Dr. Mohammed Saied Al Surf completed a Masters in Project Management and a PhD in Sustainable Architecture at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). We had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Mohammed Saied Al Surf to learn about his career and experience studying in Queensland, Australia.
What are you now doing in your career?
I’m the Regional Manager for the U.S. Green Building Council. It’s an international organisation which I dreamed of working for. It’s honestly all thanks to QUT and the teachings and learning experience they gave me, and to my PhD supervisors who guided me through the 4 years I was under their supervision.
How has your experience in Queensland helped your career?
It gave me the confidence to talk to anyone, in any position, and at any level. It also helped me excel in pursuing any research opportunity locally and internationally. I was also given the opportunity to connect with professionals worldwide who have either attended QUT or are in the same field as I am.
Tell us why you chose your area of study and why you chose Queensland.
I wanted to study abroad to expand my horizon. I chose Australia specifically for its culture and high-calibre universities. I chose Queensland because of its moderate weather. Being in a moderately-sized city such as Brisbane means I can feel comfortable and connect with friends with ease and comfort. It was an unforgettable experience which I would repeat if given the chance.
I wanted to study in project management because I wanted to link the theory I studied in Architecture to real life cases in real projects. QUT gave me that knowledge and we actually had instructors from the field teaching us how projects are conducted and done on time and on budget. I also wanted to complete my studies in PhD in sustainable architecture because I saw its importance and need in my country and how I can be a leader in this new field in my region. I actually succeeded in being a go-to person in the region, not just my country.
What was the highlight of your experience living in Queensland?
It was a life-changing experience. I matured emotionally, as well as physically, being abroad. Living in Queensland was honestly the best days of my life. The people were extremely nice and, compared to my other friends who lived in other states, I was in heaven. I enjoyed taking part in some of the cultural activities Queensland had to offer and, more specifically, Brisbane. I would say the highlight experience was when I was presented with the Lord Mayor's International Student Friendship Ceremony.
What career-advice would you give to give future students thinking about studying in Queensland?
From what I’ve experienced, it’s important to link theory to actual life practices. And QUT and Queensland gave me the opportunity to do just that.
What's the easiest way to develop a social-life in Queensland?
Queensland people are friendly and it’s really easy to connect with friends and family members from the neighbourhood. I had the chance to connect with my neighbouring Aussie family and even got the chance to go out a couple of times with their son, who was around my age. It was a friendly and pleasant experience. We are still connected through Facebook and still share images and stories. Just be friendly and go up to the person whom you want to speak with and most definitely they will return the friendliness and kindness I experienced. Don’t just be stuck on your studies. Go out and experience what QLD has to offer. It is full of rich culture and wonderful nature to explore. I regret not going out that often, but it was mainly due to my studies and family commitments.
Do you have any ongoing ties with Queensland?
Yes, I’m still connected with my supervisors and some other instructors from QUT. And I’m still connected with my neighbour and some other community members where I used to go for prayers.
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