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Friday, August 19, 2016

A Feedback on Educational Trip to Alagappa University 11-15 August 2016

VANAKAM! Never in my life, had i once thought of setting my foot in the Indian continent. When the opportunity came knocking on my door (thanks to Dr. Vijayaletchumy), i did not think twice before saying YES! The three hours flight journey to Tiruchirapally (TRZ) had kept me excited but the four days spent in Karaikudi had left me wanting more. Now that I am back in Malaysia, I was asked to write a short feedback. How do I do it? Where do I begin? What should I write? There are too many things to talk about. The whole experience, to me, was incredibly overwhelming and I thank everybody involved in making the trip a success and a memorable one! The welcome received from Prof. S. Subbiah - the VC, Prof. V. Balachandran - the Registrar, Dr. P. Madhan - the Dean, Dr. Nadarajah and his students, faculty staff and Alagappa University students was a reflection of the weather in Karaikudi – warm, comforting and humbling. Upon arrival, the staff and students wasted no time into teasing us with a glimpse of the Indian culture. The food served was as colourful as the saree worn by the students and the traditional Indian dance performed by them. The session with international students from Africa was equally intriguing! It was interesting to witness how well the international students had blended and adjusted to the local culture. The main crux of the trip was a two-day workshop on research methodology. Alagappa Univeristy has been generous to invite experts from different universities to share their vast knowledge with the fledgeling researchers. The insights given by Dr. A. Narayanamoorthy, Prof. Dr. Karunagaran and Dr. N. Kalaithasan had deepened and enhanced my knowledge and understanding of how an academic research should be written and organised. I personally could relate to the research approach propagated by the experts. The talks covered an extensive range of topics to include, significance of reviewing the literature, finding a research topic, arranging the chapters and potential questions for the viva voce! One interesting tip shared by one of the speakers was for researchers to review articles in high impact journals. From the journals, young researchers can learn not only about the data, but also about good research organisation and language. If food for thoughts was not enough, we were served food for our stomach! This trip has proven to me how food is the door to one’s culture! Within a short duration, we were treated to the multi-facets of authentic Indian cuisines: paratha, chapati, tosei, vaddei, appam, idiyappam, idli, roti puri, chutney, kulfi ice-cream (credit to Dr. Nadarajah), biryani, chicken 69, chicken tikka, spiced cashew nuts, gulab jamun and many other Indian sweets! But, to me, nothing beats the Indian masala tea served hot! Because of the rich experience and exposure the trip has offered, I hope there will be opportunities for future collaborations between Universiti Putra Malaysia and Alagappa University. Perhaps we will witness Malay Language Department in Alagappa University one fine day. Till then, for all the goodness and kindness, I bid “nadri” and “mintum sandipom”!

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