Tokyo Tech News
2016 marked the second year of the Thailand Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (TAIST)*-Tokyo Tech Student Exchange Program, which took Tokyo Tech students to Thailand for short-term research and internship activities at TAIST, and TAIST students to Tokyo Tech to participate in a 10-week research program. While engaging in research, participants also enjoyed opportunities to experience the culture of the host country.
Between August 2016 and March 2017, 18 Tokyo Tech students traveled individually to Thailand and spent periods of two weeks to two months in the country. In total, 15 Tokyo Tech students participated in lectures offered through TAIST's Automotive Engineering (AE) program, while another 3 attended lectures offered through the Advanced and Sustainable Environmental Engineering (EnvE) program. In preparation for their stays in Thailand, each student corresponded by email with National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) researchers to discuss plans for their individual research internships at the agency. Once in the country, they attended TAIST lectures and participated in internships.
Warmly received by their NSTDA host laboratories, the Tokyo Tech participants conducted research and communicated with lab members in English. In addition, they engaged in sports and cultural exchange activities with TAIST classmates. They were housed at Sirindhorn Science Home in Thailand Science Park. Outside the NSTDA campus, the Tokyo Tech students enjoyed the challenge of communicating with local people for whom English was also a second language. Thanks to the friendliness of the Thai people and a combination of persistence and non-verbal communication methods, all participants experienced success in conversations despite the language barrier. After returning home, participants reported a sense of personal growth, having challenged themselves in an unfamiliar environment.
Academic affiliations are as of the date of the event
Five TAIST students visited Tokyo Tech to conduct master's thesis research in the labs of their Tokyo Tech research supervisors in a 10-week program conducted from January 11 to March 17, 2017.
Despite beginning their stay in Japan during the coldest period of the year, the TAIST students were in good spirits throughout the program. In addition to their research activities, participants joined campus and research lab tours at Tokyo Tech, took a field trip to a Japanese company, and went sightseeing on holidays. Among the various new experiences, many valued being a member of a Tokyo Tech lab, where students developed close relationships with their Tokyo Tech counterparts during long hours spent on late-night and weekend experiments.
On the final day of the program, the TAIST students made presentations of their research to their research supervisors and laboratory members at Tokyo Tech, as well as professors involved in the TAIST-Tokyo Tech program. Their presentations reflected a sense of purpose with regard to their research that dovetailed with the aims of the program, and by the end of the talks, strong feelings of accomplishment were evident. At a farewell gathering following the session, students and faculty members involved in the program reflected on their 10 weeks together and promised to reunite in the future.
Thanks to the TAIST students' hospitality, Tokyo Tech participants in the program were able to enjoy their stays in Thailand, and this kindness was reciprocated for the TAIST students at Tokyo Tech. Lab members served as tutors, and Tokyo Tech students who had previously participated in short-term exchanges at TAIST also welcomed the visitors.
The incoming and outgoing student exchanges between TAIST and Tokyo Tech are undoubtedly deepening mutual understanding between Japan and Thailand. As a result of the TAIST-Tokyo Tech Student Exchange Program, increased cooperation in other areas is anticipated.
TAIST-Tokyo Tech, the first Thailand Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, was established in collaboration with Tokyo Tech, NSTDA, and leading Thai universities in 2007 at the request of the Thai government. It aims to form a hub for research and development in the ASEAN region and produce talented, technically innovative individuals who can solve problems caused by rapid industrialization and contribute to sustainable development.