University of Adelaide final-year structural engineering students are getting a first-hand account of the impact of earthquakes in a visit to the University of Canterbury in Christchurch in New Zealand.
The 43 students from the Civil and Structural Engineering and Architectural Engineering degrees start a two-week course at Canterbury on Monday in the city badly damaged by earthquakes in February 2011 and the previous year.
The course is part of the partnership between the two universities, established following the February 2011 earthquake when the University of Adelaide hosted 170 Canterbury students so they could continue their studies.
Course leader Professor Mike Griffith, Professor of Structural Engineering in Adelaide’s School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, says he hopes the experience will help his students realise how important a role they will play as engineers in providing a safe and healthy environment for people and businesses.
“Christchurch is still bearing the impact of this devastating sequence of earthquakes,” Professor Griffith says. “This is a tremendous opportunity for the students to receive a first-hand account of what earthquakes can do - not just to buildings, but also to a city and region and its ability to function. They will also see the extent of other social impacts.”
Students will hear from local experts and take field trips to learn about the broad range of technical issues faced by engineers in limiting the damage posed by earthquakes. They will hear from those who have had to deal with the aftermath of widespread damage to buildings in the city.
The students will maintain a diary of their course-related activities during the two weeks and have an exam on the last day of the study tour.
Three years ago in March, the 170 Canterbury students arrived in Adelaide just two weeks after their homes, city and university were damaged by the earthquake of 22 February. The Adelaide community responded, with many families offering homes for the students to stay in, and local businesses and organisations providing a range of support to make the students feel welcome.
Since then, the Universities of Adelaide and Canterbury have established a special relationship.
Canterbury’s engineering Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Evans-Freeman says the Adelaide students will learn a great deal from their Christchurch study tour.
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