Tann Siengdy earned his bachelor’s degree from Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC) majoring in Industrial and Mechanical Engineering.
Just two weeks after graduating, he received a full scholarship through AUN/SEED-Net (JICA) to study in Indonesia, explaining to Lift, “It was agreat opportunity for me to pursue my master’s degree abroad.”
He said he choose “Astronautical Engineering as my Master degree at Institute of Technology Bandung (ITB)” because “it was my favorite, my passion”. Through the program he focused on using computer simulation for aircraft design, which meant he had to develop his own computer code.
Any student leaving to studying a foreign country faces the challenge of language, and it was no different for Siengdy. He said in Indonesia local people used their own language to communicate and mostly didn’t understand English, making simple tasks like ordering food at a market difficult.
Luckily, Indonesian people are very friendly, so he was able to ask friends to accompany him on trips to the market. Even so, he had some culture shock and it took him a month to adapt to “the language and the way of living”, he said.The school also helped by providing 60 hours a week of language training.
In the program itself “we used English as our main language. All the lecturers speak English fluently so it made it convenient to catch up on lessons.” He said.
Language wasn’t the only major difference for Siengdy; the education system itself was markedly different. In Cambodia students tend to relay heavily on their lecturers with the university arranging the subjects.
In Indonesia, he said, “We choose what we want to study and arrange the time to do the research in lab,” adding that self-learning is more useful and helpful for a master student.
They also depend less on lecturers only going to them when they need some ideas for their work or thesis, leaving more time for experiments or projects provided by outside companies.
Because Aeronautical and Astraunautical Engineering was new to him, Siengdy said the study was quite difficult. “For my friends who have the background from aeronautics, it is ok for them.”
To help, he ask friends to explain things he didn’t understand and ”sometimes I went to my advisor [to] ask him for some advise,” he said.
Reflecting on his time abroad, Siengdy said, “studying mechanical engineering in foreign country is a good chance for Cambodian students because in our country there is lack of laboratories. From my experience in the field of mechanics, students have to familiar with the real things, not only the theory in the book; they need to do some experiments which requiresa research budget.”
After coming back to Cambodia, Siengdy said he wanted to be a lecturer. “I want to be a lecturer at ITC. I want to teach mechanical engineering. Anyway, it is the purpose of the scholarship sponsor. AUN/SEED-Net wants the alumni to go back to their county and work as a lecturer in ITC.”