Start of the semester abroad
From February 2015 to June 2015 I did a semester abroad at the Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus. In the course of my semester abroad, I was asked again and again “Why did you want to study at Swinburne Sarawak”. To this day, I can’t really answer the question. I found out about CC for a semester abroad in my department. The USA and Australia were out of the question for financial reasons. As my curiosity about Asian culture and life was great, it became the Swinburne Sarawak. A quick gut decision that I don’t want to miss anymore. The costs for the semester abroad were thanks to the Auslands-BAföG, grants, which you can get relatively easily through the DAAD (PROMOS), and personal reserves manageable and thus my dream was realizable.
The application about CC’s easy really. The friendly and helpful staff like Sabine are at your side with words and deeds. Even if you bombard them with questions and emails:).
The application form and the documents only had to be filled out with the help of the application instructions and sent to CC and it was very easy and quick to apply for a semester abroad. You get a confirmation for the university relatively late (for me at the end of December), which can be annoying and worried me a little. Once you have been accepted, all you have to do is transfer the fees, take out insurance and book the flight. There are always cheap flights to Kuala Lumpur, so don’t worry, and you can get from KL to Kuching for as little as 20 with AirAsia. Everything very relaxed.
It is advisable to start applying for BAföG abroad at the same time as applying for the semester abroad, as processing in Tübingen-Hohenheim takes a little longer. But if you take care of it directly and don’t always check it out, it’s an easy and quick thing:). See more student reviews of universities in Asia on andyeducation.
To the University
Swinburne Sarawak is an Australian university in Borneo. I studied civil engineering there for a semester. Before the semester starts, you have an enrollment day and two to three introductory / preparation days. On the first day you deal with all the organizational stuff, such as choosing courses, filling out and signing forms, etc. The next day is filled with introductory games and university rallies, which reminds you of primary school, but lots of fun makes and is definitely recommended. In addition, the university network is explained to you and you can put together your timetable. I had my difficulties with the timetable, as the best times were always sold out and some courses took place on the same day and at the same time. So I had to choose new courses, but most of the professors let themselves be talked to or you just went to the tutorial on another day and put yourself on a list there. Oh yes, the medical check for the visa was done on site, which is quite uncomplicated and quick.
The lectures in Malaysia are a little different from what you know in Germany. Depending on the professor, you have a kind of frontal lesson with a reading hour. In addition, tests, assignments or laboratory reports are written and lectures are given, which are included in the final grade.
The level varies depending on the course and professor. Some chill their lives, others just learn by heart and still others are really committed and good.
The university has a lot of clubs like the rowing club, ultimate frisbee etc. Most Asians are very shy and such clubs offer a great opportunity to meet new people and are great fun. I was in the rowing club, which was really cool and relaxed. They meet once or twice a week, mostly on Saturdays or Sundays, and row a dragon boat or a paddle boat to the waterfront. Very relaxed, the people in the club are easy going and often like to party.
Living and living in Kuching
It is advisable to arrive a week earlier in order to look for a place to stay on site. I spent the first few days in Kuching via couch surfing. What is really awesome, you get to know nice people, are told all the insider tips, where things are going etc., and quickly make contacts for the next few months. (It’s enough to stop by at a weekly meeting or two.)
There are many accommodations. In addition to those from the university, there are the Riverine apartments with a pool, etc., where most of the Danes are accommodated. Rooms in student flat shares can also be found in Kenny Hill. Most of the local / international students live there. Most of the time, phone numbers are posted by the landlords on the houses that can be called.
There are also Joseph’s houses. There is an all-round carefree package (room, internet, scooter…) The rooms / houses are good value for money. Joseph is a great, nice and helpful landlord who likes to stop by to chat or invite his tenants to his home. The neighbors are very relaxed and they don’t mind if it gets later in the evening.
Kuching is a “leaned back city”, or rather a 700,000-inhabitant village, in which everyone knows everything about everyone. Everything is very relaxed and relaxed. There are many national parks in the area and lots to see and marvel at. The food in the food courts is great, varied and really cheap. In addition to laksa, rice and noodle dishes, there are also many western restaurants or Kelvin from “Project Burger Kuching” who fries the best burgers in his garage.
Kuching has many bars and smaller clubs where you can often see the same faces. The beer prices are comparable to Germany. However, if you know the right clubs, you can often get a bucket from RM 28. Monkee Bar and Old Bazzar are such addresses.
At the weekend there is always something going on in the Mankee Bar, MOZO, Junk and Ruai (good spot for drinking tuak). This is where most of the Swinburne students celebrate. Many bars and clubs have tables and chairs on the dance floors, which is not great for dancing and fidgeting. There is also the Travillions. Travillions is a club district where many locals party. There are often arguments between locals and internations (who behave wrongly or are drunk. Travillions is nothing special, the Mozo and Junk clubs are a lot better, only smaller.)
Kuching is very safe. Of course there are often robberies, break-ins and thefts. However, if you behave normally, leave nothing lying around and lock the doors, you do not take any greater risk.
Kuching is a good starting point to explore Borneo and Malaysia. Many airlines fly to and from Kuching, with AirAsia having by far the largest and cheapest offer.
Most departments have mid-semester breaks during the semester. 10 days of lecture-free time to travel. Unfortunately, engineering does not have a break and some even write tests in time, which is not so nice. But if you ask nicely to the professors, you can also shovel this free time as an engineering student. (All lectures are compulsory, you cannot be absent three times in a row (for visa reasons).)
I thought my semester abroad was really great. Kuching is a good place to study, especially between February and June. Despite the not always demanding level at the university and the sometimes cultural and linguistic obstacles, I was able to make many new learning experiences. I was able to get to know a new culture, experience different perspectives and experience a different way of life. In order to really internalize these new life experiences, it was probably a good thing that the level of requirements did not correspond to the standard at German universities. I do not want to miss any of my experiences in any way and I am very happy with the decision to choose Malaysia as my study location.