Home > Blog > Charting Environmental Engineering Excellence: Natdanai Jongsamak’s Journey in the Exchange Program at Chung Yuan Christen University (CYCU) in Taiwan

Charting Environmental Engineering Excellence: Natdanai Jongsamak’s Journey in the Exchange Program at Chung Yuan Christen University (CYCU) in Taiwan

15 Jan 2024
School of Environment, Resources and Development

15 January 2024: My extraordinary experiences while participating in an exchange program enrolled in an Environmental Engineering Major at Chung Yuan Christen University (CYCU) in Taiwan.

My name is Natdanai Jongsamak, a master’s student enrolled in the Urban Innovation and Sustainability (UIS) program at the Department of Development & Sustainability, School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD) in Thailand.

The aspiration to pursue studies abroad is a cherished dream for many students. The excitement that surged within me upon receiving an email from the Dean of the School of Environment, Resources, and Development (SERD) regarding an exchange program is beyond words. The prospect of the AIT Alumni Association (AITAA) supporting exchange scholarships for AIT Masters students for a semester added an extra layer of delight to the unexpected nature of this opportunity. Without a moment’s hesitation, I submitted my application and was fortunate enough to be selected. Little did I anticipate the ensuing challenges, particularly the task of identifying courses conducted in English. Despite these hurdles, my determination prevailed, and my journey to Taiwan began, marking the commencement of a new and exciting chapter in my academic endeavors.

Arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on September 09, 2023, marked the beginning of a truly impressive experience for me. CYCU extended a warm welcome by arranging a student buddy to accompany me from the airport to university, and my student buddy’s name Howard (楊皓鈞), provide assistance in various aspects. Howard’s willingness to help me wholeheartedly left a lasting impression. Regardless of whether I explicitly sought assistance, he was always ready to lend a hand whenever a challenge arose, making my initial days in Taiwan remarkably smooth and enjoyable.

Enrolled in the Environmental Engineering program during my study abroad, I opted for four courses that encompassed a diverse range of topics. These included Environmental Sampling and Analysis, delving into the intricacies of sampling techniques; The History of Global Environmental Engineering, providing a comprehensive overview of the field’s evolution; and Global Logistics Management, offering insights into industrial engineering. Among these courses, I encountered a significant challenge with Waste Management. This subject proved to be the most demanding as it necessitated a deep understanding of both chemistry and complex calculations, areas that were not within my primary area of expertise. Despite the difficulty, tackling this course broadened my knowledge base and offered valuable interdisciplinary insights.

Beyond the mandatory core subjects, CYCU offers complimentary Chinese language classes for international students seeking to enhance their language proficiency. Eager to improve my Chinese skills, I enrolled in two additional language courses. Each class not only provided an opportunity to refine my language abilities but also served as a platform to forge new connections. The diverse composition of students, including both locals and international peers, enriched my learning experience, fostering a vibrant cultural exchange within the classroom.

On the 27th of September 2023, the President of AIT convened a significant meeting with Prof. In-Ming Lee, the President of Chung Yuan Christian University (CYCU), Prof. Ta-Chin Wei, the Dean of the Office of International and Cross Strait Education, the Management Team at the Office of Internationalization Promotion, and faculty members from the Department of Environmental Engineering. The primary agenda of the meeting was to deliberate on potential Capacity Building opportunities and discuss the feasibility of a Faculty Exchange program between the two institutions. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to be part of this impactful meeting.

On the memorable evening of October 28, 2023, I received an invitation to attend the AIT Alumni Association (AITAA) Chapter’s annual party. This event held immense significance as it provided a unique opportunity to connect with numerous accomplished alumni. It was truly an honor to meet these distinguished individuals, and I deeply appreciated the chance to engage with them. The event proved to be invaluable, as many alumni generously shared insights and advice on various aspects, including studying, living, and securing employment opportunities in Taiwan. The experience was enriching and played a pivotal role in shaping my perspective on academic and professional pursuits in the region.

During my time in Taiwan, I had the incredible opportunity to immerse myself in the rich cultural tapestry of the country. I explored various iconic landmarks and attractions, including the Taipei Zoo, the solemn Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the vibrant Zhengbin Port Color Houses, the charming Houtong Cat Village, the majestic Shifen Waterfall, the nostalgic Jiufen, the historic Longshan Temple, and the culturally significant Taichung City Dadun Cultural Centre.  I also delved into the fascinating exhibits at the National Museum of Natural Science, strolled through the atmospheric Sanxia Old Street, marveled at the architectural marvel of Taipei 101/World Trade Center, and delved into the intriguing history at the Gold Museum. Each of these experiences contributed to a deep appreciation for Taiwan’s diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant cultural heritage.

Embarking on my exchange journey in Taiwan felt like stepping into a scene from a captivating drama or anime. Over the course of four months, I forged deep connections with friends who became an integral part of this remarkable chapter of my life. However, as the calendar turned to January 14, 2024, the day I had to bid farewell finally arrived. Reflecting on my time in Taiwan, I can’t help but acknowledge how truly special and unforgettable it was. The memories I carry with me from this experience are like treasures, forever etched in my heart. Every journey has its conclusion, but I am immensely grateful for the exchange program that allowed me to capture the beauty of Taiwan through countless photographs and, most importantly, fostered wonderful friendships that will endure beyond the boundaries of time and distance.

I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to the AIT Alumni Association (AITAA) Chapter for providing me with the invaluable opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture, cultivate enduring friendships, and broaden my horizons. The impact of this exchange program is profound, leaving an indelible mark as one of the most cherished and transformative experiences of my life.