【Second Mentor】Prof. Yulia Galagan | International Community of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Publish Date:2021-12-14 00:00:00

The idea to create the international community of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering was originated in August 2020, when international professor Yulia Galagan joined the Department. As the first international faculty at the Department, she was wondering how many international students there are at the MSE department. Prof. Y. Galagan tried to meet all of them and create an international community of the Department. At the moment of the first meeting, the international community of the MSE Department counted just eight international members including one professor, two postdoctoral researchers, two Ph.D., and three Master's students. 

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But the group grew, and later on, also international undergraduate students have joined the international community of the MSE Department. To support each other, the group meets regularly. Getting support from the Department, and the Department Chair Prof. Tzong-Lin (Jay) Shieh in particular, Prof. Galagan organizes monthly lunch meetings, where the international students not only chat and discuss the arising problems but also eat together. 

With the strong feeling that the support of international students is very important, Prof. Galagan was one of the first who supported the initiative of the Office of International Affairs on the second mentorship program. The second mentorship program is aimed to help international students to find like-minded people with whom they can share their thoughts, problems, successes, and achievements. By participating in this program from the beginning, Prof. Galagan took six mentees from different departments, who have different backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities. 

Leading two groups of international students, one from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the second one of the Second Mentorship Program initiated by OIA, Prof. Galagan with the support of the teams found that it would be more rational to merge these two groups. Thus, after several separate meetings, both groups started to meet together creating a tight network and friendship. The initiative of merging the groups was highly supported by the OIA, and a large international community created by Prof. Galagan was brought to the joint umbrella of the Second Mentorship program, again with the strong support from the MSE Department. 

The members of this international community also created their own WhatsApp group where they ask questions, give each other advice and exchange information. Their regular meetings were renewed after the pandemic. When eating together was still impossible, the group just met to update each other on the ongoing things and discussed what kind of issues everyone had, trying to solve the issues together. Supporting each other in daily life, the group also organizes some joint after-school activities. At one of the meetings, the team decided to organize an active weekend to go hiking together. The idea was realized in practice and the members of the international community led by Prof. Galagan made a hiking trip to Jinmianshan Cliff. The hiking routes with a lot of obstacles very much rallied the group. And those who participated in the trip returned as very good friends. 

Later on, during the latest regular lunch meeting, the team discussed and planned other joint activities and plans. A lot of creative ideas on how to support each other were generated. The team will create a group webpage where every member can be introduced and share a lot of useful information. The information and the survival hints can be useful not only for the group members but also for all other international students. All members of the group are confident that this initiative will help newcomers to adapt better to the life and study in Taiwan. 

Created on the basis of two initiatives - of the international community of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Second Mentorship program of OIA, the majority of the group are the students of the MSE Department, but not limited to. There are students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Department of Chemistry, Department of Computer Science, and Information Engineering. The group count more than 11 nationalities, including the Netherlands, Germany, Ukraine, France, Thailand, Malaysia, Eswatini, Honduras, Paraguay, Indonesia, and India. 

The international second mentorship group of Prof. Y. Galagan highly acknowledges the support of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Office of International Affairs.