Arrival Malaysia – Sarawak – Kuching
You have to know about Malaysia, there are two halves: West Malaysia and East Malaysia. Swinburne University is in the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo in East Malaysia. Kuching, the state capital, has a lot to offer. One of the most beautiful places is the so-called waterfront. Our hostel was only a few hundred meters from the waterfront and the Sungai Sarawak River. There you can comfortably get a Kopi Peng, a kind of iced coffee, at the many small stands, and then sit on one of the benches and enjoy the view. When I was there, in February 2015, the rainy season had just ended, but it is still very oppressive and humid. When I got off the plane at the time, it was a bit difficult to breathe at first. From Germany, my girlfriend and I, thanks to MicroEDU, organized a driver who picked us up at the airport and drove us to the Singhasana Lodge – our hostel. http://www.singgahsana.com/
The driver was provided by the university and you could either drive directly to the university or stop at the specified sleeping place. Of course, after an 18-hour journey, you are initially quite exhausted and look forward to a bed. We intentionally arrived a few days earlier before the university started, as we certainly had to take care of our accommodation but also wanted to gain first impressions. In the first week I still had quite a lot of jetleg problems. For me it took a little longer for my body to get used to the time change and the new climate. When we arrived in Kuching, we first explored the area and met with other Germans who either had finished their semester and would soon be flying home, or as we were just starting their adventure. We learned that most of the Germans would be staying in one of Mr. Joseph Chuo’s three houses. The houses are located exactly between downtown with the dining places and shops and two large shopping centers, and the university, which is a bit more remote.
There are basically three possible accommodations for internationals. On the one hand the houses of Mr. Chuo, then the Riverrine Apartments on the waterfront, or the university hostels. After looking at all three options, we decided to move in with Chuo-san. The apartments are very simply furnished. The rooms are also not particularly large, but still perfectly adequate. The Riverrine Apartments are more luxurious but also much more expensive. The advantage of the hostels is that they are directly at the university, however, they are also far away from the city center. In addition, there are very strict rules and visiting hours. Boys are not allowed on the grounds of the girls’ houses and vice versa, and in addition, the doors are locked at 10 o’clock in the evening so that you can no longer get in. See more student reviews of universities in Asia on anycountyprivateschools.
Furthermore, a clear advantage of our house was that we each also got a motorcycle. The infrastructure in Kuching is barely developed, which means that taking the bus is very complicated and can take forever, as there are no fixed timetables. We tried exactly once and then never again
Even the internationals in the Riverrine had to rent a motorcycle later.
Studying at Swinburne University of Technology
The summer semester began in March with a one-week introductory event, also known as the ice-breaking session, and Enrollment Day. The semester lasted around 14 weeks. Swinburne University in Kuching is an offshoot of the actual university in Melbourne Australia. There is no dress code, you can wear shorts and a T-shirt, but I recommend that everyone always have a sweater with them, as the lecture rooms and especially the library are very cold.
Campus life is very boisterous. You meet a wide variety of people and also come from different countries. Most students have a Chinese background or are influenced by it. However, there are very many students who come from Africa or the Middle East.
Sometimes the most important is Enrollment Day, where all new students, be they bachelor, master or international students, have to confirm their choice of course and thus enroll. This event can seem a bit chaotic, but there are enough volunteers, mostly students themselves, to help you with it. Basically, the principle “first come, first served” applies. Thus, some courses were almost fully booked very quickly and you then had to decide on a new course. The internationals in particular often had to choose different courses than those previously indicated in Germany. In addition, after changing the courses, we have to agree this again with our supervising professor at the university in Koblenz and also sign a new learning agreement. I myself have waited because you were allowed to look at the courses in the first two weeks and then finally decide whether you want to stay with them or decide on another course. I myself revised my course choice three times. Finally, after two weeks, I had my revised Learning Agreement Prof. Dr. I sneaked in and he signed it for me.
A short word about the ice-breaking session: There all new students and internationals are brought together again in the large sports hall on campus and funny and funny games are organized so that you get to know each other better and make new friends. You can quickly connect with the regular students, even if the average age is younger.
The course differs slightly from studying in Germany. The students usually take fewer courses than we are used to. However, more initiative is required from the students. You have to write a lot of homework, give weekly presentations and work on texts yourself. The courses themselves are good and easy to master in terms of difficulty. However, you have to expect that more will be asked of you during your studies than in Germany. While I had to do three term papers, three group term papers and 4 presentations in Kuching and write a few intermediate exams up to the final exams, here at our university there is usually only one final exam.
At Swinburne University of Technology, all courses are taught in English. Since English is the second active national language in Malaysia, all students and professors can speak English fluently. All lecture materials, such as slides and books, are also in English. So there were no communication problems either at the university or outside.
I had taken exactly four courses from the ISPA program.
- Managing Workplace Relations (HRM200017): In this course we dealt with the legal situation of workers, unions and employers. We have illustrated and explained the legal situation to ourselves with many case studies and case studies. The time invested in this course was reasonable. We had to hand in several group work in the form of a text as well as hold individual and group presentations. The main part of the lecture was the comparison of the Australian legal situation and the Malay.
- Organizational Behavior (ORG20003): The content of this lecture was above all the emotional state and leadership qualities of a worker. I had never taken a comparable course during my studies here in Germany. The topics covered, such as emotions, norms, communication and much more, were therefore new and very interesting for me. The atmosphere in this course was also less static and more dynamic. The professor always encouraged us to actively participate in the discussions and expressions of opinion.
- Introduction to Management (MGT10001): This course gave an introduction to future managerial positions. All areas of modern management were recorded and explained in detail. Since this was a basic course, the number of students participating was enormous. With around 300 students, this was the largest course in the business faculty. The individual chapters were worked out more precisely in self-study. Here, too, you had to hand in a term paper on a specific topic, as well as a 10-minute presentation as well as a group work and give a lecture on it later.
- Business and Society (ORG20002): This course was based on an American textbook. The content of the lecture consisted in reflecting the positive as well as negative influences of the economy on our society and our daily life. Mainly the topic of sustainability was dealt with. An individual essay was also expected in this course. Furthermore, we had to hand in a group work and wrote two intermediate exams.