malaysian Students’ Society (MSSCF) for a few years and was fortunate enough to be elected as the treasurer of the society in my 3rd year. The experiences as a participating member, to leading the society and organising the award-winning Festival of Diversity event were incredible. On top of that, getting to know lots of fellow Malaysian friends while having fun together truly demonstrates the society’s motto of ‘Home Away from Home’.
How has the university supported you during your time here?
In terms of academic support, the School of Engineering organises Mathematics Surgery for students to seek help outside normal lecture hours in addition to the generous help and support from my personal tutor. For job seeking related issues, the Careers and Employability department provides an extensive service to help students with developing and achieving career goals, all free-of-charge!
What would your advice be for prospective students thinking about coming to Cardiff?
Do not feel shy to ask seniors from Cardiff University about their experiences. Get in touch with them through the Cardiff Malaysian Society Facebook page or the helpful and informative Malaysian representatives from the International Student Ambassador programme.
What are your plans for the future?
I would love to stay in the UK to work in the industry or academia for a couple more years. A working experience from the UK would be invaluable for my future career.