Charles Darko, MSc (Eng) Transport Planning and Engineering student at the University of Leeds.

Charles Darko

Why did you choose to study this course at the Institute for Transport Studies? 

The Institute for Transport Studies is recognised internationally and is ranked amongst the top 5 Transport Institutions in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. This sparked my interest further and I began researching the academic offerings of the Institute. I found out about the different Master's programmes the Institute offered, most of which are very relevant to todays’ Transport industry both in the UK and internationally. As a civil engineer, I decided to pursue further studies in MSc (Eng) Transport Planning and Engineering because it offered courses that are in line with my career development such as modelling, traffic management and road safety, amongst others. 

What has been the best aspect of studying your course so far and why? 

Academic research is easier at the Institute compared to my previous studies due to the access and coverage of journals, books. Lecturers have experience in both research and consultancy, as a result, they readily provide relevant and insightful field examples. Lecture materials and further reading materials specified for various courses are all appropriate and applicable to the context of my home country, Ghana.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career? 

Meeting people with different backgrounds and cultures is an experience that that has greatly improved my confidence and networking skills - skills which I deem immensely important for my future career growth. 

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed. 

I enjoyed working on the Transport Integrated Project which involved the redevelopment of Leeds City Square, a real-life problem. This project allowed me to apply theories learnt and experience to develop a good design as a team with my colleagues with different expertise and viewpoints. I gained a lot of knowledge from colleagues and I believe I have made some lifelong friends in the process.

Have you been on any field trips? If so, what was your experience of these? 

I went on a 10km hike at Castleton in the Peak District. This hike included climbing Mam Tor which is 516m high and this was done on a snowy-wet day in a foot of snow. The hike was slippery, cold and difficult but it was very fulfilling in the end.

What are your ambitions for the future?

As a 2017 Chevening Scholar and soon to be an Alumni of the University of Leeds, I intend to use the knowledge and skills I have gained to improve Transportation as an industry and an academic field in my country. My aspiration is to be a change agent for the development and design of effective transportation systems in Ghana and beyond.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course? 

The University of Leeds and the Institute of Transport Studies is the best place to experience a life-changing year, not only in gaining knowledge but also learning from colleagues and making some great friends.