After a busy week of planning, research, and anticipation, my bags are finally packed, and my passport and boarding pass are ready to go. One 7+ hour flight later and I’ll be meeting the student ambassadors from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)! Reality has been sinking in slowly, and I have been increasingly excited about the next three weeks in Malaysia, surrounded by a different population, culture, and climate; and of course getting my share of delicious Malaysian food.
My expectations for the upcoming trip are high, from what previous New Colombo Plan grant recipients have shared, and I am confident that this will become a memorable highlight of my university experience. I’m hoping to come back a little more knowledgeable about Malaysia’s history, politics, and language; and a little wiser, having been lucky enough to have such a detailed insight into another country’s way of life.
Branching out into the UKM network and making meaningful connections with people overseas, alongside both familiar and unfamiliar faces from Flinders, is one of the most exciting aspects of the trip. Three weeks abroad provides valuable time to hang out with students from other disciplines who I may not otherwise cross paths with.
I’m sure I will learn a great deal about ‘student life’ in Malaysia from our peer ambassadors in particular. A quick Google search has also made me very keen for our week of project work in Langkawi, which boasts some breathtaking views to break up our explorations in Bangi and Kuala Lumpur. Looking into the current challenges in sustainability will also be very interesting.
Every bit of excitement so far has been accompanied by deep gratitude for the fact that I’m able to take such a trip as part of my studies. Travel opportunities like this are rare and provide a unique understanding of life in Malaysia, and particularly life at UKM, which would be difficult to gain while travelling on holiday. I place great value in making the most of each of these opportunities, and so I look forward to soaking up all that I can from this experience in the coming weeks.
An Lam, Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) (Honours)/Master of Engineering (Biomedical) student, participating in ‘Investigating history, culture, politics and science and technology capability of Malaysia’ funded by New Colombo Plan in January 2018