My name is Vihan Wakista and I grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where I completed my primary and secondary education.
I completed my Diploma of Engineering in 2017 at UTS College and currently enrolled in the second year of my Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The transferring process from UTS College to UTS was very smooth and my first year at UTS College was an excellent opportunity to make new friends which I have kept until now.
Once I completed my Advanced level examinations in 2015, I studied robotics for 6 months before coming to Sydney. This course helped me broaden my knowledge of micro controlled systems, gain team work and brush up my communication skills.
I am currently doing an internship at a company in North Ryde which is part of the compulsory three months of placements that I have to do as part of my UTS degree. As an undergraduate mechanical engineer at the company, with my colleagues i oversee implementation, maintenance and upgrading of air conditioning systems at various sites around Sydney.
I have always had a passion for engineering since the age of 10. It all started with aircrafts. I always wanted to become an aircraft engineer, but things were not always on my side. The aircraft industry is very remote and lacks job opportunities especially for design engineers. That been said I decided to pursue a career in mechanical engineering, which is the closest alternative to aircraft engineering.
When I was in school, one of my physics teachers started an aircraft society. In this society he thought me the fundamentals of model aircrafts and how they work. The main tasks we carried out were designing and building our own radio-controlled aircrafts. I was a member of this society for 6 years, until the time I graduated from school. I gained immense technical knowledge about model aircrafts which helped me build models of my own.
My ultimate goal is to work as a designer engineer in the manufacturing industry.
I feel like UTS is focussed on real life applications that I gained hands-on learning opportunities rather than just theory and studying books. The syllabus and teaching structure at both UTS: College and UTS are very well organised, which helps the students to use the skills they learnt in one subject on to a particular scenario in another subject. This way the skills which the student learnt are polished constantly throughout the four-year course.
UTS is very student oriented. They have spent a lot of money on infrastructure, has carefully planned the structure of the degree and the university is surging ahead in global research rankings. So, you don’t need to worry about the quality of the education they provide. The academic staff and the students are very friendly and supportive, so you don’t need to worry about making new friends too.
Sydney is a very diverse and an amazing place to study and live in. Friendly locals, beautiful locations and a multitude of amazing cuisines. Sydney is very well known for its higher education opportunities with some of the world leading universities located in the heart of the city. All these inspiring reasons made me want to study in Sydney.
When I think about advice I would give to Sri Lankan students considering studying abroad I would suggest that it will be difficult at first. You might miss home and it’s a new environment for you. It will take time, but you will eventually adapt to this beautiful city. Also, do not be overconfident that uni life is way too easy but instead be cautious. Do not worry about socialising, you can definitely make new friends and settle in. Sydney’s a really safe place. People are very friendly. As long as you concentrate on your studies and make new friends, you can definitely enjoy your time in Sydney.
I would love to go back to when I was 17 and explain to my self how to plan my education and career and teach myself to think differently because I was not a very keen student back then. Since time travel is not possible(haha), I would still be the same person who I am right now and be grateful for the efforts I have put forward to achieving my goals.