November 28, 2018, by payzts

Studying in Malaysia – 5 things I did not expect

For anyone new, I am Zeliha, 19 years old and I am in my second year studying Pharmacy at the Malaysia campus. 

As someone who likes to plan every detail, I admit you sometimes just have to experience things yourself and so, there have been a few things that surprised me whilst being in Malaysia.

  1. The national language here is Malay; whilst I knew that English was also one of the main languages here, I didn’t expect the English here to be so good. The Malaysians have such good accents and many are multi lingual; making me wish I focused more in my french lessons! I expected a communication barrier, making it difficult to settle in but this has definitely not been the case. Communicating with the general public, has been a lot easier than expected as the country accommodates people like me whose only language is English.
  2. Prior to coming to Malaysia, lots of people told me how friendly Malaysians are. Whilst I accepted the statement I severely  underestimated the extent of their friendliness. Settling in course wise, has been really good and it has been a very smooth transition from first year. During first year, I was very lucky to have made good friends who also happened to be course mates and so settling into first year was quite easy and I felt supported. The thought of being away from them initially made me quite reluctant to apply to study at the Malaysia campus and it was the hardest obstacle I had to overcome. I feared I wouldn’t fit in, and wouldn’t have the same support . Contrary to my fears, I have met a diverse group of people, and really pushed myself out of my comfort zone; I even picked up an old hobby of dance. I have managed to find ‘study buddies’ and the buddy system (a Malaysian course-mate is partnered up with a mobility student) guarantees you have at least one friend! The classes are a lot smaller than it is on the Nottingham campus which has made it easier to get to know every individual on my course.
  3. My favourite season is winter so I was worried about the heat and humidity in Malaysia. However, everywhere is air- conditioned and I often forget it’s hot outside but that doesn’t last for long. It rains often and it is unexpected. The rain here is intense and there is sometimes thunder and lightning; putting my home city of Manchester (the rainy city) to shame. Coming here in first semester has definitely helped me adjust to the weather as second semester is said to be a lot hotter. The weather really makes university feel like an extended summer holiday and the sun is meant to make people happier right?!
  4. Eating out in the UK for me has always been a way to celebrate something (post exam meal, a birthday or a way to catch up with friends). However, eating out here is quite common and casual. No matter the day or week, there is always a new delicacy to try, an interesting drink or a dessert that is being recommended and so I have to try it. Having been someone that’s always choosing meals that are the closest to my mum’s cooking in restaurants back home, I have been adventurous and tried some local food such as tofu skin, prawns and herbal tea which tastes amazing as well as some meals which are mildly similar to food at home. Like I said, I am quite picky but I’m taking baby steps. I did try steamboat as well which introduced me to a completely new way of dining where you are given soup and raw ingredients and you cook your meal yourself on the table.
  5. Shopping here has been good, the malls are huge and have a variety of stores and so everyone is catered to. However, there are a few familiar stores here in Malaysia such as H&M, Zara and Topshop which were a good surprise!
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