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A practical education, faculty support, cultural diversity and … snowboarding

Two Concordia/China Scholarship winners share why they chose to advance their academic careers here
February 3, 2016
By School of Graduate Studies

Since coming to Canada, Ban Wang has taken the opportunity to pursue his love of winter sports. Since coming to Canada, Ban Wang has taken the opportunity to pursue his love of winter sports.

Each year, students from China are given the opportunity to pursue their scholarly endeavours through the Concordia University/China Scholarship Council Joint Scholarship Agreement.

The agreement is aimed at applicants to PhD programs and postdoctoral fellows. Through this program, successful students receive a tuition remission, living expenses, in addition to any entrance scholarships they are eligible for.

For Chinese students this is an excellent opportunity to live and study in one of North America’s most vibrant cities while developing their research with the support of Concordia’s faculty.

We spoke to two recent winners of the scholarship, Ban Wang, a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering, and Andy Ma, a PhD candidate in information and systems engineering, on life in Montreal and Concordia.

Wang is researching how to control unmanned aerial vehicles to accomplish certain tasks – such as forest fire detection or power line surveillance – while avoiding obstacles.

Ma’s work is in artificial intelligence, focusing on pattern recognition and computational learning theory.

'It's like experiencing several different countries in the same place.'

Why did you choose Canada for your studies?

Ban Wang: Primarily because it was different to the United States. Less guns! I was also attracted to Montreal because it is known as a culturally diverse city, so I found that appealing.

Why did you choose Concordia?

BW: Concordia offers a more practical education in engineering than other universities in Montreal. It’s hands on and I really like that. I also liked the fact that the department offers seminars in my field to give me the most up-to-date knowledge, which will really help me in my future career.

Andy Ma: Concordia chose me, actually! I was searching for international opportunities to continue my studies. I emailed professors at different universities around the world and Concordia is where I got an offer.

What do you like the most about your experience so far?

: Concordia is very much like Montreal: there are students from around the world and from really different backgrounds. I learn a lot from getting to know these people.

One thing I really appreciate about the city is that the air quality is really good compared to back home.

I also feel really supported by the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science. I recently received a scholarship from my department, which is a real help both financially and in knowing that my work is valued.

What new hobbies/interests have you discovered since arriving in Montreal?

: I love to downhill ski and snowboard. Given the lengthy winter and the abundance of great ski hills near Montreal, I have taken full advantage of this. I also tried fishing for the first time last summer.

What would you tell Chinese students who wish to come here?

BW: If you want practical knowledge and if you are interested in engineering, then Concordia is the place for you.

The other thing is that you have to learn how to cook for yourself if you want to save money.

Winter is an adjustment, but if you dress warmly and do outdoor activities it can be really fun!

AM: For those Chinese students who want to see the world, Montreal is so diverse that it’s like experiencing several different countries in the same place.

If you are a Chinese graduate student thinking about continuing your academic career at Concordia, or a Concordia University faculty member interested to attract students to your program, learn more about the Concordia University/China Scholarship Council Joint Scholarship.


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