AIT prepared us for international programs: Erasmus students

General Press Releases Thursday August 18, 2016 12:32
Bangkok--18 Aug--Asian Institute of Technology

Three students from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) who have just concluded their 10-month exchange program in select universities in Europe have described AIT as a perfect launching pad for international and multicultural experience. The three were among those selected from AIT under the Erasmus Mundus Panacea program which they concluded in June this year.

"AIT prepared us thoroughly for an international experience," says Pham Minh Hang, a student of Environmental Engineering and Management who went to the University of Turku in Finland. "There were hundreds of exchange students in Finland, and while many faced adjustment issues, AIT had already prepared us for an international experience," Pham says. This opinion is echoed by Thazin Oo of Food Engineering and Biotechnology, who went to University of Uppsala in Sweden. "There were over a 100 Erasmus students at Uppsala, and it became easier to interact with an international cohort because of our international experience at AIT," she adds.

Thang San Muang, a Telecommunications student from AIT, who went to the University of Bologna in Italy recalls: "There were many international students in Bologna, though I was the only one in my program," he says. Thang, whose thesis at AIT was on the topic "Mobile satellite communication over fading channels," got a chance to display his skills when his group work on "vehicle to vehicle communication" was adjudged the best in an idea generating workshop. "It felt good," an obviously happy Thang narrates his experience.

An additional facet about the exchange program was the exposure to diverse academic fields. While Thazin was working at AIT on the topic of antibiotic resistance of pathogens in prawns and shrimps, at Uppsala, she got an opportunity to study subjects ranging from gender and sociology to microbial genetics and Swedish. At AIT, Pham's research was on toxic air pollution caused due to the traffic at Hanoi, while she studied biology and geology at Turku. Similarly, Thang had an opportunity to study innovation and internet of things at Bologna. While Thang and Thazin hail from Myanmar, Pham is from Vietnam.

"The degree of independence was also different, obliging students to be responsible for every detail and thus encouraging them to become more self-reliant," says Thazin. This environment transcends into academic activities also with students expected to work independently. "Besides academics, the entire student body at the university is very active in sports," says Pham, who was visibly impressed with the sporting culture in Finland.

Asked about takeaways from their exchange program, and all three students refer to increased confidence levels, adaptation and better communication skills. "But we would not be able to achieve this had AIT not prepared us for this international experience," they add.

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