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AIT Student shares Unforgettable Experiences at Georgia Tech Shenzhen Institute

28 Dec 2023
AIT webmaster

By Lam Thi My Duyen

Lam Thi My Duyen, known as ‘Joyce’, from Vietnam and is currently enrolled in the Information Management Program at the AIT School of Engineering and Technology (SET). She shares her experiences during the Shenzhen Summer Exchange Program at the Georgia Tech Shenzhen Institute (GTSI), located in Shenzhen, China. Here is her story:

As a student in the ICT department, my unquenchable thirst for exposure to cutting-edge innovations has always propelled me forward. I’ve dreamt of visiting leading countries globally, where technology enhances the quality of citizens’ lives.

The moment I received an email from my school with the title, “AIT – Shenzhen Exchange Program”, I knew I had to seize this incredible opportunity. I applied without hesitation, thinking to myself – OMG!!! It’s China, and it’s Shenzhen, the Silicon Valley of China!!! After days of anxious anticipation, an email from the International Affairs confirmed my spot in the short-selected list. I express sincere appreciation to GTSI and AIT for providing me with this invaluable opportunity, positioning me as one of six master’s students in the inaugural batch of this program.

My heart raced with exhilaration, and without a moment’s delay, I booked a flight ticket to return to Thailand from my home country to proceed with my visa process and gather all the necessary documentation. Successfully navigating a series of visa procedures, I embarked on my journey to Shenzhen on June 26, arriving in this vibrant city after a red-eye flight from Hong Kong International Airport and a connecting ferry.

The city welcomed me with its well-organized structure, towering, sleek glass-covered buildings, and immaculate streets. It wasn’t a dream; I was standing in one of China’s special economic zones and a global center in technology – Shenzhen!

Nestled at the city’s heart, Georgia Tech Shenzhen Institute (GTSI) is one of three degree-granting campuses within the Georgia Tech Global Network. It stands as one of the world’s top public research universities. GTSI Campus, also known as the Transitional Campus, provides an all-encompassing environment for education, featuring classrooms, labs, a fully-equipped library, event spaces, a wellness center, dance rooms, and even a gym, with a focus on creating an environmentally sustainable and green campus by 2025.

Upon arrival, GTSI extended a warm and well-prepared welcome, making it easy for us to settle in quickly. The orientation session and campus tour further eased the transition, outlining the daily schedule with activities such as attending classes, visiting technology companies, exploring ancient places, and more.

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The initial two days were devoted to immersing myself in GTSI classes, with a particular highlight being “Human-Computer Interaction,” taught by Dr. Fandi Peng. This course, while familiar, provided a fresh perspective, enriching my understanding by linking knowledge from AIT and GTSI. Evenings were filled with exploration, including a visit to Shekou Sea World, a prominent tourist attraction and mall with a large ship as its symbol. Mala BBQ restaurant and ice cream for dessert added a perfect ending to our energetic day.

The subsequent day included a company visit to Mindray and UBTech, both cutting-edge technology companies based in Shenzhen. Lychee picking added an adventurous touch, with the succulent fruit making the effort completely worthwhile.

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A Chinese Culture Trip to Foshan and Zhuhai followed on June 30 and July 1. Foshan, with its vintage vibes and slower pace of life, offered a stark contrast to Shenzhen’s modern skyscrapers. Activities included visiting ancestor temples, learning Kung Fu, enjoying Lion dancing, exploring local foods, and strolling through ancient towns. Zhuhai, with its beautiful coastlines, Fisher Girl statue, and Opera House, left a lasting impression, particularly the unique and delicious seafood.

In the final three days, I continued to immerse myself in Shenzhen’s life, participating in selected courses and exploring every corner of the city with my team. Witnessing various labs, including the Creative Lab with 3D printers and the Hydroponic Lab with organic vegetables grown in water, showcased the innovative technologies contributing to education.

Free time with friends strengthened our group’s bond as we explored Shenzhen. The city seamlessly integrated advanced technologies into everyday life, from seamless payments through Alipay QR codes to the prevalence of electric vehicles and convenient public services.

The most mesmerizing moment was my last night in the dormitory with my friends. Sharing experiences, thoughts, and silly personal stories, we formed a strong bond that I deeply appreciate. The warmth and connection shared during this trip are priceless treasures that will always hold a special place in my heart.

Reflecting on my journey, I feel grateful for these experiences that have shaped me. They exposed me to a different culture, broadened my knowledge, and showed me how vast and miraculous the world is. I formed lasting friendships and created memories that will forever hold a special place in my heart. My heartfelt gratitude goes to Prof. Kazuo Yamamoto – AIT President, Mr. Shawn Kelly, and Ms. Danielle Duan from the Office of International and Public Affairs, SET, and all AIT and GTSI professors and staff for making my exchange program possible.

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