I spent my semester abroad from September to December 2013 in Kuching, Malaysia at the Swinburne University of Technology. The university is actually an Australian and a private university. There were many other international students there during my semester. Other Germans, Danes and Swedes as well as Australians, Koreans and many Sri Lankans.
The application and visa procurement for the semester abroad went very smoothly. Although some documents had to be filled out and submitted, which took a little time, MicroEDU was always happy to answer any questions or problems and to help me clarify them. However, you only get a provisional visa for entry, as the ‘medical check’ is repeated on site and then you get the final visa.
When I got to Kuching, a student picked me up. He helped me enroll directly and took me to my room. I lived in the on-campus hostel. In retrospect, I can say that I enjoyed living there. For example, I had no way to go when I wanted to go to university or home. This has proven very helpful for 2 reasons. Firstly, there is no public transport in Kuching, so everyone else had to walk, rent a scooter or take the shuttle that was organized for this purpose. But this only drove every 2 hours and (as I heard from the others) was not exactly reliable either. The second reason is that it was the rainy season and it rained more often after university (no comparison to the rain in Germany). Most of them then had to wait until it stopped and they could go home, but I could just get to the hostel quickly. On the other hand, however, the rent there is very expensive (200 euros / month) and the rules are strict. Boys are not allowed in the Female Hostel (and vice versa) and alcohol is strictly forbidden. See more student reviews of universities in Asia on jibin123.
Regarding leisure time, I can say that there are some clubs at the university, such as Frisbee, running, cycling, music, Japanese language, drama, cooking club ……. However, some are not all that organized. I wanted to join the Photomedia Design Club and went to the first meeting, where they explained what was planned for the semester and the membership fee was collected. Then I was invited to a Facebook group and wrote down my email address for the organizers. I was told that I would be informed when the appointments were made, but in the end I never heard from them again. A shame…
The university also has a small fitness studio and you can reserve a tennis court or badminton court and then play privately.
There is also a lot to explore in the area around Kuching. There is an orangutan rehabilitation center, several caves and national parks. Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world, grows in one of the national parks and can be seen when it is in bloom. In addition, Damai Beach is only about 30 minutes away. There was also a beach party organized by students that shouldn’t be missed.
In general, there weren’t that many university events, which I thought was a shame. During Orientation Week there was a trip to the Cultural Village and then a trip to the rainforest followed by a BBQ on the beach. During the semester there was a cultural night in which students could present dances and music from their home countries and at the end of the semester the Drama Club performed the rehearsed musical. I liked all of these things, but I would have liked more events.
Now to the study itself. Usually the students take 4 courses. However, since I had already preferred a subject in my 3rd semester in Germany, I took 3 subjects in the engineering area. The subjects were Project 1, Engineering Management 1 and Materials and Processes. The process is a little different than at German universities. During the semester there are tests assignments, group work, reports presentations, so that you always have deadlines and have to work hard all the time. Each partial performance counts 5-10% and the final exam then only 40%. Another aspect is that most things are done and handed over in group work. In general, I can say that the workload for engineering subjects is quite high and, in contrast to the others (management, business, design), we did not have a mid-semester break. While these courses have week 7 off, we continued to study, even wrote tests and had to do laboratory work that week. As a result, I had no time to travel during the semester, but due to the postponed semester times in Germany, I had 6 weeks before the semester and then another 9 weeks, during which I traveled to some countries in Asia.
In conclusion and in summary, I can say that my semester abroad was worth it and that I had an unbelievably great experience and a lot of fun there. I recommend anyone considering studying at Swinburne University to do so.