Civil engineering internship in New Zealand

You have the choice of either doing an internship or spending a semester abroad? Why not combine both! Jordan had the same thought and decided to go to New Zealand for an internship. Learn more about Jordan and his internship experience in New Zealand!


Throughout being advertised an opportunity to either study overseas or take a year on work placement, I wanted both opportunities just as much, each having their pro’s and con’s. The study overseas opportunity is a heavy financial cost with absolutely no effect on your degree grade and so felt like just another year of study, in a potentially more challenging academic system that could have been done without. It was the international experience spending a year in Australia, originally, which appealed to me so much. The sandwich year is so valuable to your degree upon graduation and supplies that key first year of experience as well as helping you earn rather than spend. With all this in balance the best solution was a mixture of both, by taking the year in working industry, but in the overseas market because I wanted the international experience and wouldn’t have quite had the same passion and commitment if keeping in the UK. The year in graduate level work I believe will also improve chances of residency in that country for the long term future so an international internship was the perfect answer to suit my targets in the sandwich year experience.

So I applied to numerous student friendly intern recruiters until adamant something seemed of promise. When I came across Studentsgoabroad the name along with the application process provided that confidence, while this required a short service fee charge, I knew I was paying to be helped out and by November I had an advisor actively seeking my best opportunities in New Zealand, eventually giving me news in January of a potential opportunity. After 2 months of negotiation and planning, a skype interview commenced in March which I had eagerly prepared for and was soon successful.

About my internship

The company is a relatively small civil engineering specialist consisting of approximately 50 employers with 30 years of business experience having started out in 1987. The Christchurch office was opened in 2011 as a result of the devastating earthquake and a possible opening of a third office is an eventual target. The company has 3 main departments split up into geotechnical work, environmental work and a producer statement inspections team. A mix of field staff, project managers and a board of directors work together in managing projects which range from geotechnical investigations to stormwater disposals or wastewater management, how this has developed my personal skills and contributed towards my studies will be discussed throughout. The primary focus acquired to me for my degree was developing a GIS database into the companies operation to help for easier project tracking in future years with each project type, borehole, location and more being stored on a database so that they were easy to search and could be used in terms of map imagery. This, while also taking in the expertise and experience of the company of more geological focuses, regularly getting lots of fieldwork training on geotechnical investigations and soil contamination assessments made this a perfect opportunity for my degree skills development. I had training digging auger holes, taking Scala measurements and shear vane measurements and also groundwater monitoring which all added to the quality of the experience both within my degree studies and for the good of my long term career future.

New Zealand…..and beyond

My main reason for wanting this was for opportunity to see the world whilst working during my studies and spending a whole year on the other side of the world in the geographies of New Zealand provided perfect opportunity for this. I have made short trips to Sydney, Queenstown and Fiji within the placement as well as doing the kiwi experience before starting exploring the whole of New Zealand and making plans to travel across South America via my route home, landing in Ecuador and heading for Europe from Rio. The internship opportunity has given me opportunities to spend new year in Sydney, go skydiving and bungee jumping in Queenstown, and explore icons such as the Tongariro Crossing, the Great Ocean Road and Machu Picchu which is the kind of opportunity that comes once in a lifetime all while building a strong profile within my degree and gaining pivotal work experience, which will also help make getting full time work in New Zealand or Australia much easier in the future.


Overall Studentsgoabroad was a perfect key for opening my doors to global opportunity and has gave me what will quite simply be the best year of my life. I strongly believe the internship has developed my skills and qualities as well as developing my all round person, the feedback I am getting from my peers backs this up who say I am a hard worker, very ambitious and have a fun sense of humour who is very helpful and easy going. The world now feels a much smaller place and on my return to the UK I will have seen most of the southern hemisphere which all seemed such a distance away originally before receiving this opportunity. I can’t quite certainly say this is hopefully just the first year of my life in this part of the world; it’s certainly not the last and the rewards it will have will make a career in Australasia that much easier upon graduation so to finish off I simply can’t thank Studentsgoabroad enough.