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Student Voice 3

Double Degree Program (DDP) Student Report

DDP Participant: Mr. P. M.
Major at Niigata University: Environmental Science and Technology
Area of Specialization: Environmental Science for Agriculture and Forestry
Dispatching Institution: Chiang Mai University (Thailand)

I am a doctoral student under the Double Degree Program (DDP) between a collaboration of Chiang Mai University (CMU) and Niigata University (NU). At this present, I am a third year student, and I would like to make a concluded report and express my opinion of being a DDP student. Herewith, I would like to present DDP report in seven topics which are defined as follows:

1. Becoming a DDP student

The foremost step is the collaboration between advisors from both universities. General field of study and PhD thesis theme are the most important thing for further discussion. In my case, at CMU, I concentrate on postharvest technology of fruits and vegetables under Associate Professor Dr. Danai Boonyakiat's advisory. Likewise, at NU, I also focus on a similar topic, namely, postharvest technology and agricultural systems engineering under Professor Dr. Kazuhiro Nakano's advisory. Therefore, both advisors from each institute can easily make a discussion concerning on thesis details.

2. My current situation

At CMU, I am a third year student of doctoral course as well as in NU. A completion of coursework and thesis examination are conducted under the DDP regulations concluded by two universities. Both professors from each institute handle credit transferring carefully. Only thing I need is to complete all requirements for graduation step by step along with a discussion of both advisors. Until present, my professors and I have published some valuable works, and the most proudest one is the experiment that we conducted at NU, which has been published in one of the potential journals in our field; Journal of Food Engineering.

3. Difference of Ph.D. program between CMU and NU

There are some different regulations and requirements of Ph.D. program between CMU and NU, for examples number of coursework, credit counting, number of publications and number of participated conferences required. Advisors and I have to discuss about thesis experiment carefully in order to complete both universities' regulations, especially, the academic publication and conference participation. In my case, my Japanese professor always keeps updating on my studying status, he usually informs me what else I have to complete by time course.

4. Collaboration with Japanese professors and students

Because I am a DDP student and I had only one year to finish all study courses and experiment, my Japanese professor has arranged most of important things for studying before the participation in the program. In our laboratory, we had a weekly meeting, conducted by Japanese professor. The meeting was made for general proposes, talks, appointments and some experiment topics. We also had a monthly meeting specially for academic progressive report and discussion. Also, during these meetings, I had a chance to discuss and exchange some opinions concerning on my research topics with professors and all lab members. We were able to have frank talks with professor about our experiment results and problems. Because my supervisor is an open-minded person, he always listened to students' opinion and gave us many useful suggestions.

5. Research environment in Niigata

Since research experiment in postharvest study needed us to work quickly in order to prevent postharvest quality losses, my professor assigned me a lab partner, Mr. H., a master degree student at the Graduate School of Science and Technology (during my stay at Niigata University, April 2012 to April 2013). We worked and discussed together about experimental methodology and results. He helped me a lot in everything including experimental works, daily life and also taught me Japanese language and culture. I was able to improve both English and Japanese languages skills while working with him. Besides working with Mr. H., all professors and students in the laboratory also kindly supported me whenever I needed their help or assistant. The research environment in Niigata uplifted me a lot, and I really appreciated that. Nowadays, since I have returned to my home country, my professors, NU students, and I still keep contact via emails or other social media channels.

6. Valuable experience in Niigata University

I have gained a lot of good experience during my stay at Niigata University as a DDP student which could widen my area of studies. I had a chance to meet new people and new friends and visited new places. I have learned how to adapt myself and get to know other people chance by chance. And the most valuable experience that I got impressed the most was "Japanese lifestyle". People work intensively and devote themselves to their jobs or responsibilities. Besides, they have their plans in mind, and they try to keep doing what they aim for. Kids and teenagers have high responsibilities for themselves and in communities. The experience of lifestyle is the important thing that I will keep telling people in my home country. Moreover, I would like to conclude what I gained and what I gave during the DDP program in Niigata as follows:
"Gained": academic knowledge, language skill improvement, new way of thinking, friends and family, good experience and memories.
"Gave": Thai cultures, friendship and sincere respect to professors.

7. Pros and Cons of the DDP

  1. I can receive two degrees, one from CMU and another from NU.
  2. I can spend a shorter time to get two separate degrees from CMU and NU compared with normal programs which regularly take 3-4 years at CMU and/or 3 years at NU.
  3. Double degrees holder may have more job opportunities.
  4. I can keep future collaborations with NU professors and researchers.
  5. I can improve my knowledge in postharvest technology and engineering skills, also improve in working and Japanese language ability. Most of techniques I have learned from NU can be well applied at CMU, too.
  6. NU supports DDP student to go aboard for international conference and meeting. It is very useful for me to learn and keep in touch in research information internationally.
  1. Only one year at NU is considerably too short for research experiment and paper development. It is better to expand the stay period at NU up to about 1.5 years.
  2. Discussion difficulties, the DDP should include a meeting that student and professors from both universities can virtually make discussion about experimental plans and results either at home or host university.

That would be all for my DDP student report. To sum up, I would like to sincerely express that participating in this program was the proudest moment in my study life. I am being a part of two universities' collaboration. I have met many good professors at NU, and of course, one of them is my supervisor, Professor Dr. Kazuhiro Nakano. Moreover, all DDP staffs at the Graduate School of Science and Technology always assist me in everything including studying and living matters. I really appreciate those hospitalities and kindness. Lastly, I wish that the DDP continues to produce more scholars to the community as long as possible. Again, I would like to express a sincerely thank you to the Double Degree Program at Niigata University, Japan.