A new destination
Recently, six engineering undergraduate students did what no other MUN engineering students have done.
They completed their work terms in India.
The work placements began to take shape when the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s Dr. Faisal Khan, acting associate dean, graduate studies, and Jinghua Nie, manager, International Programs, visited India’s University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) in 2015.
“Dr. Khan and I discussed the possibility during that visit,” said Ms. Nie. “During a subsequent visit in early 2017, which I attended with Dr. Khan, Annil Raheja, director of engineering co-op education; and Dr. Dennis Peters, then head of electrical and computer engineering and now acting dean, seven undergraduate work terms were developed,”.
Just a few short months later, the students arrived at UPES to begin working.
“There was some initial culture shock,” said Ms. Nie. “There were definitely some challenges the students had to overcome in the beginning, but students, faculty and staff of UPES were quite welcoming and our students received tremendous support.”
While all members of the group say the experience was rewarding, student Michael Daly says it was one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.
"It was the greatest three months of my life,” he said. “I can't believe I hesitated. Of course, it was not without challenges, but I strongly urge everyone to go on a similar adventure."
The experience was also rewarding for Memorial and UPES.
Officials from both universities are delighted to see the advancement of student mobility programs.
“I was extremely pleased to have Memorial students at our campus,” said Dr. Subir Ranjan Das, vice-president, academic affairs, UPES. “I look forward to enhancing and strengthening the exchange program between Memorial and UPES.”
“We found the students from Memorial to be very competent, ready for challenges, enthusiastic and very motivated,” said Dr. Ugur Guven, vice-president, international affairs, UPES. “We look forward to welcoming new Memorial students in the future as I believe that this exchange opportunity provided significant benefits to both sides and I am also sure that these Memorial students will make a great addition to the global engineering community in the future”.
Dr. Naterer, dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, says that international exchanges provide students with an opportunity to learn about other cultures and develop cross-cultural skills in an increasingly globalized world.
“Making new friends in other countries and adapting to new work environments are valuable benefits gained by students during these international work term placements."
Mr. Raheja says significant effort by Sonja Knutson, director of Memorial’s Internationalization Office, Ms. Nie and Julie Kavanagh, co-operative education co-ordinator, helped facilitate the successful launch.
We have had a very successful start and are very much looking forward to many more successful exchanges between our institutions,” he said.
Dr. Faisal Khan says he is pleased with the program’s outcome.
“UPES is an important partner of our faculty,” he said. “The university has the same passion for sharing knowledge and fueling growth through innovation and technological development. I hope more students will actively participate in this exchange program, and we look forward welcoming students from UPES to Memorial.”
Currently, three MUN engineering students are completing work terms in India.