Ke Xi is a fourth year Civil and Environmental Engineering student.
Where did you do your international placement and how long were you there for?
I did my international placement in Ghana from May to July, 2016.
Why did you participate in an international placement?
I heard this international opportunity from my friend. I always wanted to have some international experience so I was really interested in this opportunity.
What were your responsibilities on your placement?
I worked under the waste water treatment department at the Accra Recycling and Compost Plant. My role was to research a technology – co-composting for their fecal sludge treatment project. How did this experience help your studies at Western Engineering? I had a lot of engineering experience that was related to my academics. This opportunity gave me the chance to put what I learned in class into real problems. It helps me understand the knowledge better. It also allowed me to see problems in a different perspective for my school projects.
How did your placement add to your overall undergraduate experience?
The biggest accomplishment I made in Ghana was contributing in the fecal sludge treatment project. Fecal waste treatment is not regulated in Ghana, there are gallons of human feces dumped into the ocean directly every day. This is a big threat to Ghanaian’s health and their living environment. After this project is done, a large amount of fecal waste in the Accra area will be treated and recycled into compost. The liquid from fecal waste will be treated in the water treatment plant and used for construction purposes.
From my internship, I did not just gain the professional experience but also communication skills. When I was working with Ghanaian collogues, I tried to understand the difference between the Ghanaian work culture and the Canadian work culture. Therefore, I learned to adapt myself in a new environment very quickly.
Why would you recommend an international placement to other students?
I would definitely recommend this international placement to other students. It is not just an internship experience, but also an amazing opportunity to explore the world and start to think about problems globally. It will help students widen their world and see things in different perspective.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your experience?
I would like to go around other African countries if I had time, to learn different history and cultural.