A recent graduate in Architectural Technology from Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment is putting his skills to use on a six-month internship in Vietnam.
Tom Dryburgh (22), who is originally from Inverness, graduated from RGU in July 2017 and is now using what he has learned during his time at University to develop his skills with BSBG, a Dubai-headquartered Architecture firm which recently opened an office in Ho Chi Minh City.
Tom, who had planned to go travelling in Asia after graduation, was alerted to the opportunity by his course leader and felt it would be a great chance to continue with his plans while gaining invaluable work experience.
He began the internship at the start of September in BSBG’s Dubai office, before heading over to Vietnam to commence his working role where he is embracing the culture and settling in with his new colleagues.
“My plan after university was to do some travelling in Asia, more specifically, in Vietnam,” he said.
“So, when the advertisement for an intern architectural technologist in Ho Chi Minh City came up, I saw it as the perfect opportunity - a chance to travel and get some experience working abroad.
“My mum is from Vietnam so I was pretty familiar with the country after visiting it many times when I was younger, yet it's still a massive culture shock to me. It's a long way from the Highlands. I knew it would take some time to adapt to living here but I also knew it would be great fun.”
Tom is three weeks into his internship and is enjoying the variety of work and being given the chance to broaden his experience, working on major international projects.
“The work has been great so far. I've been doing some interior designing for an office in Ho Chi Minh City where I've learned a lot about modern office cultures. Later I will be working on a new super mall in Dubai, so there is a wide variety of projects to get involved in and gain some experience in, not just projects in Vietnam.
“I've sat in on a few interesting meetings with other professionals and expats looking to establish themselves in Vietnam's rapidly developing economy, everyone has an optimistic outlook on the future and it's nice to be part of that.
“I'm also very excited to get involved in the company’s' own plans for the future, we are looking to collaborate with my profession's institution, the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, and a Danish international university, University College of Northern Denmark, to help promote Architectural Technology in Vietnam.”
Tom is relishing the opportunity to work in a different country with people from all over the world and would highly recommend this type of experience to others in similar shoes.
“Working in an office that primarily speaks Vietnamese can be odd at times but everyone has been very friendly and helpful. There is a lot to gain from the office, from applying and developing the skills I studied at university to learning new ones. I'm also aiming to pick up on some of the Vietnamese language while I'm here.
“Working abroad has given me plenty of opportunity to meet new people and understand other cultures. In terms of my career progression, it has given me an insight into how my profession works in other countries and will be a great benefit to my work experience in the future.
“The other great thing is, working here hasn’t shattered my original plans to travel around Asia, as I will be visiting Singapore in a couple of weeks. It's actually made travelling a lot easier and I can spend more time away."
Tom’s course leader, Jonathan Scott, added: “The Architectural Technology course gives our students a broad range of skills applicable to the industry but highly transferrable to other disciplines and other countries which makes our graduates desirable.
“The advert for the internship was circulated by the professional body, and I thought that it would suit any one of our students on our course – and Tom competed with applicants across the UK to gain this opportunity, which fortunately coincides with his interest in travel. We wish him well and hope he enjoys his time in Asia.”
by Rob Smith
Communications Officer | Design and Technology
Press and Media Enquiries