This is the interview of Abhay Peertun, one of the five students who formed part of Robotics Team Mauritius in FIRST Global 2023, Singapore.
Tell us about your trip experience!
“For the first time, I travelled without my parents, but luckily, I had mentors. It was an enjoyable trip. We enjoyed every moment we spent together, bringing us closer as friends. I think I can speak for everyone when I say this new experience will be a lasting memory.
Even though we had only a short time to explore the airports, we enjoyed every moment. We had a lot of fun during our trip, discovering new and exciting things. These experiences made our journey even more memorable.”
What are you grateful for during the FIRST Global Challenge (FGC) 2023 journey?
“Meeting people worldwide, exchanging cultures, and sharing our own with them was an exciting experience. Everyone was willing to help each other in difficult times, and we shared sorrows and joys. We saw teams working together to support one another – that is true solidarity. The hospitality of all the groups was heart-warming. Diverse minds and languages collaborated to find solutions.
Learning new information, techniques, and skills was common at FGC. People were open and polite, always ready to assist, whether building robots, borrowing tools or seeking help. The meals varied from day to day; some were delicious, and some not so much. Some of us did not appreciate the meals, but they gave us the energy needed for our journey.”
What were your role and duties in Team Mauritius?
“In Team Mauritius, I had the role of the “builder.” We spent several months designing our robot, and the building part was the toughest. We had to make changes and adjustments to our robot’s design as we put it together.
Fortunately, my fellow team members, who were also part of the “builders” team, immensely helped me. We worked well as a team, combining our ideas and supporting each other. Sometimes, we had different opinions and views, but we always found a way to overcome the challenges during the process.”
What qualities have your team members admired about you? Give a situation.
“One of my most appreciated qualities is my creativity. Whether at school or within my team, I have consistently been recognised for my capacity to think creatively, quickly, and accurately. We met many of the challenges we faced during the design and assembly of our robot with various solutions and fresh ideas, and I often received credit for my innovative thinking.
Even when facing pressure, I can generate new ideas, evaluate the risks, and propose practical solutions, which the other team members always approve.”
What could you do to bring more value to Team Mauritius and get a better result?
“Everyone must bring innovation and creativity to enhance Team Mauritius‘s methods and skills. We should avoid conflicts and arguments. All ideas should be openly presented, and fellow members should be encouraged to provide their opinions after carefully analysing every possible scenario.
This approach will allow us to assess risks and identify the least likely failures. Doing so will enable us to swiftly restore order and address issues without taking extensive measures if a situation escalates.”
Back to Mauritius, how do you intend to promote STEM Education among young people?
“Back in Mauritius, I plan to share the knowledge and experience I have gained and raise awareness among my peers about STEM Education. It is essential for everyone to understand the benefits of this program. Schools are a great place to begin.
The teaching staff, being experienced, can be more influential on this topic than the new generation. With their wisdom, they can find ways to engage students and simplify the core aspects of STEM Education, making it more accessible to the young and eager minds of the next generation.”
Do you have any suggestions for YUVA that the latter can consider while preparing for next year’s FIRST Global event?
“To enhance next year’s FGC, I propose increasing the supervision and support for our future participants. This would provide the necessary assistance to those who require it and ease the burden on the few monitors currently responsible. Having been a participant closely involved with my team and the monitors, I’ve observed the challenges faced. The mentors have to manage numerous responsibilities, sometimes dealing with challenging students, which creates significant stress and tension on both sides.
I suggest allocating more mentors to supervise and guide the students, ensuring less pressure, anxiety, and stress. This approach would create a healthier and more disciplined environment, fostering the friendliness and respect that every team should have.”