Warwick Scholars Trip to Malaysia
So, a lot of you are probably wondering what opportunities Warwick Scholars have when you start university. As I said in my previous blog, I was given the opportunity to go to Malaysia for a week. So, I thought I would expand on what I did and how I found it!
Realistically, before I started university, anytime I travelled I went with my mum. She did all the important things and I just had fun on the holiday, but this trip was different. I had to make sure I woke up on time in the morning, I got the right train and made it to Birmingham International on time. I know it doesn’t sound hard but for someone who’d never done it before it was the most stressful morning I’d had in a while – I set 12 alarms (no joke).
The good news is I made it to the airport on time so here I am writing this blog.
Before I went on the programme, I was well prepared by the Warwick Scholars’ team. We had sessions on what to expect once we got to Malaysia including the culture, the weather and traditions. This alleviated some of the concerns I had about travelling to a country which had different traditions to ones that I am used to.
Once we got there, we had one day to get to know the local area and acclimatise. We were taken on a tour by Malaysian students. We visited a food market where we got to sit and have lunch. Then we made our way to Sunway Pyramid which was our local shopping centre. We had time to explore the mall and get something to eat. This was also the first time we used public transport in Malaysia. Although, we walked it to the mall we got the train back to Monash (where we were staying). We spent the most of our first day chilling and exploring – a lot of us were tired so we went to bed quite early!
On Monday, the programme had officially started. We spent the first day getting to know each other. My favourite activity was the debate task. We were given statements about a large variety of controversial topics and had to give our opinions on them. This allowed us to get to know each other better and created a friendly atmosphere.
We were also introduced to the question we would be working on which was ‘How to ensure technological innovation delivers societal as well as economic value in cities?’ Our aim throughout the week was to create a piece of technology that would fulfil this aim. We also had the opportunity to hear from people within the not for profit sector about some of the initiatives they had created and how these had been successful.
We then spent the next two days visiting companies in Malaysia. I visited HSBC and MyHarapan. MyHarapan is a company which provides funding and training for student entrepreneurs to launch start-ups and create a living. Everyone in my group visited different firms so when we came back together, we discussed what we had heard and what opportunities were available in Malaysia.
My team of eight decided to create a technological solution to help unemployment, believing it would have an impact in the lives of people and help boost the Malaysian economy. We realised there was lots of support in Malaysia, but it was difficult communicating the information to people. We made our innovative solution an app which connected local employers directly to the unemployed, filling the communication gap. They did not have to go through a long process to get a job but could highlight their skills directly to businesses.
On the final day of the experience, we presented our idea to a panel and answered questions about our proposal. We were provided with feedback and had the rest of the day to celebrate. We had TWO graduations. One at the university where we received certificates and took pictures. Our second one was a lot more formal. It was in a hall with dinner and all the representatives we had met throughout the week.
On Friday, we had time to explore Malaysia, I visited the Batu Caves and the Petronus Towers. Although it was extremely hot climbing all the way to the top was completely worth it and the views were AMAZING! (I’ve attached some pictures from the trip to give you an idea).
Although we only had one day to explore, we also had the evening of the Monday to Friday. This mostly involved visiting the local area and going out for dinner, but it was still such a great experience.
Here is a video of me speaking about my experiences on the programme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoxRniaBDj0&t=7s
Even if you’re not a Warwick Scholar and this sounds interesting to you, Warwick has lots of different short-term mobility opportunities that you can get involved in so don’t feel left out.
Feel free to drop me any questions you may have!