Date: 25th – 31st October 2015
Venue: Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Thailand
Institute of Advanced Technology (ITMA), University Putra Malaysia (UPM) has joined Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering to organize Student Mobility Program at Prince of Songkla University, Thailand from 26 to 31 October 2015. 28 students have been sent to join this mobility program. ITMA has sent 8 representatives and another 20 representatives were from Faculty of Engineering, lead by Dr. Amrallah Mustafa from Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering. The main purpose of this program is to initiate competitiveness among the students and provide opportunity for the students to gain more experience at international level.
The students travelled to Thailand border on Sunday, 25th October by bus which took around 6 hours. Upon crossing Malaysia-Thailand border, they were greeted by PSU representatives lead by Dr Apidach Booranawong. The journey continued for about 1 hour by van to reach the hostel arranged by PSU.
On the first day, a welcoming ceremony and introduction of PSU to UPM was held, followed by poster presentations by PSU postgraduate students. After lunch, the students were taken to PSU tour. PSU Hat Yai campus consists of 7 faculties, 1 hospital (Hospital Songklanagarind), grocery store (7-eleven) and food center called Rong- Chang. In addition, there are also domestic residences for students of PSU.
During the one-week workshop, the students attended lectures such as FPGA programming workshop and lecture on Analytical Approach for EE students. Although ITMA students’ backgrounds were mainly materials science, the lectures challenged them to experience life of an electrical engineering student. The PSU team also spent time to bring the UPM team to visit Samila Beach in Songkhla which took almost two hours to reach there. They learnt the history of the Naga statue and the Mermaid statue which is iconic symbol for Songkhla.
The main highlight of the program was on 29th October, when ITMA Head of Labs joined the students in PSU and then led by Dr Warit Wichakool to visit few laboratories which are similar to ITMA in terms of research areas. The first visit was to the Department of Material Engineering which includes visits to the Nanomaterials laboratory, the Ceramic and Composite laboratory, and Center of Excellence in Materials Engineering (CEME).
Next, the group visited the department of Materials Science and Technology, Faculty of Science. The department provides two branches of study fields, Polymer science and Material science. The next stop was the Trace Analysis and Biosensor Research Center (TAB-RC). Similar to ITMA, the group consists of lecturers and researchers from physics, chemistry, and biology department of faculty science, and also collaborations from the faculty of engineering, PSU. This group had conducted many researches in the sensor field, with one of their research works had already been commercialised. TAB-RC focused on the sample preparation techniques, analytical method, and computational biophysics. We managed to visit each and every lab in this research group despite the time deficiency.
On the last day of program, the students took advantage of the free time in the morning to visit Hat Yai Park which is one of the tourist magnet places in Hat Yai. Hat Yai Cable Car is located on the hill top, which has its base station next to the picturesque look-out point of the amazing Phra Buddha Mongkol Maharaj (Standing Buddha). At 2 pm, all UPM students joined sport activities arranged by PSU team. ‘Chairball’ is a game that is similar to netball, only that the goal is in the form of a person holding a basket while standing on a chair. UPM team won the game, while PSU team won the futsal game. This activity marked the end of the collaboration workshop and all students and lecturers came together for the closing ceremony, wishing the best and hopeful to meet again in future. UPM delegates departed PSU the next day by bus to Thailand border, then changed bus at the border to continue journey back home and reached UPM at 10 pm.
This program was a true success thanks to careful and thorough planning by the PSU team. The program has achieved its main objective which is to expose the students to international networking and research environments, particularly in PSU. Students and lecturers from both universities have gained valuable knowledge, new friendship and unforgettable experiences throughout the workshop. We would like to express our gratitude to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Natta Jindapetch, Dr. Warit Wichakool, Dr. Apidach Booranawong, staffs and postgraduate students of Electrical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering for making this collaboration workshop a great success and making our stay in Hat Yai a pleasant and memorable trip. We believe that the friendship made during the trip will remain and we hope that with continuous networking will lead to great collaboration between UPM and PSU in near future.
Nur Hidayah Azeman
Nur Syamimi A Rahman
Mohd Hazani Mat Zaid
Nurliyana Abdul Raof
Low Zhi Huang
Muhammad Misbah Muhamad Zulkimi
Intan Helina Hasan
Institute of Advanced Technology,
Universiti Putra Malaysia,
Selangor Darul Ehsan Malaysia