The preparation for the semester in Kuching, Malaysia is actually easy to do with a little effort. The thing that cost me the most time was finding out about the various subjects at Swinburne University, which I was then able to get credit for in Germany. Furthermore, you have to get some vaccinations, which are necessary for tropical areas. This process can be very costly as many of the vaccinations are very expensive and the doctor’s office hours have to be paid for privately. Depending on the insurance, however, the vaccination costs can be partially reimbursed, for example I received a lump sum of € 300. In addition to the vaccinations, you have to undergo a medical check, which is required by the university in Malaysia. This was also not paid for by my health insurance and all consultation hours had to be paid privately. The medical check also requires an X-ray test and a blood test, but these can be omitted if there is no suspicion of HIV or other diseases. That saves a lot of money and you have to get another health test from the university on site anyway.
The rest of the paperwork isn’t really that complicated. A Toefl test is not required to get to the university, a DAAD test (is free!) Is completely sufficient and is also very easy to pass.
Whenever I had any questions, I always called Sabine Jakobs, who helped me a lot with everything.
As far as the accommodation is concerned, we only looked for something on site, which in retrospect might not have been that smart, as a lot was already occupied. The university has a housing agency, but they only showed us relatively expensive apartments because the cheap ones were already full. I then lived in a kind of hotel (“Sarakraf Pavilion”) for a month, which cost € 250. After the month I found a great apartment with a friend in “Chonglin Park”. This address is highly recommended, as there are many inexpensive accommodations there, which are also often occupied by students. We paid around € 120 per month, had air conditioning, washing machine, refrigerator, a huge hallway and two bathrooms. In addition, this place is only 2km away from the university and in my time a school bus also drove from there. To be even more flexible, I and most of the other exchange students rented a scooter. This costs around 50-70 € a month and you can explore the very attractive jungle landscapes around Kuching. The landlord of many of the apartments is called Joseph and many of the German exchange students have already been able to contact him from Germany, I think through the Facebook group, which I cannot name because I had not joined it. But I think Sabine can help you there. I believe through the Facebook group, which I cannot name you because I was not a member of it. But I think Sabine can help you there. I believe through the Facebook group, which I cannot name you because I was not a member of it. But I think Sabine can help you there.
The “Riverrhine” is a somewhat more luxurious place to stay. A huge apartment complex, which offers very modern apartments with a communal pool and fitness center. If you inquire in good time, you can still get something at good prices. The disadvantage is that you definitely have to rent a scooter from there, as the accommodation is about 4-5km from the university and there is no school bus. Many of my student friends lived there, but unfortunately I can’t tell you how to get in touch there.
Oh yes, there is also the option of living in a dormitory on campus. In my time the men’s area was renovated, so I can’t tell you anything more specific. However, from what you have heard from the women’s area, you only have a small room, shared bathroom and kitchen and that for a relatively high price.
Kuching has about 600,000 inhabitants and is surrounded by a great jungle landscape. There are many national parks, orangutan wildlife centers, where you can see orangutans feeding in the wild. In addition, Kuching is not far from the coast, it is about 30 minutes by scooter to the beach.
The city center offers many restaurants, a waterfront and many modern malls. In general, I was very amazed at how many wealthy people (especially Chinese) live there and how relatively modern the city is.
Of course, there are also celebration opportunities, but you should be careful. There is a party street called “Travillion”, where the locals usually party extensively. As a European you are quite unique there and local women in particular are quickly interested in you, which makes Asian men quickly aggressive. I’ve heard of a lot of not exactly harmless arguments, so watch out! But there are also other locations such as “Junk” (also called Backstage). Most of the time, the students go there to celebrate properly but peacefully.
- Learn more information about the country of Malaysia and continent of Asia on ehuacom.
The campus is relatively modern and all kinds of sports are offered during the semester. There is also a gym and other activities such as cooking classes, etc. What I liked most about the university by far is the incredible diversity of different cultures. Students from all over the world come together there to benefit from the world-renowned Australian standard of education. You come into contact very quickly with people from all continents of the world and it was incredibly interesting for me to exchange ideas with these people. What is particularly astonishing is what those who come from very poor countries such as Tanzania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe say about their homeland.
As far as the difficulty of the material is concerned, it is roughly comparable to Germany, at least as far as the business subjects I have taken. The main difference compared to my university in Nuremberg, however, was that you had to do quite a lot of homework and presentations in a group and thus the grade did not just consist of the final exam. As a result, you had a lot to do during the semester, but the exams at the end were not that difficult and you didn’t have to cram as much as at a German university. In addition, the class sizes were relatively manageable, as you had to attend fixed tutorials with 20-30 fellow students. I personally learned a lot from this, such as working in groups, To present confidently and without much jitter and the written English has improved a lot after a while. Overall, I can say for myself that the one semester in Malaysia brought me more benefit from the learning effect than a semester in Germany.
If you are already at the other end of the world, you should of course take as much with you as you can. Flights in Asia are very inexpensive thanks to the low-cost airline “Air Asia”. Popular travel destinations in Malaysia include the capital Kuala Lumpur, the Cameron Highlands and Kota Kinabalu. The latter is best known for the many beautiful islands that are very easy to reach by boat. It is also possible to get a diving license, which can be obtained relatively cheaply for around € 220. I got my diving license with a couple of friends and we went to Semporna and with luck we got a diving license for Sipadan Island, one of the top 5 diving locations in the world. Should you get a diving license, find out about an approval for Sipadan in good time, because only a limited number of divers are allowed per day. Should you get approved, you will experience incredible dives that you will not forget for a lifetime.
After the semester we got together with a few people and went on a backpacker tour through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Over the 7 weeks that we were on the road, you have experienced an incredible amount and I can only recommend it to everyone. Should you plan on such a trip, then it is best to travel to Malaysia with a backpacker. Many made the mistake of arriving with suitcases and then decided to travel around. As a result, most of them had to send their suitcases home and also buy a backpacker in Malaysia.
So why can I only 100% recommend a semester abroad at Swinburne University in Malaysia?
- huge life experience
- you meet fantastic people
- you learn a lot through the teaching methods of the university
- For a semester abroad, both living conditions and tuition fees are very cheap
- great travel options