Zakiuddin Dandoti is a MEng (Mechanical Engineering) student who is working towards graduation in 2023.
Why did you choose to pursue studies at UBC Okanagan?
UBC consistently ranks as one of the world’s top universities with an unrivaled alumni network and UBC Okanagan is based in Kelowna which has a very vibrant entrepreneurial culture. UBC was the only university to provide a Masters in Engineering program that had a one year internship which really made it the best option because of the potential industrial exposure instead of just coursework. Considering all these factors, selecting UBC was an easy choice.
What has the experience been like thus far?
UBC Okanagan has one of the most beautiful campuses in the world, and even though most days are stressful and busy, just taking a deep breath of the Okanagan air puts a smile on my face and is an instant stress buster for me. The community has been very welcoming and inclusive.
What have been your favourite courses and instructors? And why?
So far, ENGR 586 Robot Modeling and Control has been one of my favourite courses, it’s taught by Dr Mehran Shirazi. Dr. Shirazi is one of the best instructors at UBC, even though the course is challenging, his approach to teaching it is simply amazing. He’s also very approachable and genuinely cares about his students.
Can you talk about the importance of the EGSS to your experience at UBC Okanagan?
EGSS has been a part of my UBC experience from the beginning, the previous executives were very approachable and helpful during the pandemic, and helped me with a lot of activities even before I was in Canada. It was then I decided to nominate myself for the position of Vice President-Internal and eventually won the elections. The EGSS plans events to help students to transit into a post pandemic world and I feel honoured to be a part of the organization.
What do you like to do when you are not in the lab?
I am taking flight lessons and exploring British Columbia from the skies, and I must say the experience has been delightful. Kelowna has a bustling nightlife, and there’s always something to do on campus.
What extracurricular activities are you involved in? Why is it important to you to be involved?
Apart from EGSS, I am also involved with the Consulting Club where we work with for profit and non profit organizations to provide them business and technology consulting. I also regularly go out on hikes with the graduate community and explore the Okanagan. I feel extra-curriculars are a part of the holistic university experience and they broaden our perspective of the world.
Can you describe your transition to living in Canada?
As someone who left the country for the first time, the experience has been surprisingly very good. I have lived in a very hot region my entire life and the cold Canadian weather has been a welcome change. I’m in love with the food, the culture and literally everything about my experience here. The diversity on campus is amazing and you bump into people from all over the world. I have been very comfortable with the transition and loving my experience here.
Looking to the future, where do you see yourself? And what will you be doing?
I’d like to be a technology entrepreneur, I’ve always been very passionate about startups and hopefully I’ll be able to use all of the resources and network provided by UBC to start something of my own.
Advice you’d give to a student considering UBC Okanagan for their graduate studies?
It is not at all going to be easy and sometimes you will feel like giving up, but it’s all worth it. Keep an open mind, accept new challenges and push yourself, you’ll grow immensely when you test your limits.