CAO and college places: 'I came to Ireland to study because I heard it was friendly' – Independent.ie

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Engineering student Qistina Binti Ab Halim is thriving on her college course since arriving in the country
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Engineering student Qistina Binti Ab Halim at ATU Galway
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Katherine Donnelly Email

Qistina Binti Ab Halim started her third-level studies on a common entry course that allowed her to sample different areas of engineering before specialising.
She wasn’t long into the one-year taster at the, now, Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Galway campus, when Qistina decided what stream she wanted to pursue in second year.
“Climate change is the key challenge in the world, so I decided fairly early that I wanted to do energy engineering,” says the 22-year-old. Other options were biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering and agricultural engineering.
She picked Galway for her third-level studies because she heard that the Irish were “really friendly” and because Ireland is an English-speaking country.
The 22-year-old Malaysian has not been disappointed, and is even “getting used to the weather”.
She started on a three-year Level 7 (ordinary degree) course and is topping it up with a further year, progressing into the Level 8 (honours degree) programme this month.
Qistina has already made her mark and, as the top female student in her year, was selected for a bursary awarded by Swiss-headquartered industrial technology company TE Connectivity, which employs 1,300 people locally.
Working on a project with TE Connectivity will be a major part of Qistina’s fourth-year studies. Fellow student and Castlebar, Co Mayo, native Roy Sheridan, who is pursuing the mechanical engineering stream, was also selected for a TE Connectivity bursary.
TE Connectivity will assign each of them a mentor to help guide their work on their projects.
“The bursary will reduce my financial burden and will help jump-start my engineering career by allowing me to immerse myself completely in my studies,” says Qistina.
She also hopes her success will inspire more females into STEM (science, technology engineering and maths) courses and careers. “I think it is very important that girls, even in primary schools, know that it’s a field that’s open to them,” she says.
While Qistina came to Ireland to study, she says it is “very possible” that she will stay here to pursue her career.
 
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