Polytechnic University PhD Students Spoke about their Internship in Hong Kong
Each year, Polytechnic University’s strategic partner, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) holds an internship competition for young scientists. The winners get a chance of training under the guidance of leading specialists, free flight to Hong Kong and accommodation at a comfortable dormitory. The main thing is to present a motivation letter with clear description of the goals and objectives of your research, and pass a thorough selection of a competent commission. Quite recently, Polytechnic University Ph.D. students Kamil IAGAFAROV and Ivan KONONOV got back from Hong Kong; during their internship, they led a blog on the Polytechnic University on Facebook and Instagram resources in English, and upon their return home they shared their impressions with the SPbPU International Services.
- Kamil, Ivan, glad to see you! You lived and worked in another country for three months. Was it difficult for you to come to the decision to participate in this project?
Kamil: I’ve got to know about internships at PolyU at the time when the second wave of our postgraduate students took part in those, and I’d been waiting for the next competition to be announced. Living in another country was, no doubt, slightly frightening; however, for me it was just another opportunity to get out of the comfort zone.
Ivan: For me, it was not an easy decision to make: prior to that, I had an internship at an international start-up company, and they invited me as a broad-scale specialist to continue our cooperation, so I had to choose between Hong Kong and London. However, in the end, I chose Hong Kong: it was interesting to see what this city was about, what could I find there for myself, and just to try my luck, after all.
- What would you advise other postgraduate students who will also decide to try their luck in Hong Kong?
Kamil: Be very specific in the motivation letter; describe in more detail what you do. Your hosting party needs to select you a supervisor, and their decision, to a big extent, depends on whether they can find a professor, whose field of research coincides with your work.
Ivan: Submit your documents in time. Start working on that right after you’ve got confirmation.
- What were your impressions upon arrival to Hong Kong?
Kamil: It took us some time when we arrived to realize where we were. The flight lasted for nearly 24 hours! Big thanks to PolyU for asking a Russian-speaking student to meet us at the airport: this helped us a lot with getting to the campus and adapting in the first few days.
Ivan: The first impressions of Hong Kong were quite strong. Two-level streets, pedestrian roads, covered tunnels, a huge number of people around; it took us about a month to start somehow get oriented in the city.
- What else would you recommend to do to get better adapted in the city?
Kamil: Make friends with locals. People here are very decent and friendly; most often, they would easily answer all your questions. In the city, there are lots of signs in English; that helps. The issue of adaptation is very well developed at PolyU: on the arrival day, a student from Kazakhstan, Dana, met us at the airport. She introduced us to her friends, and all together, they showed us around the city.
Ivan: We purchased our travel cards right at the airport. You can pay for traveling and for food with it. Our new friends showed us nice cafés, and gave a small tour of the whereabouts.
- What are your impressions of the university campus?
Kamil: PolyU is a very compact university: its territory is used at maximum not only on the ground; they also have underground levels. There are lots of buildings, all connected with on-the-ground and underground passages.
Ivan: I was surprised with the laboratories. In my opinion, the PolyU’s 3D printing laboratory is the best in the whole Hong Kong.
- Please, tell us about your research activities: what tasks did you have? What results did you achieve?
Kamil: I had a mathematical task to solve, which we had been working on together with my thesis tutor, Dr. Jiang BINYAN. PolyU frequently collaborates with commercial companies. My thesis tutor had a project in forecasting demand on the production with a particular company. Company’s employees gave us their statistics. They were interested to know if it was possible to forecast mathematically what clothing design would be the most interesting for clients. We managed to make corresponding forecasts and identify what items would sell better.
Ivan: My thesis tutor is a world-class scholar, Professor Hau-chung MAN. I am working in the sphere of 3D polymer printing, and I was very much interested in metal printing. At the PolyU laboratory, I could print out polymer research samples comparable in hardness with aluminum. Such materials are used in the air and space sphere, e.g., at the ISS. At the laboratory, I got acquainted with a postgraduate student who had been cooperating with Boeing: he had developed and produced cabinets for earphones installed in the aircraft business-class.
- What else would you remember from your work?
Kamil: My specialization is industrial automation. During the internship, I visited a package-manufacturing factory. Its managers organized a real tour of the facility for me: I got to its backstage and could see how much is being done to automate and replace the monotonous manual work.
Ivan: I was impressed with the attitude to work of the head of the laboratory. The test that I needed for my studies was organized within just 5 minutes. He had prepared the equipment, showed me everything, and then conducted a sample test. No preliminary arrangements were needed: any task would be solved within minutes. It did impress me.
- Would you recommend other PhD students take part in the PolyU project?
Kamil: Absolutely! In the very least, it is worth going there to compare the educational process in various countries. Get new experience, study English, explore Hong Kong; it is a unique city. I am so glad that thanks to cooperation between our universities I’ve got such a chance.
Ivan: There is no doubt, participate! In Hong Kong, I saw a world-class 3D printing laboratory, had worked on its equipment. Having seen all that, I now have new ideas; I know what could be done in the sphere of 3D printing. And, of course, many thanks to CEOs of SPbPU and PolyU for providing for the opportunity to take part in such a great project.
- Ivan, Kamil, thank you very much for your interesting interview! We wish you success and new scientific achievements!