After four great weeks, my New Colombo Plan (NCP) project in Malaysia is now over. Last December I was lucky enough to be accepted into a place in the NCP program to Malaysia along with three other Flinders students. The main purpose of the trip was to undertake a three week project at The University of Malaya (UM) on a subject relevant to each of our fields of study. However, in addition to our projects we were also strongly encouraged to travel and experience as much of Malaysian culture as possible.
On the 15th of January we flew out of Adelaide to start our month long trip in Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur, I stayed reasonably close to the university in an area of KL called Brickfields. My commute to UM either consisted of a brief train trip and a 15 minute walk, or if I was feeling lazy, a 10 minute grab (like uber) ride. A standard day during the trip would consist of me getting up and heading into uni mid-morning, working on my project for a few hours, and then heading out somewhere to explore and grab dinner before heading home. Weekends were also free so we definitely tried to utilise these to see and do as much as possible. On one of these weekends we took the hop on hop off bus to see most of the main attractions inside KL, like the Petronas Towers, National Palace, KL Tower, Botanical Gardens, Bird Park, National Museum as well as some others.
During another weekend we took a short bus trip to a neighbouring city called Melacca. We stayed here overnight and got to see some of the attractions the smaller city had to offer, including night markets, museums, great food as well as its mix of different architectural styles and rich history that resulted from its time under colonial rule by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.
Due to the timing of the project, we were in Malaysia for the Chinese New Year, which meant quite a few public holidays. We utilised this time by taking a trip to one of the northern states of Malaysia called Penang. We stayed on Penang island in a city called Georgetown for a total of 5 nights which gave us plenty of time to leisurely explore the sights of the island. While we were here we visited the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia – Kek Lok Si, which we were lucky to see while it was decorated for the New Year.
In addition to all the extra travel, the program itself was very interesting. My project was joint with another student’s on the trip, where we looked at blue-white pottery from china – both looking at a different aspect that suited each of our academic backgrounds. This project gave us the opportunity to visit the Museum of Asian Arts, who were kind enough to lend us some samples from their collection for our project. At the end of our three weeks we finished up our projects with a seminar, where each of us gave a presentation on our research projects.
Overall, the trip and the whole NCP project was a great experience that I would recommend to any students that want to get something more out of their study.
Jessica Penrose, Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Enhanced Program for High Achievers)
During S1 2019, Jessica participated in New Colombo Plan (NCP) funded study abroad tour to Malaysia in partnership with University of Malaya (UM) titled ‘Frontier Science, Science Policy, Technology and Innovation in Malaysia’.
Read her 1st blog here