Tokyo Tech News

TAIST-Tokyo Tech Student Exchange Program in Japan 2019


Published: February 12, 2020

From September 17 to November 28, 2019, Tokyo Tech welcomed 12 students from Thailand Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (TAIST)-Tokyo Tech, a graduate education program jointly organized by the Institute in collaboration with Thailand's National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and leading Thai universities.

Tokyo Tech faculty members are heavily involved in the program, serving as lecturers and — in cooperation with faculty members of the Thai partner universities and researchers from NSTDA — as academic co-supervisors of TAIST students.

To encourage greater interaction between students from TAIST and Tokyo Tech, the Institute launched the TAIST-Tokyo Tech Student Exchange Program in 2015 and has continued the program since then. In addition to an outbound program for Tokyo Tech students to conduct research internships and take courses in Thailand, the inbound program provides opportunities for TAIST students to take advantage of the Institute's excellent research environment by conducting master's thesis research in Tokyo Tech laboratories.

The 2019 inbound program enabled TAIST students to spend just over two months at Tokyo Tech, where they conducted research and joined seminars and events at their host laboratories. They also enjoyed campus tours, including to TAIST-related Tokyo Tech faculty labs, a visit to a Japanese company, and social activities with Tokyo Tech students. The majority of the participants also enrolled in courses at Tokyo Tech.

Visit to TSUBAME, Tokyo Tech's supercomputer
Visit to TSUBAME, Tokyo Tech's supercomputer

Weekend visit to Odaiba (Tokyo Bay area) with Tokyo Tech students
Weekend visit to Odaiba (Tokyo Bay area)
with Tokyo Tech students

In visits to TAIST-related faculty members' labs, program participants eagerly asked questions as they received briefings on each lab's research activities and experimental equipment. A TAIST student whose host laboratory opened its doors to the participants enthusiastically joined his lab mates in explaining the lab's activities in English.

Through the lab visits, program participants gained exposure to Tokyo Tech research in various fields and deepened their understanding of the research underway at particular laboratories involved with the TAIST program. TAIST students reported being highly impressed with their Tokyo Tech counterparts and their research activities.

Off campus, the TAIST students visited the Ofuna R&D centers of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, a TAIST supporter. They stepped inside the company's latest "smart home," learned about the latest information and communication technologies enabling safe and secure infrastructure at the Information Technology R&D Center, and tried out universal design products at the Integrated Design Center.

TAIST students visit Hasegawa Lab at the Institute of Innovative Research
TAIST students visit Hasegawa Lab
at the Institute of Innovative Research

Visiting Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Visiting Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

At the program's conclusion, participants made final presentations on their research to an audience comprising their academic supervisors, fellow lab members, and faculty members involved with TAIST, as well as guests from companies supporting TAIST. After their presentations, the students responded to questions in English and actively engaged in discussions with fellow participants. The session served to heighten each student's awareness of outstanding issues in their research and motivate them to push on with their research at their home universities.

"I felt the achievements of this inbound exchange program as each participating student confidently presented their research in English," commented a Tokyo Tech faculty member.

A representative from a company supporting TAIST said, "I was greatly impressed by the participating students' outstanding abilities, highly skilled presentations, and strong awareness of the issues surrounding them."

Participants, holding certificates of completion, with Tokyo Tech faculty and staff members and TAIST supporters

Participants, holding certificates of completion, with Tokyo Tech faculty and staff members and TAIST supporters

With EVP Mizumoto at reception
With EVP Mizumoto at reception

The Chair of the Steering Committee for TAIST, School of Engineering Professor Katsunori Hanamura, awarded a certificate of program completion to each student, and Executive Vice President Tetsuya Mizumoto toasted the participants at a reception that followed. Program participants reflected together on their 73-day stay in Japan, and Tokyo Tech faculty members encouraged them to continue with their research.

Comments from program participants

  • My academic supervisor gave me a lot of advice, and by following the Japanese style of conducting research, which is different from the Thai style, I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience that will be useful in my future career. I was also impressed by both how hard my fellow lab members were working and by their positive mindsets.
  • By making a final presentation in front of many people, I gained good practice for my participation in international conferences in the future. Besides, I have become more confident in speaking English.
  • It was a big challenge for me to get out of my familiar network and comfort zone to live and study overseas, but the experience has given me the skills to succeed through challenging times, and the personal flexibility to understand and accept the diverse perspectives of people from different cultural backgrounds. Overall, it was a great experience.

Program participants made the most of their short stay and have now returned to Thailand to complete their master's theses. After graduation, some will advance to doctoral programs at universities in Thailand or abroad, including Tokyo Tech, while others will pursue careers with Thai and foreign companies. Participants are expected to utilize the knowledge and experience they have gained at Tokyo Tech to work actively around the world.


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