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Reine Sonkin : from the Ucac-Icam Institute in Douala to Sherbrooke, Canada!

12 Jun 2023

Reine Sonkin, a computer engineering student in the X2024 class at the Ucac-Icam Institute in Douala (Cameroon), is one of the first students to sign a partnership agreement with the University of Sherbrooke in Canada. The aim of the partnership is to establish collaboration in teaching, research and student mobility in the IT field. Here, she talks about her time with the GRIIS (Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire en informatique de la santé), co-founded by her professional mentor, Prof. Luc Lavoie.

What was the purpose of your stay?

I did a 4-month research internship with GRIIS (2 months of which were distance learning at Ucac-Icam and 2 months face-to-face at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, on GRIIS premises). I worked on a research project related to health informatics, which was in line with my academic interests. My supervisors, Professor Lavoie and Professor Christina Khnaisser, were very available and provided excellent guidance. The working atmosphere was very pleasant, the team was dynamic and I appreciated the open-mindedness and benevolence of the members of the research group.

What about student life?

Student life at the Sherbrooke campus is very dynamic and rich in events. There are numerous clubs and student associations, cultural and sporting events, as well as a varied and interesting range of courses. In particular, I was able to attend lectures and concerts organized by the university. I also had the opportunity to discover the city of Sherbrooke and the surrounding area, which is full of breathtaking scenery.

What do you think of this partnership?

The partnership between Ucac-Icam and Sherbrooke is an excellent opportunity for students looking for a unique and enriching international experience. I’m very grateful to the partnership, which has enabled me to enjoy such an experience. It enabled me to discover a new culture, develop my professional skills and meet interesting and inspiring people.

How important is culture shock?

Yes, culture shock is present, but it’s not insurmountable. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the kindness and open-mindedness of Quebecers. I also discovered new foods, like the famous poutine, a typical Quebec dish.

What advice would you give to students interested in studying in Sherbrooke?

My advice would be to give it a try! Sherbrooke is a pleasant city to live in, and the university offers a stimulating environment in which to work and study. Don’t hesitate to get involved in student life and explore the city and its surroundings. Above all, be open-minded and ready to learn new things! Let the cultural differences surprise you!