In the winter semester 2015/2016 I was a student at the Swinburne University of Technology Campus Sarawak in Kuching, Malaysia in the MBA program “Business Administration” with two other German students from the University of Cologne. In Germany, I am doing my master’s degree in “International Marketing & Sales” at the Münster University of Applied Sciences. I was the only one in my semester who had decided to go to Kuching, and after my previous semester abroad in Spain for my Bachelor’s degree and various other visits to England and France, it was the best decision to dare this Asian adventure alone. Overall, this semester abroad not only helped me gained experience with regard to the diverse cultures and religions, but also made many new friends and experienced fantastic trips, but above all I met very warm, helpful and incredibly happy people who have enriched this experience a lot.
Kuching: Living & Housing
The city is the right size to feel good, but not to get lost and to be able to discover something new at any time, e.g. B. China or India Town. I felt safe at all times. However, public transport is very poor. There is a bus route, but it is rather unreliable. The taxis are expensive in the long run and you have to pay parking fees for the rental car everywhere, including on campus. You drive better with the scooter in the truest sense of the word. The city has many nice cafes, in the Asian and also in the Western style, an incredible number of malls and street shops that invite you to stroll and linger. There are also numerous cinemas, restaurants, pubs / karaoke bars and markets. There are also the two national parks very close by and the airport, from which you can fly anywhere cheaply with AirAsia. Also regarding accommodation you have several options: condo, hostel, homestay, apartment building. I opted for the Riverine Condo, which was the best choice: cheap, safe, clean, central, well equipped in terms of facilities plus pool, gym and spa. Most of the exchange students can be found here: Swedes, Danes, Germans, Australians. In this accommodation you can usually distinguish between 3 categories. The largest room (Kingsroom) has a large bed with its own bathroom and access to the balcony. The medium and small rooms share the second bathroom and differ in room and bed size. Otherwise the apartment has a kitchen, dining room, living room and second balcony with washing machine. I was able to rent my scooter through the accommodation. Riding a scooter is very easy here, even as a beginner.
Swinburne University: Student Life
As an MBA student, I took 4 courses in total, which were clearly feasible. These take place on Saturdays (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) during the week. The courses are very mixed; not only in terms of the nationality of the students, but also in terms of previous knowledge / bachelor’s degree. Compared to Germany, I would rate the difficulty of the lessons as rather low, the effort as medium to temporarily higher. Unfortunately, the working conditions are made more difficult by the sometimes very unorganized professors and the working methods of the Asians themselves. Personally, I had to give 3 individual assignments, 8 group assignments and 9 presentations during that time, but I didn’t have any exams at the end of the semester. Because I had completed many of the work in quick succession,Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia travel. Overall, I felt very comfortable. The professors and office staff are very helpful and friendly. In addition to the computer rooms and the library, the MBA students have their own work rooms available. In addition to the cafeteria, there is also a kind of café with an outside terrace. A few minutes’ walk away there are numerous restaurants and food courts that also sell delicious and inexpensive food.
- Learn more information about the country of Malaysia and continent of Asia on act-test-centers.
Overall, it is very cheap to live. The accommodation (approx. 300 EUR / month) and the daily transport with the help of the scooter (3 EUR / day) are very cheap compared to Germany. You can actually eat out every day for little money (lunch from 2EUR). Leisure activities such as the cinema (2.50 EUR / visit) and national parks (25 EUR) are affordable. The western atmosphere and imported products can, however, cost a lot. Above all, dairy products such as cheese (4-5 EUR), yoghurt (4 EUR), milk (2-3 EUR), branded chocolate (5-10 EUR) or alcohol are comparatively very expensive. The flights with AirAsia are very cheap (KUCH-KL 20EUR). Overall, Kuching is probably the cheapest option to do a semester abroad.
Ultimately, I would do this semester abroad in Kuching again at any time and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in getting to know the Asian cultures and people better. The life here is much more relaxed and quieter than in Germany and in combination with trips, sunbathing by the pool and cheesecake at the cafe, it is almost like a holiday. You should approach this adventure with a lot of openness, respect, curiosity and flexibility. I wish everyone who decides on this adventure a fantastic and exciting time, you will not regret it.