I completed my semester abroad at Swinburne University in the 2015/16 winter semester. When it comes to organization, MicroEDU can do just about anything for you. I received all the forms from Sabine that I had to fill out as well as a checklist of other necessary documents. After completing and compiling my application documents were checked for completeness by MicroEDU and then forwarded to Swinburne University. If I had any questions, I could turn to Sabine, who answered every email directly. All I had to do was apply for a passport in advance and book a flight, as well as accommodation looking for (I’ll get to that later). A visa does not have to be applied for in advance, as this is applied for by the university and is issued approx. 4 to 6 weeks after the start of the lectures. You can simply enter the country with the tourist visa, which you get on arrival at the airport.
Living in Kuching
There are basically three options for accommodation for international students. The university offers accommodation, but some rules must be followed. Then there is the Condominium Riverine including a pool and gym. I lived in one of Joseph Chuo’s houses. I wrote him a message on Facebook from Germany and reserved a room. A room in one of his houses costs 19 RM per day including internet and cleaning lady. In addition, you can rent a scooter for an additional 11 RM per day, which is definitely recommended. So the total rent is around € 200 per month. I was picked up at the airport by Erica, Joseph’s wife, upon arrival. The two of them are incredibly friendly and helpful and were always available to answer any questions. Joseph introduced each of the residents of his houses to one another and we very quickly grew into a kind of family and did almost all activities together and spent many evenings together on the terrace. It must be said, however, that a lot was stolen from us. Something must never be left unattended outside and all doors, bars and windows should always be locked as soon as you leave the room. See more student reviews of universities in Asia on mcat-test-centers.
Kuching was just the right size for my tastes. There are some bars and clubs (e.g. Monkeebar, Junc) to go out in the evening, where you can find all the international students from Swinburne. There are numerous shopping opportunities, as well as shopping malls and smaller shops on the waterfront. There are also the markets where you can buy fruit and vegetables very cheaply (bunch of bananas or pineapples for less than 1 €) and which offer a huge selection. Those who do not like to cook themselves have numerous options to eat out in Kuching, which is also very cheap (2-5 €). Western food such as pizza or burgers are more expensive than local food and about the same price as in Germany.
Public transport is practically non-existent. Allegedly there is a bus network, which I have not seen through. The best means of transport is the scooter, as the car is usually stuck in traffic jams.
There are a few excursion destinations in the immediate vicinity of Kuching that can even be reached by scooter. Some examples are Damai Beach and the Cultural Village, Bako National Park or Mount Santubong, which is on the way to Damai Beach.
I’ve taken four business courses. My courses were International Investment and Economic Development, International Human Resource Management, International Business Strategy and Critical Thinking in Management. The final choice of course will be made on the day of enrollment. However, it can still be changed within a week. For example, I swapped a course to have Fridays off. In general, it can be said that the standard is significantly lower than in Germany. At the beginning it seems like you have a lot of work, as not only final exams are written, but also tests, midterms, term papers and lectures are given. The workload is thus higher than in Germany, but the tests or homework, as well as the final exam, are not too difficult. Depending on which course has been chosen, the professors may expect active participation in the lecture, which is also unusual.
In contrast to engineering students, business students have a 10-day semester break, which gives them the first major opportunity to travel.
The university also has numerous clubs. Starting with all kinds of sports, such as football, tennis or basketball, right up to the video game club or green club. Everything is represented and there is something for everyone. In addition, there is the gym, which is not particularly large, but all equipment is available and it is definitely worthwhile.
In conclusion, I can say that I really enjoyed my semester abroad. I really liked life in Kuching, which is much more relaxed compared to Germany. I experienced an incredible amount of friendliness and willingness to help, which I did not know to that extent from Germany. The Asian culture, the tropical climate and being surrounded by palm trees, rainforest and beach give you a holiday feeling including adventure. I can recommend a semester abroad in Kuching to everyone and wish everyone an exciting and eventful time.