Arturo Reza Ugalde
Arturo Reza Ugalde
PhD Candidate, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering
“When you are here you feel very supported by others.”
I obtained my bachelor and master’s degrees from the Instituto Politecnico Nacional in Mexico City. I decided to pursue my PhD degree abroad because I believe that travelling and living in a different culture can enrich our perception about the world, both personally and professionally.
Mexico is trying to do something about clean energy because Mexico City is one of the most contaminated cities in the whole world — and Canada is really good at clean energy research. I love everything related to clean energies. I am passionate about it.
I am funded by CONACyT in collaboration with the Secretary of Energy in Mexico. The scholarship SENER-Sustentabilidad Energetica is specifically focused on sustainable energy. I think that the process of obtaining the CONACyT scholarship is one of the main reasons why students get discouraged about studying abroad. The process takes a long time, and requires a large number of documents. However, considering that the process results in full financial support to study abroad, I think going through that is worth it.
When I was applying for the scholarship, I emailed a few researchers that I found through the University of Toronto’s website. Professor Hani Naguib replied, and after a few discussions about his research topics, we agreed that I should apply. Later, he helped me during the scholarship application process. I am now also co-supervised by Professor Olivera Kesler.
Even though I am in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, I can use other facilities in different departments to carry out experiments. You can take any training for any equipment that is required for your research. Also, collaboration with other departments and institutions, not only in Canada but around the world, is possible.
One thing that I found amazing about Toronto and its surroundings is the perfect combination of modernity and nature. Because I love nature, I like finding new parks for hiking, especially those beside rivers and lakes. Also, Toronto has multiple sports teams to support, and going to the stadiums to watch the games is really fun. During summer and part of the fall, I spend a lot of time playing sports with my friends. The campus has many recreational areas where you can practise any sport that you want, both indoors and outdoors. There are tons of activities to do during winter like ice skating, snowball fights, or skiing.
For some reason, I imagined that I was going to be surrounded by Canadian people — but then when I came here, I realized that Canadian people are people from all over the world. You can go to a restaurant and, all of a sudden, you start hearing six, seven languages at the same time.
We Mexicans are really tied to our roots, families, and home, and that is what makes it harder for us to emigrate to another country. But when you are here you feel very supported by others — your colleagues and professors — and it makes things easier. Sometimes fear makes us lose important opportunities in life. Don’t be scared about leaving your comfort zone.
Coming here to study is challenging, especially because of the cold, but once you are here and you discover how beautiful the city is and how warm the people are, things get easier. About the cold, just learn how to dress up properly and you will be fine.
Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn/U of T News