I had imagined something different for my semester abroad than the “typical” Australia, America or England. Since my university didn’t have a suitable offer for me, I asked Google for help and found MicroEDU (CC). After a few testimonials, it quickly became clear: It should be Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak.
For me, the choice was perfect, as the university is located in the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo, so exactly what I was looking for, far from the mainstream. Nevertheless, it is an Australian university, which simplifies the conversion of grades and probably also raises the level a bit.
The application itself was super easy. All the required forms can be found on the CC website. If you are not entirely sure or want to ask again, you quickly type an e-mail and have an answer immediately. Once filled out and sent to CC, the application continues and you don’t have to do anything but wait. During the entire application phase, I didn’t even have contact with the university itself, but everything worked wonderfully.
The courses that the university offers are listed in great detail on the Swinburne homepage. In the course of applying, I had to make a pre-selection of the courses from which I could choose later.
On the other hand, applying for a foreign student loan was not so easy. Since I get domestic student loans, the chance of receiving funding abroad was great. I submitted my application very early, around November of the previous year, and received my OK around a week before departure. An absolute shivering game. The attempt is worthwhile in any case, as not only the tuition fees are paid, but a flat rate for the flight is also provided. In my case, I had to advance a lot because the student loan is paid monthly.
After I had the approval of Swinburne I started looking for an apartment. Like many others, I ended up with Joseph. I had read his name in other testimonials and contacted him on Facebook. At the beginning I was a bit skeptical, because after writing 1-2 times, we decided that I could live with him. No paperwork, no down payment, just being OK When I arrived it turned out that everything was correct. He picked me up from the airport and took me to my new room. He has a total of 3 houses with 4 to 5 rooms each. Not a luxury but sufficient for a few months. All rooms have air conditioning, a cleaning lady comes and there is a washing machine. Joseph himself is super friendly and invited us to various restaurants on Sundays and provided us with all the necessary information about Kuching, my new home. Since the public transport is very bad or not available, we all rented a scooter from him. Even if it’s weird at the beginning, I can only recommend it to everyone. In 10 minutes you are at the university and in 5 in the city center. I paid 30 RM for the scooter and room, which is about 6 euros.
Since I wanted to orientate myself a bit before the university started, I flew about 1 week earlier than necessary. I would do it again. So I had time to arrive relaxed, to get to know the city and to practice driving a scooter.
Before the university really started, there was an “Orientation Week”, which unfortunately was more chaotic than helpful, but should not be missed. Mainly organizational things had to be done like preparing a student card, selecting courses (from the courses specified in the application), university tour and library tour. But there were also introductory activities and lectures on the subject of what goes, how and where.
- Learn more information about the country of Malaysia and continent of Asia on anycountyprivateschools.
I decided to only take 3 courses, which in retrospect was a good decision. Since 2 of my courses had overlapped, I had to swap again, but that wasn’t a problem because everyone is very friendly and tries to help. I have decided on 2 HRM courses and one management course. The level and the type of learning are a bit different from Germany, but definitely interesting. During the semester we had to write an essay in each subject and in some cases prepare presentations.
In general, the courses are divided into lectures and tutorials, with the lecture being more of an input and the tutorials being the practical exercise. Group work is very popular, as is short presentations at the end of the tutorial. Since I don’t like speaking in front of the class, it was a great exercise and I became much more relaxed with it. In addition, many exercises, essays and presentations count towards the final grade, which makes the “final exams” more relaxed. So there is a lot to do during the semester. In terms of content, both new and familiar were included, but the exciting thing was to get to know a new system.
Kuching itself is a nice town with a few bars and delicious restaurants. I can recommend Indian for all vegetarians. You can shop well, both in large, expensive shopping malls and in small shops in Chinatown or Indiastreet. On Saturday and Sunday there is a large market just outside that sells everything from second-hand clothing to fruits and vegetables and food.
At the weekend we often went on excursions. To the sea, in national parks or simply by scooter into the surrounding area. Otherwise there is an outdoor pool, in which there is hardly anything going on and in which you can really relax. Despite everything, it was often boring and we just passed the time with card games. All in all, it was a great experience that I can only recommend to everyone.