Paul Cyriac

MSc Oil and Gas Engineering with Professional Placement

Born in India and raised in Bahrain, Paul studied Petroleum Engineering at Anna University, India before being attracted to UCLan because it was one of the only places in the UK that he could find an MSc Oil and Gas Engineering course with a Professional Placement. He was rewarded in due course by the inclusion of the placement year as he gained valuable professional experience with a multi-national company!

I chose to study at UCLan for two reasons: I had not seen any other UK university offering MSc Oil and Gas Engineering with a placement opportunity and I have relatives here in Preston. Once I had arrived I saw that UCLan is growing fast and believe me it has good team of tutors in the School of Engineering.

The best part of my course was the course leader Dr Hamid Reza Nasriani. who was very supportive and helpful throughout, especially with career guidance. When I was applying to different companies for my placement, Dr Hamid Reza Nasriani always helped me with a supporting or recommendation letter which was very important.

Paul Cyriac

Paul during his professional placement at Total UK

Additionally, the support and guidance from Dr Jonathan Francis is beyond my words. Whenever I face any problem I just visit his office and he always listens and finds a solution even though he is busy. Alison Robinson is another amazing personality and I am really blessed to have them all as my tutors. 

The style of education in the UK is quite different in comparison to the Indian system. Here it is more practical and assignment based which gives a deeper understanding of the subject. I think the theory and exam style of Indian education is tougher when compared.

I have done my placement with Total UK, which was one of the biggest turning points in my life because Total is a giant player in the oil and gas industry. Furthermore, the UK work experience is very reputable and will add value to my career prospects alongside my Masters degree at UCLan.

Preston is inexpensive and a beautiful place with good rail routes. I have visited many places since enrolling as a student and I liked Edinburgh (Scotland) the most. There’s a huge Asian community in the UK and Preston is diverse - I have found Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Indian and Korean restaurants. Summer is great here, but the rain not so much!

For the last 2 years I have not lived in university residence, but instead I stayed in private accommodation called The Tramshed which is very close to campus and it is easy for interaction because there are lots of social spaces. Nearby is the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre where the university provides free gym memberships and indoor games for students - I play basketball and few other sports.

When I am not studying I am usually working at Total UK part-time (since there is a 20 hours per week limitation on the Tier 4 Visa). Since my placement came to an end, I have continued working with Total UK 3 days per week and will do so until my studies are complete.

Overall UCLan is a massive university with connectivity and partnerships with global universities and companies. There is a very multi-cultural student population here and UCLan gives good scholarships to international students; I received the International Bursary and the Excellence Scholarship.

My advice is try to find a good company for a placement and work hard when you’re there and be ambitious. Enjoy your life as much as you can!

10 July 2019