Quentin Lancrenon, 25 ans
Master of Energy Studies - Low carbon solutions
Université du Queensland
1. Why did you choose to do a double degree abroad?
The main 4 reasons are: to diversify my circle or relationships away from the French engineers of Centrale Nantes; to be completely proficient in English; to be open to new horizons in terms of culture but also knowledge (in the energy field especially); and to be closer to my family (New Caledonia). I started looking because the energy option proposed at the time in the final year at Centrale Nantes was not focused enough on the energy carbon transition.
2. Why Australia? How different was the education system?
I was really looking forward to experiencing an Anglo- Saxon education system which is very different from the French one. I found I had much more responsibility in my learning process and much more autonomy. And therefore much more work too! My master was of really high quality and was organised very differently in intensive weeks of classes (4 per semester) and then weeks of project work (assignments). I have to say I was really motivated to study because I was also more mature and I got to choose a topic that fascinates me.
3. And life on campus?
Everything is bigger of course (UQ is a very large university) with a huge and cutting-edge campus. It is great to study hard (lots of libraries and working spaces with resources), to relax and do sports (big parks) but also to organise a civil social life. In terms of student associations it is pretty similar to Centrale Nantes with a large diversity of interests and groups. One difference: I found Australians really involved in student politics!
4. How much did the degree cost? How did you cope with this expense?
That’s the flipside of the coin talking about Australia. I had the incommensurable chance to have my parents backing me up for the expenses of each semester. The total cost of the program (18 months) was €30,000 which is a lot, but very normal in the Anglo-Saxon mentality. Australia is at the moment debating fee deregulations for the education sector and degrees’ prices might increase. Future students should keep a close eye on that.
5. Do you think it was a fruitful investment?
I would even say incredibly fruitful. In terms of knowledge and education, following this Master was really insightful and allowed me to blossom personally. In monetary terms, it is always hard to say if it was or not a good investment (since I have just started to look for a job), but I have definitely upgraded my skills and abilities.
6. What do you do now? What are your plans?
I am now looking for a job in Europe. I would like to work for an international institution such as the UN or the EU in the development of energy projects that respect the climate constraint of reducing carbon emissions (e.g.: renewable energy, rural energy development projects, emission reduction projects from transports…). Development agencies, development banks and NGOs are also places where I am looking to carry out this activity.
7. Do you think your experience at the University of Queensland will help you get this position?
In terms of the sector I want to go in to, definitely since the Master of Energy Studies is a specialisation on a low carbon energy transition. It has definitely built my knowledge up to a very thorough point in the energy sector and its complexities facing the imperative of decarbonisation. Adding the knowledge I have acquired in both English and Spanish along me way, I definitely hope I can work for these international institutions.
8. What would you say to students who are thinking about studying abroad? Any advice?
I would first encourage them to go and do it. Travelling, being completely proficient in a (new) language and being confronted to different cultures, helps to cultivate your difference. And it is really important not only for the competitive world where you end up but also for you. Once abroad, avoid French speaking students, participate not only in studies but in student clubs and external activities and always push yourself out of your comfort zone. It is the best learning experimence you could have!
9. Finally, can you tell me one of your best memories at UQ?
Probably the best memories I have at UQ are the numerous moments I spent as a coordinator of a dynamic student group, advocating and raising awareness for climate change mitigation actions at the university. Organising such events with a team of passionate Australian friends was a really helpful and formative experience. The intensive weeks of classes we had in the Master with a very international and diverse cohort of students, field trips and confronting knowledge are also really good memories.
10. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Other advice: Study and understand the society you are in, not just your course work! Participate in socially or/and environmentally-caring groups! It gives a new perspective on civil responsibility, different from the one we acquired as the very technical engineers that we are!
Finally, do that but have fun and make friends of course!