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An international student’s perspective on Canada’s Iron Ring tradition

Posted by Engineering Communications on March 14, 2024 in News
Ushaan Hindolia
Ushaan Hindolia

Ushaan Hindolia first learned about the concept of the Iron Ring during his second year of engineering at Dalhousie University. As an international student, the ring’s deep tradition and symbolism fascinated him.

“Discovering the iron ring tradition was quite a revelation for me,” recalls the now 5th year mechanical engineering student. “Learning about it instilled a profound sense of respect for the profession, reinforcing the importance of upholding ethical standards in all our endeavors.”

With a history spanning over 90 years, the Iron Ring is a significant part of the Canadian engineering culture. Worn by many trained engineers, it serves as a reminder of their responsibility to the public and the potential consequences of their mistakes.

This past week, Hindolia was one of 447 candidates to receive his iron rings at a ceremony known as The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer. During the ceremony, graduating engineering students take an oath, written by English novelist Rudyard Kipling, to uphold the highest ethical standards of their practice. The iron ring is then placed on the little finger of their working hand.  

“Wearing a plain iron ring as a constant reminder of our ethical obligations resonated deeply,” says Hindolia. “It felt like unity and shared values among engineers, underscoring our dedication to serving society with integrity.”

A significant milestone for any Canadian engineer, the experience felt even more monumental for Hindolia, an international student who felt honored and grateful to be embraced by Canadian culture.

 “And, knowing that Rudyard Kipling, whose stories I loved reading in school, wrote the obligation makes it even more special,” he adds. “It's like a special connection between my engineering journey and my childhood memories.”

The Dal Engineering Experience

Originally from Indore, India, Dalhousie Engineering was an obvious choice for Hindolia, providing the perfect environment for him to delve into cutting-edge research and connect with potential employers across Canada. "Dal also has a huge and diverse alumni network worldwide," he explains. "It’s very helpful for job referrals and advice.”

The school’s academic reputation wasn’t the only factor that drew Hindolia to Dal; it was also the allure of Halifax. "It’s student friendly and living by the ocean is just awesome,” he says.

As an international student, Hindolia's experience at Dal has been nothing short of amazing. "We have some of the best professors in our program," he says. " They push students towards the learning aspect of the engineering program, and this leaves them with lifelong learnings.”

Dalhousie’s International Centre has also been a valuable resource, acting as an incredible support throughout Hindolia's engineering journey.  “Their welcoming environment and dedicated staff have made me feel supported and at home during my time at Dalhousie.”

As a mechanical engineering student, Hindolia says that his passion lies in the field of construction engineering. “There's something deeply rewarding about contributing to the creation of substantial structures that endure over time,” he says. “The idea of leaving behind a legacy for future generations to enjoy fills me with pride and a sense of fulfillment.”

Now proudly wearing the iron ring on his little finger, he’s looking ahead to graduation and the opportunity to uphold the oath his took at this weekend’s iron ring ritual.

“I plan to pursue opportunities that allow me to apply the knowledge and skills I've gained during my time at Dalhousie Engineering,” he says. “Whether it's securing a position in industry, furthering my education through graduate studies, or exploring entrepreneurship, my goal is to make a meaningful contribution to the field of engineering and society as a whole. I'm excited to embark on this new chapter and see where it takes me.”