“UBC has a really diverse, international cohort.”
- Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science
- Campus: Vancouver
Year: 3rd year
Why did you want to study engineering?
When I was growing up, I always really enjoyed STEM and I knew I wanted to get into something to do with the applied sciences that has good career prospects.
Why did you decide on UBC Engineering? What made it stand out compared to other schools?
Engineering seemed like an intimidating program, but I found out that UBC has a really diverse, international cohort. A lot of alumni from my high school had gone to UBC to study engineering, and they told me they felt supported in their studies. I’m from Thailand and did my grade 11 and 12 in Victoria. So, I was also interested in going to UBC to be apart of the bigger city life in Vancouver.
How did you choose your program specialization?
In first year, you do a lot of different subjects and dabble in many different engineering areas to help you figure out what you’re interested in. This is great because lots of high school students just think engineering is construction work or mechanical work, but there are so many more possibilities and options. One of the projects we did in the first-year engineering class was to design a 3D-printed mechanical claw to help people with disabilities. I loved this project and realized I wanted to work in an interdisciplinary area that brings together my interests in software, mechanical and electrical engineering.
Have you been involved in any design teams?
Right now, I’m currently in Thunderbots, which is a design team that builds robots that play soccer in the International Robocup Federation. This was my first time actually doing a complex project, being part of a team and competing in a competition. For me, this is the best part of engineering: getting to work on hands-on projects and learning outside of a class. This experience also led to my interests in computer engineering.
Thunderbots International Robocup Federation Computer Engineering
What challenges have you faced?
People aren’t kidding when they tell you about the heavy work load in engineering because there are so many courses and labs. However, even though it’s a challenge, it’s manageable because there are so many support systems, including getting help from professors, friends and study groups. Also, everyone is in the same boat as you so there is always someone to talk to.
Any advice for other students?
Everyone says this because it is true: time management. There’s always time for your life if you manage your time well. Don’t procrastinate. When there’s free time, just get your stuff done. Every 30 minutes adds up! It may seem impossible at first, but you will survive!
Tell us about your co-op job.
I’m working at Cadex Electronics for an eight-month co-op term. The company specializes in battery technology and I am doing battery testing. I am gaining experience and acquiring knowledge and skills that I would not learn in school. On the technical side, it’s been great to learn more about firmware integration, data analysis, and professional coding practices. I am also learning how to work with people from many different departments.
Do you have any goals for your remaining time at UBC?
I really want to continue being apart of Thunderbots because that experience has played such a big role in helping me figure out what I want to do. I’d also like to be more active in the Engineering Undergraduate Society. I went to a couple of their activities and helped out with some events, but I would like to be more involved as it is a great community.
Do you have a sense of what kind of work you’d like to do after you graduate?
I am really interested in working in the robotics field. AI and machine learning are definitely an area I want to get into given the large role they will play in the future.
Any reflections you’d like to share on being an international student?
Even though I lived in Canada for two years before university, I still really miss my family and country. I joined UBC Thai Club to meet other international students in the same position. Although there was some culture shock at the beginning, I have learned to adapt and it’s great to experience the many different cultures here at UBC.
Do you have any advice or tips for incoming students?
Just say yes to everything! The program is really diverse and offers so many opportunities. Just put yourself out there and try new things.
Learn more about Pan's experience at UBC Engineering
Read more about Pan's 3rd-year experience.
You can also reach out with any questions: Chat with Pan.