Students build on Engineering ability with Global Studies insights

The Bachelor of Global Studies is an interdisciplinary programme that encourages students to focus on issues with a global dimension.

Programme Director Dr Hilary Chung.

The programme includes hands-on experience of real world problems and challenges through experiential learning, workshops and capstone projects, in combination with language training and area study of a region where that language is spoken.

Programme Director Dr Hilary Chung’s vision is to enable a new generation of competent and engaged global citizens. The programme’s catchphrase is “Make a Difference” and it aims to send each student overseas during their study.

“Every BGlobalSt graduate will speak an additional language, specialise in an area of the world where that language is spoken, have good intercultural communication skills and have an interdisciplinary understanding of a significant global issue,” Dr Chung explains.

An attractive feature of the programme is that it is the perfect conjoint degree partner because it brings all the skills and learning of global citizenship to a specialised degree.

Dr Hilary Chung

It is no accident that about 75% of BGlobalSt students do conjoints. I think that the attraction for Engineering students is the ability to broaden their skillset beyond their technical expertise and to be able to place their expertise in the context of pressing global issues.”

Morgan Dolfing and Shalin Shah are studying Engineering/Global Studies conjoints, and were both drawn to the programme for the same reasons that Dr Chung outlines.

Morgan is in his second year of the programme and has chosen to major in Global Politics and Human Rights due to his interests in politics, philosophy, and sociology. While he envisions himself working in the Engineering industry, he believes the addition of the Global Studies programme enables him to better understand his potential role as a future engineer.

“Global Studies assists with this career aspiration by educating me in the global, social and political context by which my work may make a positive difference,” Morgan says. “A truly effective device or process cannot be designed in isolation - one must understand the societal and cultural context of one's creation to create something with true utility and without regrettable side effects.”

For Shalin, the selection of courses and study options available in the programme support his desire to work internationally and have a successful career overseas.

“I had always been interested in global business, global interaction and languages,” Shalin says. “Although engineering is quite a versatile area of study in itself, I felt like it lacks certain knowledge regarding the management of cross national interactions and what to expect from it. Additionally, I could learn a language, which would further increase the value of my engineering degree and broaden my horizons on where I could work.”

It’s a programme the students believe already has significant relevance in today’s world, due in part to a sense of global community.

Global Studies is extremely relevant in today's world, as we are becoming increasingly interconnected in a global sense.

Shalin Shah

“Hence, the more one would learn about how this will change the world we are living in, the easier they will be able to move forward in time," Shalin says.

It’s a view Morgan shares too, noting that there is a real need - both globally and here in New Zealand - for Engineers who can support their technical ability with soft skills.

“It is becoming more and more important that we have well-rounded professional engineers, and the way to become well rounded is to break out of your comfort zone and taste all the flavours life has to offer,” Morgan says. “Global Studies is the best way to do that with a university course.”

While Morgan and Shalin are still in the early stages of the programme, both have their eyes set firmly on how it’s shaping their future careers and how it aligns with their Engineering studies.