For final year undergraduate Alvin Chew, his Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP) was the time for him to take chances and step out of his comfort zone in a new country. All of TUM Asia’s Bachelor students have the opportunity to head to Munich, Germany, during their final semester to complete their Bachelor Thesis in the university’s home campus. We catch up with Alvin on his experience in Europe.
Are you able to sum up your OIP experience in one word and tell us why you chose this word?
Alvin: Intriguing. We are like babies in a whole new environment, absorbing and learning from our experiences. We were exposed to new things every day, ranging from challenging situations to simple lifestyle and cultural habits. At the same time, we are able to meet people from different countries.
Each student chooses a topic of their interest for their Bachelor thesis. What was yours?
Alvin: I worked on a part of a big algorithm which enables future robots to move exactly like humans. For example, to pick up things and to be able to make the right decisions, among others. This was done through analysing and research control through Gaussian process models. This, when successful, will create human-like robots which can automate some manual tasks in certain jobs.
You took many trips on the weekends. Can you share an interesting experience that you encountered during your time overseas?
Alvin: Yes, we took a lot of road trips to other cities in Europe. Most of our trips involved us having to drive and one of the most interesting experiences I had was that we drove alongside reindeers. It was interesting as I was actually fighting the right of way to be on the road with them as they would steer into your lane while you are cruising. While flashing the car’s headlights made them aware of us, I was afraid that some of them might get hostile and ram our car. It is indeed an experience I would never forget.
Now that you are about to graduate, how would you compare your Polytechnic experience to your university experience?
Alvin: For me, my Polytechnic experience is surprisingly similar to my University experience, just that the materials are more complex and you are able to meet a wider variety of people at university.
One last word – what advice would you give to your juniors who will go to TUM next year?
Alvin: Be a sport and experience all you can within these few months. Give yourself a chance to step out of your comfort zone. Lastly, save as much as you can while you are in Singapore. Try not to compromise your chance to embrace a full experience in Germany!
Alvin studied in the TUM Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology programme, offered in partnership with Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). The degree is fully awarded by Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM). >> Find out more about studying in this programme
This article was originally published in the Jan-Apr 2016 Issue of the TUM Asia DIGEST Newsletter. >> View the full article here