9,743KM from Home
My name is Pascal Lefarth, I am 21 years old and I come from Germany. Today, I would like to share with you some experiences that I have had in Malaysia. I spent last semester studying here at UPM, at the Faculty of Economics and the Faculty of Environment. I came here as a free Mover (mobility student) through Asia Exchange, the organisation that enabled me to study in Asia.
One reason why I chose UPM was that its international reputation is good. As one of the leading universities in Asia, it caught my attention and I was looking forward to learning more about Asia through UPM.
Arriving at UPM blew my mind. My university at home is quite small with only a few thousand students. There is no comparison in size between the two. An area as big as my home town with so many faculties, its own bus system, a golf course, a swimming pool, a hospital and more canteens with good food than I could ever dream of. Wow!
Organising my first few days and fulfilling the tasks I was given was really exhausting.
Despite having only been in this overwhelming country which is so different from my own for a few days, I nevertheless had to direct my full attention towards my studies while figuring out how everything worked.
I had to work hard on the application process, especially in making my course choices and obtaining my visa. It was tedious and I had to follow a very bureaucratic process to get it – even worse than in Germany. But finally, I managed everything and here I am.
The biggest challenge I have had to face here so far was the loss of my passport. It took some time to get a new one from my embassy. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the easiest part. Afterwards, I had to submit it again and deal with the strict EMGS for the second time. Even now, my application for my new student visa is still in progress. I would like to especially thank Nadia from the international office. She helped me so much with many things, and especially in dealing with this matter!
A big difference for me compared to Europe is the culture and religion here in Malaysia. Even if so many things were new to me, it was not a big matter because the people here are so friendly and everyone, regardless of religion, is accepted and welcomed.
Another interesting experience is the food, because Malaysia is all about food! What we usually eat in my home country is completely different. We do not eat so much rice and our food is usually not so spicy. Nevertheless, I really like the food here because it is a combination of many different cultures. I had to get used to not only special Asian ingredients, but also the spices which were not that easy to handle at times. The chilies really made me sweat a lot!
A major difference between UPM and the German system is the amount of work that we must handle during our studies. There are so many individual and group assignments, test 1, test 2,and final exams that kept us awake for many nights.
Nevertheless, I had fun in my lectures and I also made friends with students from different countries.
Of course, studying hard is not the only thing we do. We came here to explore the culture and the country, in order to broaden our horizon and to see new things. Therefore, my friends and I tried to travel as much as possible. Due to the fact that I lost my passport on the way, I have not left Malaysia yet. It turns out not to be a bad thing, however, because it gave me the opportunity to explore more of this country.
I discovered new fruits, beautiful landscapes, the nature and the jungle, and incredible animals.
We explored many different events and of course, food we had never eaten before.
I could also finally do some activities that are just not possible and too expensive in Europe.
I really liked to see the rural life of the Malays at the homestay organised by UPM. We met many students and made friends, and we learnt a lot about Malaysian art and the traditional way of life in Malaysia.
These experiences have probably changed my life. I have met interesting people, made new friends all over the world, and have learnt about the big religions and how Asians think. I guess this will possibly have an impact on my future. I am thankful for the unique opportunity that I have been given. Looking back over the last few months, I can really recommend doing a semester abroad whether it is in Malaysia or another country. The experience and memories you make are priceless, and more valuable than you could ever hope to achieve.
Date of Input: 07/08/2019 | Updated: 06/07/2020 | sitiafiqah
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 UPM Serdang
Selangor Darul Ehsan