Saturday, August 6, 2011

what a great trip !!!

This is an amazing summer for me. Time was flying extremely fast. I never dream before that I had a great chance to do research and explore European cultures like this. This trip brought me a lot of valuable research  experience and a good networking  with researchers in Europe. Most of students working in lab in Unecso IHE are from all over the Europe and other parts of the world such as Italy, Georgia, Spain, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia.... Although I've been in Unesco- IHE for only more than 2 months and Unesco- IHE may or may not represent for all other European research Institute/University in Europe but I can see few common things for the researchers in the US and in Europe which are working attitude (very professional), passion in work. However, What I was really interested in and learnt a lot from are the differences between UnescoIHE and USF about the lab and study. These are my thought for what I have seen and observed.
1. Lab staffs: This is my first and most impression about the lab in Unesco IHE. They have really friendly and nice lab staffs here who are always willing to help student to set up instrument and experience.
Advantages: reduce a lot of headache and time for students in the lab, be able to manage efficiently all the materials and stuffs in the lab.
Disadvantages: somehow limit the "freedom" of students in the lab which means students somehow have to depends too much on the lab staffs to do experiment so it will reduce quite a bit the creative abilities from student and also the confidence, espcially because the lab staffs manage beautifully all the lab instruments and stuffs so students somehow will be lost if they have to operate and manage the instruments by themselves (when or where lab stall are not there). So somehow I can see the US students are more independent in lab work than the European's.
2. Permission to work at night or in weekend: it's really complicated to get the permission to work at night or in the weekend in Unesco IHE.
Advantages: not known yet (maybe to make sure student safe when working in the lab ??)
Disadvantages: give tough time for students who have to run experiment continuously or some people who have to take samples or do experiment at night or in weekend.
3. More oral exams: There are a lot of oral exams here. Maybe because Unesco IHE is small so they can have oral exams more often.
Advantages: be able to test if students really understand the lessons, save more paper ^____^, give student more confidence about what they have learnt
Disadvantage:  bring more headache to students (V__V), time consuming for professors (esp. in big school like USF)
4.  Courses offered in many different places in Europe.
Advantages: Student can visit and learn from other places with other famous professors in Europe. Also students can have more networking.
Disadvantages: ^___^ don't know yet.
5. Free coffee and hot chocolate
Advantages: a lot ^____^, I really love the free coffee here, good for students, staffs for stress relief so they can be more productive in work.
Disadvantages: haha drink too much coffee :D (but I love it)

Anyway, these are my personal views about the differences between Unesco IHE and USF.  I really had very good time at Unesco IHE. Especially, I'm happy because my experiment about Gypsum leachate treatment by gaslift AnMBR was going very well. I would like to thank all Unesco IHE staffs to help me during last 2 months. I really appreciate NSF for funding this project. This is an extremely good program for students to learn more experience in research outside of the US. So the students can exchange and approach with the advanced knowledge in Europe so they can bring what they have learnt back to the US to improve research in the US.

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