Student profile

Anna Toms

"Being able to see how some of the calculations and engineering principles I’ve learned at university are applied in real life, and using software to do this, has been really interesting."

Entry year
Placement company

One of the main reasons I chose to study at Surrey was the Surrey/ICE Scholarship scheme, which matches you with a company that provides work experience throughout your course, and also a bursary. I thought this was a great opportunity to get first-hand experience with a company early on in my degree, which I didn’t see being offered by other universities.

Having applied for the Surrey/ICE scholarship before coming to Surrey, I went through a series of interviews and was matched with CAPITA, a real estate and infrastructure company. I did a summer placement with them after my first year and am now on my Professional Training placement year there. Going on the summer placement meant that I got a flavour of the world of work early on, and met some of the colleagues I currently work with.

During my year’s placement, as a junior civil engineer, I’ve spent five months working with the highways team and am now working with the rail team. My work varies every single day which means I never get bored: so far the projects I’ve worked on include a new highway in West Sussex, several bridges in London and Mersey Gateway Bridge. Due to Covid-19, I’ve worked from home, staying in constant communication with colleagues via Microsoft Teams.

While on placement, I’ve developed a better understanding and appreciation of the work that goes into the design and maintenance of infrastructure. Being able to see how some of the calculations and engineering principles I’ve learned at university are applied in real life, and using software to do this, has been really interesting.

"At Surrey I have amazing course mates who have made studying civil engineering so much more fun and easier. In my class of around 55 people we all know each other name and can count on each other for help. Because of the relatively small class size, the lecturers also know us all, and are very friendly and helpful."

The best thing about Surrey is definitely the people. One of the things I love about the University is that it’s campus-based with everything in one place, which means that you always end up bumping into people you know. Surrey is so diverse, with people from across the UK and all over the world, you’re sure to meet someone who shares your interests. Over the past two years I’ve attended almost all the events hosted by the Indian Students Association (ISA), which has allowed me to meet so many people who share the same culture as me. I’m also a student ambassador which has helped me to initiative conversations with people I’m not familiar with, building my confidence.

After graduating I want to become a chartered civil engineer. I’d like to work on projects that involve designing essential infrastructure in developing countries, bringing vital services like clean water, healthcare and education.

Read more about Anna's experience at Surrey on her blog.


Discover our courses in civil engineering, including our BEng (Hons)/MEng Civil Engineering.

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