The Faculty of Science (FS) welcomed four international visiting students (two postgraduates and two final year undergraduate students) from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Universitas Andalas (UNAND), Padang, Sumatera from 30thOctober 2019 to 5thNovember 2019. The students were: Gusrian Putra, Alber Efan Mohammad, Rahmawati Yusri and Nanda Nelfitriza. The visit was one of the results due to an agreement (MoU) signed by UTM and UNAND last year on 23 July 2018. Under the MoU, activities related to teaching & learning, research collaborations and students exchange are encouraged between the two universities. The schedule for the visitors was organised and hosted by a special Task Force led by Dr. Zarina Mohd Khalid together with Dr. Hang See Pheng, Pn. Wan Rukaida Wan Abdullah and Mr. Mohd Najib Zakaria from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science.
On the first day, the Director for Mathematical Sciences, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sharidan Shafie welcomed the students in a welcoming reception at the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science. The students experience was later extended to a day tour around UTM main campus started with a courtesy visit at the FS Dean’s Office, lecture halls, research areas and computer labs around FS main buildings at the Lingkaran Ilmu (Blocks C17 – C22) and the new clusters (Blocks TO2-TO5), UTM libraries (PSZ and PRZS) and UTM Observatory.
On the 2nd day of the program , the students had the opportunity to visit three research laboratories at the Faculty of Science: Biotechnology and Biochemistry Laboratory (briefing by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Roswanira Abdul Wahab), laboratories at UTM Laser Centre (briefing by Dr. Muhammad Safwan Abd Aziz) and Optics Application Laboratory (briefing by Dr. Maisarah Duralim).
The visiting students were also exposed to the teaching and learning environment in UTM by sitting-in at selected lectures on their 3rdday of visit. During these sessions, the four students from UNAND were joined by UTM students appointed as FS@UTM buddies to assist and accompany them during relevant scheduled lectures and classes. The FS@UTM buddies were: Khairiah Nur Ain Mohammed Hassan (MSc Physics), Nor Shahira Md Rudin (MSc Physics), Mohd Fakhri Hazim bin Azmi (MSc Mathematics), Nurhanis Hasmani (BSc Biology, Year 4 ) and Muhammad Asraf Bin Ahmad Zahidi (BSc Chemistry, Year 4 ).
On the last day of the program, the students had a short meeting with UTM-Centre for Industrial & Applied Mathematics Director, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Arifah Bahar and her team of research fellows. Following that, a short closing and farewell session for the visitors was held at the Department of Mathematical Science, Faculty of Science. The event was attended by FS Deputy Dean (Research, Innovation, Development & Alumni) Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zaiton Abdul Majid, and the Assisstant Dean (External & Global Engagement), Dr. Ezza Syuhada Sazali.
Certificate of participation and a token of appreciation from UTM-CIAM were delivered to each of visiting students by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zaiton Abd Majid
Feedback from the UNAND students on their visit UTM have been positive. They commented that they greatly enjoyed their time in UTM as they have not only gained some valuable learning and research experience, but have alsot the opportunities to create networkings with FS experts and UTM students.
It is hoped that following this visit from UNAND to UTM, future collaborations between Faculty of Science and Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, UNAND can be fostered and carried out further.
On a final note, the Task Force would like to express their deepest gratitude to everyone at the Faculty of Science who have cooperated in making the UNAND students’ visit a rewarding and beneficial learning experience, either directly or indirectly.