We were excited to be able to get back to our Ryder Alliance Team Exchanges. Earlier this year, Cameron Wheeler from our Brisbane studio headed over to work for three months in Ryder Architecture’s Newcastle, office. He shared his thoughts on his time working in the UK and making most of this opportunity to travel.
What did you enjoy most about the Alliance Team Exchange?
Working with Ryder and Ward Robinson was great professionally, they have a larger team with a range of different projects across multiple sectors. Being involved in these projects at various stages was a great learning curve. Also being able to offer my skills, knowledge and experience to the team made the exchange beneficial for everyone.
Personally, being able to dive into a new place with different cultures, people, environments, and opportunities was exciting and made every day feel like an adventure.
Did your time working with the Newcastle Team live up to your expectations?
I didn’t really know what to expect arriving in the UK and I think that was what made the exchange such a great experience. Having no expectations or preconceived ideas of what I was going to be doing allowed me to be open to everything and take on every opportunity I was offered.
What projects did you work on while you were on exchange?
The main project I worked on was the North Standard head office located along the Quayside in Newcastle. I was responsible for the stage 1 report (feasibility study) which included holding focus groups, translating interviews with the staff, testing fit-outs, creating a research package, and client presentations.
I also helped on a few other large-scale office projects including Beaverbrook’s and Smith and Nephew’s head offices. These projects were a mix of design work, concept work and technical drawings.
What caught your eye from an architectural perspective while you were in the UK?
The age and scale of the architecture in the UK is unbelievable. I think all Australians who have visited Europe would agree the history of architecture is incomparable to Australia.
What was the biggest challenge about the exchange?
Flying to the other side of the world with nothing familiar in a 10,000km radius was quite daunting. However, being pushed outside your comfort zone is never a bad thing. I had to really make an effort and immerse myself in the experience to get the most out of the opportunity, which was challenging at times but also what I found most rewarding.
What was the highlight of your time in the UK and your additional travels?
I was quite proactive on my weekends and fortunately had a few public holidays while I was abroad.
I saw a lot of Northumberland – Bamburgh was a highlight. I also visited the Lake District, York, Durham, London, and Edinburgh. After the exchange, I experienced the European summer as I travelled through France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. However, the standout had to be the Scottish Highlands. As a keen hiker, the Highlands were an absolute dream. Accompanied by good weather and the Braveheart soundtrack – it couldn’t have been better.
What did you miss the most about home?
I really missed the warm weather! As a proud Queenslander who has never really experienced ‘cold’ or snow, the Northern UK temperatures had me in thermals every day for the three months I was there.
What would you say to someone considering the Alliance Exchange?
Do it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. On both a professional and personal level, the exchange was an incredible experience. The Ryder team made me feel very welcome!