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​UTP’s Exchange Students get a taste of local life

Some have already found a foothold in Malaysia


Oftentimes, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS has been likened to a beehive for its stellar track record in producing scores of global graduates. To demonstrate why, recently, we caught up with six foreign exchange students to get their take on the university. In addition, as they fix up their short summer break, we asked them to recall what they like most about living in Perak.
Visiting Malaysia from France, Margaux Annabella Brebant, 21 gets a really good impression of how nice and outgoing Malaysians are. Margaux is a mechanical engineering student from France’s Insa University, Rouen. She shares, “I find Malaysian people very friendly. There was one time I went to the market, I came across this aunty who stared at me oddly. After a few moments, she asked where I was from.”
“When I told her I was from France, she then told me she had been to France before and invited me to have dinner at her house. Me and my French friends ended up staying the night at her house,” she adds.
Reflecting the broad appeal of Perak, Stef Van Deursan, a Belgian, says, “UTP’s campus is kind of like a mini city. I think the location here is amazing. The calmness here reminds me not to overdo things to strike that perfect balance between life and career. It’s completely polarizing to other big cities like Kuala Lumpur. The people here are really warm and they seem to enjoy life so much more.”
Stef, 24, is a business management student from the Management Centre Innsbruck (MCI), Austria. Stef hopes to pursue a career in lean management. He says that he wants to help businesses adopt lean practices in order to cope with formidable global challenges.
“We need to wrap our heads around the benefits of the circular economy. And we need to create a shift in thinking in the way we view waste,” he says. Further, Stef shares that the experience he has gained here, particularly around the university’s enterprising approach to engineering, technology and science gives him a fresh outlook on maneuvering his future business venture.
Meanwhile, Alia Saeed Mohammed Shareef Alkhoori, 21, says, “A lot of the students you’ll meet here are not locals but they have found their way here from somewhere else, giving this an international vibe. You’ll find Italians, French, Germans, Pakistanis, Americans, Canadians and Indians.” Alia was fascinated by the international atmosphere where students of all nationalities mingle in the campus. Plus, Alia says the locals here are really nice.
Alia is a civil engineering student from the Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi UAE. “UTP offers an impressive environment. And it is an insanely big campus compound. The lakes, parks and sports facilities are really great,” she says.
In addition, Jati Imanulloh, 20, from the Universitas Teknologi Sombawa, Indonesia, says the assimilation here has been really easy for him. “The similarities in our food and culture have eased my way into a new university.” He finds that the university is a really good place for foreign students. Jati, who is a computer engineering student holds the facilities at the campus in high regard, and is proud to be associated with a leading university in science and technology.
Meshael Zayed Saeed Alseiari, 22, a petroleum engineering student from the Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, UAE says that she has made lots of new friends. Apart from this, Meshael has also gotten a chance to participate in a flagship event hosted by the university recently. She says, “It was amazing. I had the chance to contribute ideas and volunteer for the university’s Energy Institute event that convened some of the industry’s most prominent figures. Also, I learned a lot about the way the people here work and their cutting edge research framework.” She also says that throughout her stay here, everyone has been very welcoming.
Mateo Davey, 20, an electrical engineering undergraduate student from the University of Le Creusot, France finds that UTP’s Information Resource Centre is an amazing centerpiece of architecture, both inside and outside. He says, “It’s a magnificent treasure chest. The architecture never ceases to amaze me. So far I really enjoy my stay here. The food is good, and the best part is, it is really cheap. What you can get for just 1 euro is amazing.” Despite slight differences in the way the programs are taught here, Mateo notes that he enjoys seeing how the students here get up to speed with new ideas. Although Europe’s studying hours are shorter, Mateo says that the learning environment here really pushes its students to think outside of the box. “There are a lot of theory classes,” he jokes. “I have picked up so many new things while I’m here and I really can’t wait to test them out in practice.”

Published on 5 November 2019