September 10, 2015, by khyx2lyn
An Italian student in Malaysia
I have thought about sitting down and writing about my experience at UNMC so many times, but I never got round to it, probably because there are just too many things to say! If I had to describe this experience in one word, I would definitely choose “amazing”.
I had the time of my life during my year abroad. There were some rough patches along the way, of course; I had quite a few issues with the visa office, which resulted in having to return to my home country for a week during the first semester. However, once all this was settled, I was free to move around Asia and had no further issues with visas of any sort. The accommodation office was also disorganised to say the least, but things got done eventually.
Malaysia is a stunning country and I have never met nicer people than Malaysians: they are open, friendly and quite simply wonderful. I had not been there two days when my course mates popped me into a car and took me to have a meal with them. Another great thing about Malaysia is, of course, the weather. Forget brollies and raincoats and welcome the sun! The temperature is a constant 25 degrees and, apart from the daily 4pm downpour, it’s blue skies all the way.
The campus itself is also beautiful, and the pictures on the website do not do it justice. It has a huge sports centre with an outdoor pool and the gym has recently been renovated. The Students Associations is very active and its only aim is to improve student life – there are plenty of societies and sports clubs, so all you have to do is take your pick! I joined six last year and I don’t regret a single one of them.
One down side of the campus is the cafeteria, which has now been changed so I hope improvements have been made. Also, Malaysia is not the best country to be a vegetarian so beware: they tend to hide fish in all of their dishes. Takeout places (that take orders via Whatsapp) serve good Arabic and local food, so get to know them all and try everything. My personal favourite was chicken kebab with rice from Al Reef.
Although UNMC is a very open-minded campus, Malaysia is a Muslim country, so one must always remember to be respectful of its beliefs and customs. It was incredibly interesting for me to get to know this religion that I had only encountered in the media before. UNMC is a great place to open your mind and expand your knowledge about other cultures. There is a mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay students, as well as people from all over the world.
Studying at UNMC is like travelling the world without actually going anywhere. Furthermore, due to Malaysia’s strategic position in the middle of South East Asia, it is also incredibly easy to travel and explore. Flights are cheap, hostels are good, and backpacking is an absolute must. I managed to visit Thailand, Cambodia, Borneo, Laos, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, as well as hopping here and there throughout Malaysia. I loved everywhere I went and would definitely recommend visiting more countries, like Myanmar and Indonesia.
I have painted the picture of this campus as honestly as possible. One last thing I have to say is that UNMC is not a holiday resort and that university work did catch up with me when I was busy sunbathing. Remember that you are doing a degree and you are expected to work as hard as you would if you were in the UK. Having said that, I only have two more words for you – DO IT!