On the evening of July 5, many students were sitting under the Shenzhen stars, enjoying the Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony. However, six ground-breaking students were not there, having returned to their home country of Cambodia. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak affecting the world, they had not been able to return to celebrate being the first international students to graduate from SUSTech.
Their contributions will not be forgotten, so we spoke to them to see what they thought of the SUSTech experience after four years.
How did you hear about SUSTech?
Sopheaktra KHOAN (Department of Computer Science and Engineering) – Back then, I didn’t really know much about SUSTech. All I needed was to find a scholarship to study abroad. I saw an announcement from the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport Facebook Page about the opportunity to get a scholarship to SUSTech. After doing some research about SUSTech, I got an excellent first impression and decided to try. After I had been selected as a successful candidate, I was still hesitant to accept the offer since SUSTech is a young university. Then thanks to a presentation that talked about school introduction and a warm greeting dinner, I knew SUSTech is the right choice for me.
What was your first impression of SUSTech?
Vorleak EAM (Department of Finance) – Why are Chinese universities so big? It is much bigger than our university. I like the green environment of SUSTech. I like the lakeside and enjoyed going there to feed the fish and ducks. The teachers’ building, the hospital, the swimming pool, all in the school are very different from my country.
What’s your favorite memory from your time in Shenzhen?
Youpheng CHHAY (Department of Materials Science and Engineering) – After four years, I have had so many good memories in Shenzhen. But if I have to pick one, I will go for the time at the beach during my first year with my classmates (Zhixin College Class 2). We went there as a group, and we shared experiences as we first-year students got to know each other among the new landscape and fresh air. Then we had a barbecue picnic together. That was wonderful.
Where is your favorite place on campus?
Kosal SOUT (Department of Computer Science and Engineering) – To other students, the classroom is probably their favorite place. I prefer the sports center. The sports center consists of various types of activities, including swimming, running, football, and the gym. It is impossible for everyone to only study and study for a full day. As to me, studying is fun, but somehow it is dull as well. People should take an hour to play football or workout or swim. That is what I usually do. Trust me! It helps our brains a lot. It entertains us, and we can share experiences with friends.
Could you briefly tell us about some of the highlights of your time at SUSTech?
Dynang SENG (Department of Biology) –I remembered one day when I studied at the library until late into the night. I could not catch the bus back to the dormitories, so I had to walk back. On the way to my dorm, I looked up to the moon, and I started to feel homesick. I told myself that I need to be strong and that I would overcome it. I want to thank all my friends who kept encouraging me during my time in China.
What was your relationship like with your tutors at SUSTech?
Sopheaktra KHOAN (Department of Computer Science and Engineering) – I got along well with both my life mentor and my academic advisor. I always got helpful feedback from my mentor with course selection, as well as my life in China. He also supported my study plan and gave me a lot of advice on my future study. For academic support, I got complete guidance from my supervisor. He provided me clear support to conduct my experiments and my undergraduate thesis.
What made you choose SUSTech as your undergraduate university?
Sinnarith VONG (Department of Materials Science and Engineering) – Firstly, SUSTech is located in Shenzhen, the city of technology and innovation. It matches with my intended major, materials science and engineering. Secondly, because I see the strong potential in SUSTech and most of the faculty members are recruited overseas who all can deliver lectures in English. Therefore, this enables International students to study here in an English program. For the research, there are many laboratories equipped with advanced instruments for students to join the research project since they are in their first or second year. It allows students to link their recently-learned knowledge with real practice and start to involve in scientific research from a very early stage.
What are your plans after graduation?
Youpheng CHHAY (Department of Materials Science and Engineering) – For the near-future plan, I decided to work as a research assistant in my research group at SUSTech for another year. I have already talked with my advisor but still waiting for an official offer letter. The reason is to gain more research experiences and want to publish papers to help me applying for a Ph.D. afterward. I chose to work at SUSTech for a year because I experienced some difficulties as a student in my research group. Thus I might be able to help new Cambodian students in their research paths.
How have your postgraduate and career plans changed since you arrived at SUSTech?
Vorleak EAM (Department of Finance) – Before I studied in SUSTech, I do not know what the stock market, risk management, or insurance was. We didn’t have these courses in Cambodian universities. During these last three years, Cambodia has developed to have its own insurance companies, stock markets, and finance industry. What I learned in SUSTech is new to Cambodia, but it will be useful in the future. I will continue to study for a Master’s degree before returning to Cambodia for work.
What message do you have for the international students who will follow in your footsteps?
Sinnarith VONG (Department of Materials Science and Engineering) – Study hard to build your foundation. Play hard to enjoy your every step of life, make plans ahead, and just do it.
Proofread ByYingying XIA
Photo BySupplied, SUSTech Global