Student on an International Journey of a Lifetime


The International Scholar Laureate Program provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience for university scholars from across the world

The International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP) for Engineering in China was an awesome experience.  I had the time of my life!  I was informed about the program through an e-mail I received from Golden Key.

I realised I would never be able to pay the full tuition fee on my own. I asked my bursar, Sasol Mining, if they would be interested in sponsoring me.  I offered to pay 18% of the tuition fee.  After a few e-mails, Sasol Mining agreed to pay the remaining balance on condition that I lengthen my future period of employment with them.

The International Scholar Laureate Program for Engineering in China took place from 20 to 30 May 2009.  56 Engineering students from 3 countries participated in the program.  The delegation consisted of 2 American faculty advisors, 52 American students, 3 Australian students and an industrial engineering student from South Africa (myself).  Professor Wang Rushu (Senior Engineer of the Three Gorges Dam) & Mario Fasondini

Some of the places we visited in China included:
-Beijing:  the Bird’s Nest Stadium, the Water Cube, Tsinghua University, The Great Wall, 800-year old Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square & the Forbidden City.
-Yichang:  Three Gorges University, Guyuan Power Plant, Chexi Cultural Village and (for me the highlight of the trip) the Three Gorges Dam Construction.
-Shanghai: NEC (a company in the integrated circuit and semi-conductor industry), Jinmao Tower (3rd largest building on earth), the French Concession and the Pearl TV Tower.

Through a comparative “curriculum” (program we followed), we had the opportunity to gain a global understanding of how engineering is practiced in China. During our site visits, I was able to compare and contrast what I saw and learned during these site visits with current methods and procedures used in South Africa.

During the ISLP I became aware of a Chinese type of thinking and how it influences their engineering process in general.  Through discussions with fellow delegation members I became aware of a “global approach” to engineering problem solving.  

My academic expectations for the ISLP delegation have definitely been met.  These expectations were to:
-examine the influence of culture on the engineering discipline.
-analyse current issues and trends in industrial engineering.
-further develop leadership skills such as communication, networking, decision making and goal setting.
After the ISLP, I wanted to have an idea of some of the challenges that professionals may encounter in the future.

There are a range of topics that continue to occupy my thoughts after the ISLP experience.  I feel the ISLP delegation on engineering broadened my horizons on a professional and personal level.  This experience provided me with memories that I will be able to think back on for as long as I have a healthy mind!

My wish is that more students may have the opportunity to experience such a wonderful time as I did.

I want to thank Sasol Mining for providing me with funds to attend the ISLP delegation to China.  Thank you Golden Key for informing me about this great program!