‘I’ve been bitten by the travel bug!’

Ah, the feeling of impending new experiences… It is wonderful!

To say that I am very excited would be an understatement. I am thrilled! The flights are booked! In January 2019 I will be packing my bags and going to Malaysia for my first ever overseas study related trip. The plan is to spend 4 weeks in the cosmopolitan city of Kuala Lumpur (KL) and undertake a research project with the help of the academic staff at the University of Malaya (UM). I have flown through KL airport (KLIA) so many times before, but never had the time (or sometimes money) to get out and explore this incredible city. Now that wish is coming true! As of recently, I have been in contact with my supervisor from UM via email, he is extremely helpful and very welcoming. Malaysia has a great reputation among tourists, largely based on the generous hospitality of its people. The New Colombo Program (NCP) has bestowed me with this amazing opportunity to travel and expand my experience academically, and along the way learn about a whole new world that is so different to mine. I can not wait to eat all the divine fresh tropical fruits and the traditionally prepared local dishes.

Malaysia is a melting pot of different cultures: Malay, Chinese, Indian, and many others. I am looking forward to immersing myself in its rich and diverse history, the ancient and old, as well as the modern and new. Luckily, two major public holidays are happening during my stay in KL. One of them is the traditional Chinese New Year celebration, in a prosperous and modern city, full of gardens and parks, and lots of shopping (if that is your thing). Yes please! Now, this time before the departure is to be used for planing the tourist side of the itinerary. The fun part! Visit Penang and soak up the sun on a marvellous beach, travel to Melaka and learn about its historic wealth, trek through a rainforest and marvel at Malaysia’s astonishing biological diversity… The possibilities seem endless. I strongly encourage Flinders University students to embrace the same opportunities during their studies. The NCP programs are a great place to start and incorporate some real adventures into your study plans. Certain things you just cannot learn in a classroom.

So get out there and explore the beautiful places you may have never imagined visiting before! Or like me, make the dream of visiting that special place you have been longing to see a reality.

Fun facts about Malaysia:

  1. According to a survey in 2010, Malaysians had the highest number of Facebook friends, with an average of 233. The Japanese were the pickiest with only 29 friends. Now that is a friendly nation!
  2. Malaysia’s Taman Negara (literally, “national park”) is one of the oldest rainforests on Earth. At 130,000 million years, it is older than the tropical rainforests of the Amazon and the Congo Basins. It supports more than 10,000 species of plants, 1,000 types of butterflies, 140 types of animals, 350 bird species, 100 kinds of snakes, and 150,000 kinds of insects. A heaven for nature lovers!
  3. Orangutan, or “man of the forest” in Malay, is humans’ closest relative and Asia’s only great ape. Orangutans can be found only in the wild in Borneo and Sumatra.

For more fun facts about Malaysia visit https://www.factretriever.com/malaysia-facts

Jelena Fabri, Bachelor of Archaeology, Flinders University

During S1 2019, Jelena is participating in NCP funded study abroad tour to Malaysia in partnership with University of Malaya (UM) titled ‘Frontier Science, Science Policy, Technology and Innovation in Malaysia’.

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