Nicholas Kaspareck is currently studying his Masters in Construction Management at UNSW Built Environment, while working part-time with Girvan Waugh. He studied Architecture in Milan previously and we spoke to him about his time at UNSW Built Environment and what it’s like to study here in Australia.

What made you come to Australia?

I did my architecture degree in Milan and I wrote a thesis on sport facilities and stadiums which was published over there in a book. I started to understand that to become a better architect I had to learn more about construction, not just about design. So I asked myself, where on the planet are they building a lot? I thought of Australia. It has great weather, I speak English, you play rugby here, so I decided on Australia.

Why did you choose to study at UNSW?

I asked my university in Milan about the universities that were available in Australia and amongst the universities that were recommended, I chose UNSW Built Environment because this course was comprehensive but condensed, it’s only a one year program and out of all the universities, it was the one that was closest to the beach. UNSW is 10 minutes from Coogee, and to me that was a pretty easy choice to make.

Have you been happy with your experience here?

As soon as I started my lectures, I met friends and I joined the Randwick rugby team, who actually became my second family.

It has turned out to be an exceptional learning experience since I landed in Sydney. I have had the privilege of being able to learn things from UNSW Built Environment lectures and see them happen in real life the next day at work with Girvan Waugh, contributing to them in design and construction management.

How did you get your job?

Girvan Waugh used to sponsor the rugby club, and one day I noticed the company logo on our shirts, which looked like a construction site so I asked the coach what they did and whether I could get an interview. I went to the interview knowing nothing about construction because I hadn’t started my degree. I started working with them and started learning a lot and they’ve now employed me part time while I study.

The fact that I’m working while doing a masters is beneficial. Whatever I’m studying I go to work the next day, and I see it out on the field and it makes learning it a lot easier. At Girvan Waugh I am mainly an architect, but I also work on the contract and procurement administration side of things at work. I definitely recommend working while studying.

My professor at architecture school in Milan always used to say, if you don’t know how it’s built, you can’t draw it. Getting involved in construction developed my architecture ability.

Would you recommend your experience at UNSW Built Environment to your friends?

Yes, I’m actually trying to convince a few of my friends in Milan to come over here to study. I like it here a lot, and it’s a new experience for me. Girvan Waugh has also offered to sponsor me to stay for another year or two. It’s good to get out of Europe and meeting new people and do new things. A huge factor to stay here was rugby, and the social side of it. I arrived in a new country and no one knew me you all of a sudden have 50 guys looking after you, offering you places to live and helping you out. They’ve become my family.