In a significant milestone, the Global Outreach Programme (GOP) made its inaugural journey to Kookmin University (KMU) in Seoul, South Korea, featuring the participation of 13 students and 6 esteemed academics hailing from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering (FME) at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). Spearheaded by Professor Normah Mohd Ghazali, this was the 11th installment of the GOP, marking the first collaboration with KMU. However, the roots of this partnership can be traced back to 2014 when joint efforts in the form of lab internships and Summer School programs first took shape.
The scenic backdrop of the KMU campus, nestled in the vibrant city of Seoul with the picturesque Bukhansan National Park in the vicinity, provided the setting for this unique exchange.
The UTM student contingent represented a diverse range of academic backgrounds, spanning from first-year undergraduates to final-year scholars. Accompanying them were five accomplished faculty members from FME: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tuty Asma, Dr. Ahmad Humaizi, Dr. Nor Akmal Fadil, Dr. Wong Keng Yinn, and Dr. Muhammad Faiz Hilmi.
The program itinerary encompassed a series of enlightening activities. Participants had the privilege of touring research laboratories, where not only 5 FME students but also a student from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering (FEE) at UTM were immersed in a 12-week lab attachment as part of their industrial training (LI) requirement. The academic stimulation continued with attendance at a research seminar and an engaging Fluid Dynamics lecture. Beyond academia, participants also indulged in a spirited game of futsal with their counterparts from KMU. Dr. Ahmad Humaizi, the current Chairman of the LI Committee of FME, conducted a meticulous review of the laboratories where UTM students were undergoing their LI placements.
The program unfolded over the course of a week, spanning from September 4th to 8th, facilitated by Buddies designated by KMU. These Buddies, selected from students who had previously participated in the Summer School (SS) and A Global Learning Experience in Malaysia (AGLEIM) at FME in February, played a pivotal role in acquainting UTM visitors with the KMU campus, the vibrant city of Seoul, and the serene surroundings of the Bukhansan National Park.
The camaraderie between KMU Buddies and UTM academics was palpable, as they reunited with familiar faces, including a student who had previously served as their Buddy during the AGLEIM SS program.
Feedback from the UTM student participants has been overwhelmingly positive. They express a shared sentiment, expressing their aspirations for the continuation of this remarkable GOP initiative to Korea. Their hope is that future UTM students will be afforded the same enriching opportunity to immerse themselves in a foreign culture and gain invaluable experiences, even if only for a week.