Members of VTC Group
Home > Engineering Discipline Life > Cultural and engineering enlightenmentExchange trip opens minds of IVE students
Cultural and engineering enlightenmentExchange trip opens minds of IVE students
  • <p>“The exchange trip lasted just over two months, but it has taught the IVE graduates valuable lessons that will stay with them for their whole lives.”</p>
  • <p>“The exchange trip lasted just over two months, but it has taught the IVE graduates valuable lessons that will stay with them for their whole lives.”</p>
  • <p>“The exchange trip lasted just over two months, but it has taught the IVE graduates valuable lessons that will stay with them for their whole lives.”</p>

“The exchange trip lasted just over two months, but it has taught the IVE graduates valuable lessons that will stay with them for their whole lives.”

Jul 2016

Tony Tsang Fann-yu and Yeung Man-Tai—engineering students from IVE’s Chai Wan Campus recently went on a two-and-a-half-month exchange programme to the National Institute of Technology, Kagoshima College in Japan. Both students recounted their experiences which allowed them to benefit in so many ways from a completely different learning environment and exposure to a new set of academic traditions. They spent most of their time in Kagoshima, a city situated next to the active volcano of Sakurajima at the southwestern tip of Japan’s main islands. Towards the end of the trip, they also had the opportunity to visit Kumamoto, where they presented their final project. Both of them graduated last year from the IVE Mechanical Engineering Programme and are already employed in related fields.

Unlike many exchange trips, Tony and Man-Tai’s programme was an entirely hands-on experience. They had unlimited 24-hour-access to the laboratories at the College and enjoyed frequent technical exchanges with local students who were attending advanced courses there. They were guided by their professor (whom they referred to as Sensei—an honourific term in Japanese for Master), in selecting a suitable project right from the start. This allowed them to immediately crack on with their project, which was to develop fans capable of levitating small styrofoam balls. This was no mean feat—as fans are not the best tools to use to levitate objects. Their goal was to enhance the fan design to maximise their ability to keep the balls aloft in a vertical airstream. Both students came up with innovative solutions to help resolve the challenge. Man-Tai’s design utilised a generic fan and he achieved the desired airflow by precisely controlling the electrical current supplied to the fan motor. Tony, on the other hand, designed his fan from scratch, which he produced on a 3D-printer.

Man-Tai explained, “We were really impressed by the College’s open attitude towards students trying new things and techniques. The College provided us with access to high-end equipment including pitot tubes—which helped us accurately measure air speeds.” In addition to academic subjects, students were also educated in time management and encouraged to live a more productive life.

Along the way, the students encountered several challenges, including overcoming language barriers and their fair share of technical issues to deal with. Tony’s 3D-printed fan broke on numerous occasions as the resin was not strong enough. The Sensei helped them figure out ways to overcome these challenges by orientating the print object vertically and tweaking the current control. Tony explained, “This project has never been attempted before, even by our professor, so we had few previous work references to go on, instead we persevered with trial and error to find the best way forward.” In the end, this persistence paid off and led to success with their final year project wining the Chiang Chen Industrial Foundation Student Project Award back in Hong Kong.

The exchange trip and the whole experience of working on the project have helped both students immensely. Tony explained, “It’s a topic that often comes up during job interviews—having the exchange experience definitely catches the eye of employers.” Moreover, the research projects greatly enhanced the students’ knowledge of automation control systems and equipped them with skills that they can now directly apply in their current jobs. The exposure to the different learning culture and self-discipline of the Japanese also inspired them to be much more proactive in their approach to learning and to life. The exchange trip lasted just over two months, but it has given the IVE graduates invaluable insights that will stay with them for their whole lives.

Exchange Activities
1 | 2 | 3
Engineering Discipline