International scholars from five countries met the companies and people sponsoring their studies at The House of William Chalmers.
An informal afternoon tea was held in the venerable halls where William Chalmers once walked.
”I wouldn’t be standing here today if it weren’t for this scholarship. Thank you for the appreciation you have shown me. I am truly honoured,” said Xuebo Wang, a Chalmers student on scholarship from Mölnlycke Health Care.
The occasion for the late afternoon event on September 18 was to celebrate the scholarship students and thank their sponsors and donors. In attendance were twenty-two scholars and representatives from Ericsson, FlexLink, Mölnlycke Health Care, Volvo Car Corporation, Volvo Group, Volvo Global Trucks Technology and Volvo IT. Also taking part were representatives of U.S. Friends of Chalmers and Chalmers MasterCard.
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sievert Larsson was also a special guest. The donation made to the school in his name is aimed at young Thai students wishing to pursue Master’s studies at Chalmers.
It was, in the words of fundraiser Peter Lindwall, who gave everyone a warm welcome, a joyful day.
Students from 60 countries
Today, with students from 60 countries, Chalmers can with good reason call itself an international university. This aspect was emphasized by Karin Markides, President and CEO, in her opening speech:
”Chalmers has come a long way, and held various roles in society, but always with a strong connection to the world around us. Our strengths — i.e. our history, strong links in the world, strong alumni network and our openness — are major benefits. Our international character keeps us on our toes a little more than everyone else, and I think it makes a difference,” said Karin Markides.
Addressing the present scholarship holders, she said:
”Our educational programs offer more than skills alone. They also provide students with an opportunity to develop into agents of change for the world. These are big words, but there are many ways of achieving this end – through meetings across borders and disciplines, among other things.”
In order to do this, Chalmers must be an international educational institution.
”Without connections to all parts of the world, this would not be possible. When tuition fees were instituted for overseas students, this became more difficult. Luckily, both individuals and businesses have demonstrated a great understanding, and the support we have received has enabled us to offer scholarships to finance all or part of the tuition fee.
Karin Markides also directly addressed the donors and sponsors in attendance:
”I want to thank all of you for the efforts you are making. It means more than you can imagine,” she said.
”International students are an extremely vital part of our DNA”
Maria Knutson Wedel, Vice President in charge of undergraduate education, gave a brief speech piggybacking on what the President had said:
”Karin expressed what it is that makes up Chalmers’s soul. In higher education, we often talk about ’the DNA of a university’. Having international students at Chalmers is an extremely vital part of our DNA. Another part is the quality of education. My opinion is that education is so much better when we get perspectives from different parts of the world,” she said.
Short, but touching stories
Six of the scholarship holders in attendance held their own mini-speeches about themselves and their motivations. The stories were short, but moving. Ismael Ayala received Chalmers MasterCard’s newly established scholarship earlier this year to come to Sweden from Mexico:
”I am the second person in my family to pursue a Master’s degree, and the first in the family to get the chance to study abroad. I consider myself very lucky. Without the scholarship, this never would have been possible,” he explained.
Thanks to Sievert Larsson
In his speech, Sievert Larsson fellow Thitipong Sansanayuth thanked Sievert Larsson for the opportunity to come to Chalmers and study biomechanical engineering:
”Chalmers gives me the greatest possible opportunity to get the skills I need to develop new innovations and follow my dream. Kap kun khap,” he said.
Student recruiters from Chalmers
Volvo Group fellow Poornima Joshi from Bangalore in India explained how she met Chalmers international student recruiter Kerstin Jönsson – or Miss Kristin as Joshi calls her – at an education fair in her hometown:
”During a long conversation she convinced me to come and study Software Engineering at Chalmers. We talked about following your destiny and your heart, and I think that’s when I realized that Chalmers was for me. Later, when I received a call from Volvo that I had received a scholarship, I was even more sure,” said Poornima.
She immediately felt welcome the moment she set foot at Landvetter:
”They have these fun doors that open automatically, and it was like a sign. I got the feeling that the city was welcoming me.”
Friends recommended Chalmers
Que Wang is a fellow with Volvo Car Corporation. Originally from China, Wang began Masters Studies this fall in Electric Power Engineering.
”I have friends who went to Chalmers earlier and told me that Chalmers is very good in this area. I found out more when I got the chance to attend an event in Shanghai, where I met alumni coordinator Peter Hellqvist and student recruiter Cecilia Hillman. They gave me a lot more information and showed me more kindness than I had anticipated, so I decided to apply here.”
”Chalmers and the Volvo scholarship give me a great opportunity to get to know both the college and Volvo. I look forward to gaining new skills that can be used in real life. I will cherish my time here,” said Wang Que.
Xuebo Wang is also from China. He is at Chalmers on scholarship from Mölnlycke Health Care, and studies Management and Economics of Innovation. Xuebo Wang had heard of William Chalmers long ago while still in China.
Lei Ni has been awarded a scholarship from FlexLink – whom he thanked warmly – and this fall, he started his Master studies in Systems, Control and Mechatronics:
”I’m a chalmerist and proud of it!” he exclaimed, immediately eliciting spontaneous applause.
Lei Ni said he had two main reasons for choosing Chalmers:
”I understood that you take good care of your international students. I sensed this throughout the application period and now that I’ve arrived. All along there have been plenty of official representatives from the college ready to help me,” he said, mentioning in particular Peter Hellqvist, fundraiser Peter Lindwall and Jens Hansson from Admissions.
Got to borrow William Chalmers’ hat
Guests were then entertained by William Chalmers — or, rather chalmerist Philip Wramsby, who often plays the University’s founder in various festive contexts. The afternoon’s most heart-warming moment was probably when beaming Sievert Larsson fellow Chantat Rungruengsaowapak borrowed William Chalmers’ Napoleon-style hat, coat and white wig.
With a wide smile and a sparkle of pride in his eyes, he posed for photographer Jan-Olof Yxell:
”I’ve dreamed of wearing a hat like this my whole life,” said Chantat.
And, lo and behold, after just two weeks in Sweden at Chalmers his boyhood dream has come true. When William Chalmers said goodbye after regaining his belongings, he gave these parting words:
”Remember that nothing is impossible!”
Watch the video and more interviews
The video above includes several company representatives explaining why they chose to support Chalmers with scholarships for international students:
”Mainly, we want to contribute to society wherever we are, and since we have our head office in Gothenburg, collaboration with Chalmers is quite natural. We also want to contribute to human well-being worldwide and to a global understanding of different cultures,” says Klas Ålander, CIO at FlexLink.
The video also includes students talking about scholarships, Chalmers and education.
Text: Michael Nystås
Photo: Jan-Olof Yxell
Video: Torgil Störner
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