At the beginning of 2018 I did a semester abroad at the Swinburne University of Technology – Sarawak Campus in Kuching. I made the decision back then for various reasons. On the one hand I wanted to get to know a country outside of Europe and on the other hand I wanted a little adventure. In addition, Swinburne University is a very good Australian university. Therefore, a semester abroad in Kuching was the perfect combination of adventure and a good level of learning for me.
Country & people
The nature is just amazing. Anyone who is interested in virgin forests, exotic animals and fascinating plants will be amazed by Malaysia. However, you should also be aware that it can get very humid and warm.
The people in Kuching are all very friendly. You are constantly asked whether you can take photos with the locals, as they are not used to Europeans. Especially in the evenings in the bars or clubs, the locals are very open and friendly. However, in a wide variety of situations you can clearly see that it is a developing country. Many processes in restaurants and supermarkets are relatively messy and / or slow. In addition, the cleanliness in many areas leaves a lot to be desired and many everyday services are relatively cumbersome. That wasn’t a bad thing for me, though, as I was just deliberately wanting to go to a less developed country. It also makes many situations interesting again and leaves you with many things that are taken for granted in Germany all the more. See more student reviews of universities in Asia on existingcountries.
The university is relatively modern and well organized by Malaysian standards. Above all, it offers many courses in engineering, economics and finance. Basically, there is such a wide range of courses to choose from so that every student can find a course they like. The course content is interesting and most professors are relatively competent. However, the university is also associated with a lot of hard work. We had to write a lot of assignments and the exams involved a lot of learning, at least in my subjects (finance). So if you just want to chill out most of the time and prefer not to do anything for the university, you have come to the wrong address at Swinburne University. The positive thing about these circumstances, however, is that I learned a lot and was able to improve my English significantly through the many assignments and exams.
Leisure and nightlife
The free time could be used very well to go on a few trips in the area. The Bako National Park, Jong’s Crocodile Farm, the Fairy Caves and the Semenggoh Nature Reserve are particularly recommended. Many students also flew to Kuala Lumpur, Vietnam, Bangkok, Kota Kinabalu, etc. by plane.
Kuching is a rather quiet city, but you can still party here. Particularly recommended are: Junk (many tourists). Monkee Bar (cheap), the Ricardo (for dancing) and the AMBAI Bonero Club (lots of locals).
What I also particularly enjoyed are the really low prices for food. Both local and large fast food chains such as Pizza Hut or McDonalds are very cheap. I would recommend the Hartz Chicken Buffet to everyone.
To get from A to B I can only recommend renting a scooter or using Grab (app like Uber). Whether you use Grab or rent a scooter is up to you and in the end about the same price.
Housing and lodging
Most Exchange students live at the Riverine Resort. That makes it a great advantage to live there. The apartments are in very good condition and are quite large. You usually live there with 1-3 other exchange students. A disadvantage, however, is the distance to the university. In addition, at least at the beginning of 2018 there was a construction site next to the resort, which was very noisy. However, would go there again and again, simply because all exchange students are there. It is also positive that you can use the pool and the gym for free. The gym is not very big and relatively warm, but it is completely sufficient. Otherwise there is the “Level Up” fitness studio right next to the resort, where you can register for 4 months. The service from the Riverine Resort is also relatively good and if you have any problems you will be helped fairly quickly.
The university took more time than I expected. (It must be mentioned here, however, that the master’s students had a lot of free time in contrast to the bachelor’s students). All in all, it was a very nice time and I got to know many different cultures and ways of life. The weekend trips were fantastic and I would recommend everyone to be open to the locals. They look forward to every contact and are usually very courteous. I really enjoyed my time in Malaysia and can recommend it to anyone who wants to get to know something completely different and new.