Engineering education is invariably highly technical and leaves little time for experience of the vagaries of real life. While industrial experience is now an established part of most professional degrees, this experience is usually limited to large business applications that are selected in areas of the student’s knowledge. As a result, professional courses are producing engineers that lack the experience to carry out project work, to communicate effectively with the user in a way that produces sustainable products. Can we claim to have produced professionals? This paper looks at two aspects of teaching sustainability and cross-cultural skills to professionals: firstly, the need for students to understand how technology is related to its cultural and environmental context, how it must be designed within this context and existing technologies may not be transferable from that context and, secondly, the need for students to see their role as educating the public as well as themselves. By using examples from projects in remote communities in Australia and the Pacific, this paper shows that much of the learning students will otherwise gain throughout their lifetime can be encapsulated in small projects during their undergraduate years. Software tools can be developed to present this wealth of information to learners at all levels.