What year are you and what do you study?

PhD, Materials Science and Engineering

Who is/was your employer?

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

How did you learn about your internship?

The idea for the internship was initiated by my advisor who has many collaborators in the Solar Center at KAUST.

What was the application process like?

Since my advisor was at KAUST when I applied for the internship (more precisely, a visiting student), I already got the approval from the department through him. Then, I talked to the administration team in skpye, had a short interview (~30 min), and finally got confirmed of my visit. For the future applicants who are interested in KAUST, it'd better to talk to the professors of your interest first so they can help you get through the process. Most importantly, Saudi requires a visa to people from most of countries so it is worth taking a look at the details of the visa application in the embassy website beforehand and see whether there's any regulation for you to go to Saudi.

What were your major tasks or projects at this internship?

I was working on the modeling project for "organic/inorganic interfaces in spitnronics" as an extension to my current project in GT.

Do you have any recommendations for Georgia Tech students looking to intern in the same company or country?

Although Saudi is a Muslim country, KAUST is a culturally diverse community with international students/staffs/faculty members from all over the world. The dress code is similar to here but certain types of clothing is frown upon. (e.g. sleeveless) The main language on campus is English and you can communicate with people in the retails or facilities as well as the office without any problem.

Where did you live? Did you find accomodations independently or with your company's help?

The school will assign you a private room in a flat which you will share a kitchen and living room with 1 or 2 roommates of the same gender.

How has this internship influenced your career path?

It gave me an opportunity to step out from my comfort zone and have a whole new experience. I met people from different backgrounds and learned how to understand their cultures, communicate with them, and resolve subtle conflicts. Before this internship, I only considered either US or South Korea (my home country) as a location for my next job after graduation but now I can expand my scope to other foreign countries.