FOS’ Geological Sciences programme have established an international ERASMUS+ mobility agreement with the Department of Geology, University of Patras, Greece. The first phase of this programme involved the exchange of cultural and scientific visits of Dr Basilios Tsikouras and MSc Student Dk Khairunnisa Nazirah binti Pengiran Dr Karim to Greece, as well as the visits of Dr Eleni Zagana and Ms Alkmini Tzoumaka to Brunei Darussalam. This exchange allowed academics, Dr Basilios from the Geological Sciences programme at FOS and Dr Eleni from Geology at University of Patras, to discuss the possibilities of new research project ideas and opportunities for teaching and research between the two universities.
From September to December 2017, Ms Alkmini visited UBD, using the laboratories and facilities in the Geological Sciences Department to complete her Research Project thesis about the study of a Karstic Cave Formation in Greece. She was also involved as part of the organising committee for the 1st International Congress on Earth Sciences for SE Asia held between 15th and 18th November 2017 in UBD. During her spare time during the visit, she also had the opportunity to experience the Bruneian culture and sightseeing.
Erasmus+ Team 2017/2018 session. Left to right: Ms Alkmini Tzoumaka (research student from University of Patras, Greece), Dk Khairunissa Nazirah binti Pengiran Dr Karim (MSc student from FOS Geological Sciences Programme), Dr Basilios Tsikouras (Senior Assistant Professor from FOS Geological Sciences Programme) and Dr Eleni Zagana (Department of Geology, University of Patras, Greece).
Dk Khairunissa Nazirah visited the University of Patras earlier this year, from January to April 2018. While at the University of Patras, she worked with Dr Eleni Zagana and Dr Dimitris Papoulis to analyse clay samples from Brunei, using facilities available at the Department of Geology. She also visited other research laboratories at the university, as well as take a course on mapping softwares such as QGIS, ArcMap and Surfer. This enabled her to actively guide students of the Laboratory of Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry, to use these softwares to accomplish their research at UBD. During her visit, Dk Khairunissa Nazirah also took a course on the Greek language and experienced the Greek culture, customs and traditions.
Overall the exchange programme positively benefited all participants and broadened the international visibility and relationships of UBD. For the students, the experience helped them to learn different teaching and research methods as well as provided them with a good start for future networking opportunities. The students also learned to be independent, broadening their views on other cultures. It is anticipated that the second phase of this ERASMUS+ exchange will involve more students from UBD in the near future.