The annual AIT Nepal day concluded on Saturday at Hotel Himalaya, Kupondole. Attended by students from various parts of Nepal, the event saw the participation of President, Deans, and senior officials of the Thailand-based Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). The faculty interacted with applicants and alumni designing presentations.
The students were informed on academic offerings, research facilities and exchange and internship programs offered at AIT by Kishore Kumar Shakya, President of the Nepal Chapter of the AIT Alumni Association.
“AIT is proud of a long-standing relationship with Nepal,” President Eden Y Woon remarked. He elaborated on his vision for the Institute, stating that the very international Institute is focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship and moving forward simultaneously in both directions giving students global exposure and relevance in their studies.
Also interacting with students were Deans Prof Rajendra Shrestha and Prof Nazrul Islam and Prof Matthew M Dailey, Head of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies.
Prof Shrestha expressed about the success achieved by Nepali students at AIT. “Our graduates from Npeal have performed exceedingly well. Achieving high positions in government, administrations, international organizations and the private sector,” he remarked.
Three alumni, each representing one of the three schools, Dr Bhoj Raj Ghimire (SET), Kripa Shrestha (SERD), and Sadichha Shrestha (SOM) narrated their time at the institute and encouraged potential applicants to have a lifetime career experience. “Life at AIT is a unique, international experience, which few institutions anywhere in the world can offer,” said one of the 2017 alumni, Sadichha Shrestha.
On the academic gathering, My City’s Sonam Lama talked to Dr Eden Y Woon to know further on the academic aspects of AIT.
What do you view as the major focus of AIT?
It has been five months since I assumed office as a president. I am trying to focus on drawing social impact with innovation. We have long been working on social impact research, water resources, waste management, earth quake study, construction, transportation, climate change, energy, aqua culture, food, etc. All of them are designed to be helpful to the communities in various regions in Asia. There is leading age technologies developing all around in robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), internet, smart cities. All these subjects are being studied and we want to make sure that those technologies and those thinking are applied to the research that we do. This is one thing I have been trying to bring forth.
The other thing is that AIT is a truly global institution with an international setting. I realize that these international students are mostly from South Asia and South East Asia. Therefore, I want to expand the global perspective of the students by setting up more exchange programs outside the region. I want have an assurance of two things. Firstly, I want to increase relationship with enterprises and industry. I am looking forward to building an entrepreneurship center so that students get to learn to do a start-up and understand the importance of capital, business plan and marketing before starting out.
As you said there are different types of scholarship benefits with AIT? On what basis do you provide scholarship to the students?
There is no doubt that academic merit is a big consideration while providing scholarships to students. Because students apply from different countries, it is quite difficult to have a standardized test. The only standardized test that we take is in English. Other than that, since 60 years of history, we have gained ideas on what academic achievement in a country means and how it is equivalent to somebody who comes from the other country. In addition, we receive applications from undergrads and go through their grades, letters and references before giving out scholarships. The standards are quite strict for scholarships so we give a large number of fellowships.
How does the institute cater to the academic needs of students belonging from diverse countries?
When we say it is an international institution, it means that we don’t want to treat people differently. We acknowledge that people have different cultures and respect their diverse religions, food habits, different holidays. Other than that, the academic training is the same. It is a global training so it is going to be a different learning experience than any other institutes.
Nepal is growing in every aspect and the country is in need of the students who could return to their home country after study. How do you view that?
My view is that young people have their own choices. I think you need to look at it objectively. In today’s day and age, Nepal needs a lot of contribution from its smart people for its development. It is important for its citizen to study abroad and return to help for the development of their native land. Secondly, there are many countries having lots of debate on foreign students but we are quite welcoming to international students. Most countries immigration makes it very difficult to stay after study. So as the trend of visa immigration is getting strict, the students could have a good possibility to return their home countries after study. There are plenty of opportunities but what Nepal needs right now is people to come back and help the country.
Would you like to convey any of advice to the students trying to enroll at your institute?
Before you start applying, make sure you study the website properly so that you don’t miss on deadlines and updates. Secondly, make sure you have a good command over English language as it shall be easier for you to earn your international degree. Then, make sure your academic records and your references are good. It is understandable if you don't opt to study at AIT. But you should certainly learn, explore and look for the best institute that matches your academic needs.