Sunday, June 24, 2007

6 Things You Should Know before Stepping Into Local Public University

Posted by Chong

1. The university orientation week will be your unforgettable experience of your lifetime – or so we heard. You are going to listen to various formal talks and play many activities and games during the orientation week. The arrangement of programme for orientation week is usually tight and hence you might not have enough sleep. Consequently, those who are weak will fall sick and eventually get homesick. Falling sick at a new place that you have yet to acclimatize to will be nightmare for many. So, I would strongly advise you to bring along necessary drugs like paracetamol and vitamin pills for your own good.

2. Besides, non-Muslim will be sharing the same hostel room with non-Muslim and otherwise. For non-Muslims, it is your luck if your roommates are of different races from yours. It might be another experience of a lifetime for you since you can learn a lot from each others, a priceless chance for you to become more tolerant and open-minded. Take good care of your roommates and yourselves.

3. You might have heard the chilling stories of seniors acting in discourteous ways to treat (or to threaten?) the juniors – the poor year-one undergraduates. To what extent these stories are true? I do not know for sure since I am just an upper sixth former this year.

4. A very serious event during which you will see vice chancellor, deputy vice chancellor and other main administrators during the orientation week will be the signing of Surat Akujanji and swearing to adhere to the rules in it. What is Surat Akujanji? Read it yourselves before you decide to sign. What will happen if you choose not to sign? You will be able to tell us after that event.

5. Different universities will have different definition for proper attire. Some universities have loose rules for attire while some very strict. Sometimes it depends on the lecturers. For certain universities, if you are not wearing proper attire, you will be unable to take the university’s buses or see the doctors at the university. Many local public universities impose fines on undergraduates not wearing in the attire allowed by the rules.

6. You can see the doctors and dentists at the health centre (Pusat Kesihatan) of your university for free since you have paid the fees when semester starts.

I am sure I have left out many other things that one should know before stepping into the local public university due to fact that I am still an upper sixth student. Any Malaysia Students reader cares to offer more insights on this topic?

If you are to be enrolled into local public universities next week and feel that you have learned something from this post, would you please share your orientation week experiences with Malaysia Students readers once you have gone through it by leaving your comments?

Related Posts:
First Year Experience at University Putra Malaysia (UPM)
Definitive Guide to University Malaysia Sabah (UMS)
University Technical Malaysia Malacca


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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Secondary/Pre-University Options in Canada

Posted by jjme

There are many different pre-university programs offered to Malaysian students each year. Most students are familiar with the Cambridge A-Levels program, South Australian Matriculation (SAM), and the International Canadian Pre-University (CPU). Students are allowed to complete these courses in Malaysia, after which the journey to study in a foreign university takes flight. For some, it is an exciting moment but for many, it is the fear of living in a different culture, facing a language barrier, and coping with a higher education standard. It is an instant transition into a world we Malaysian students never faced before and truthfully, some students do feel uncomfortable. And you may be surprise for some eventually give up on the journey.

During my time, few chose to further their studies in Canada. Most of my friends graduated from secondary school and enrolled in the A-Levels or SAM. Perhaps, Australia and the UK are closer to home (it is about 27 hours to travel to Canada - including transit hours). I, for instance, enrolled in the CPU program. The difference was I took this course in Canada itself. A month after SPM examinations, I hopped on to the plane and left ol’Malaysia for an international college in Hamilton, Ontario. Not many Malaysian parents realize that there is the option of studying the CPU in Canada itself. Moreover, this option exposes the student to the real prestigious standard of Canadian education. You may ask what the difference is for we still study the same syllabus and in English, be it in Canada or Malaysia. Why pay more to go overseas and study … it’s not worth it since I do it in Malaysia and gain the same entry into Canadian Universities!

Well, think again. Let me share with you some of the advantages of the CPU program in Canada:

a) It is equivalent to Canadian High School (Grade 12) standard
  • Our Malaysian ways of just burying into books and memorizing answers to examinations won’t get you anywhere in the Canadian syllabus. Although the syllabus “should” be practiced the same way in Malaysia, it is in actual fact not even close to the high school, let alone the CPU standard in Canada. I know this from a friend who took the CPU program in Malaysia
  • Very interactive learning in classrooms. Assignments are all about creative-thinking. Projects, presentation talks, team work …The environment encourages students to voice opinions, have discussion/healthy debates with other students and even the teachers themselves. Yes, no more stupid snaps by Malaysian teachers telling you that you are wrong when in fact you are correct. And when they get embarrassed they punish you for being rude … gosh …No such thing, here … teachers recognize and applaud students capabilities.
  • Extracurricular activities are taken seriously. Unlike most Malaysian schools, somehow the system is such that students can’t run away from it because they think it is a waste of time. I had no qualms about it because I actually felt, for once in my entire school life, the benefits of it all. Yep, the quality and the management system is that productive

It is good to get exposure early and learn from our poor Malaysian studying habits. That way, during the transition into foreign universities students won’t be struggling to stay on par with the local students

b) More choices for entry-level into Canadian Universities
  • If you graduate with a CPU diploma in Canada, you’re definitely qualified to apply to all Canadian Universities. Then again, some universities still require English proficiency examinations (e.g TOEFL). We cannot run away from this because we spent 12 years studying everything in Malay. But because you completed Grade 12/CPU here … you do have a slight advantage of gaining entry into Canadian-U over M’sian CPU students. The reason is that you will be evaluated at the same entry level as Canadian students, and not as an international student
  • It is not obvious, but in reality it is true. You may think, “Does it even matter? Universities are out there to earn money too … especially from foreign students because we pay triple the fees!” or "It should be the same standard, in M'sian and Canada." However, students coming directly from another country often don’t get to compete on the same level for entry scholarships
  • Moreover with this CPU completed in Canada, it is recognized worldwide! US/NZ/UK/AUS universities … you can apply to all! (Exceptions include entrance examinations like English proficiency tests)

c) Experience living independently
  • It’s the little things in life that you will get to experience now. Therefore, in university, you won’t be too shocked and upset that you cannot even manage your own time and money. This is an important skill especially when you need to keep those grades up for your career choices. At least, you would have experienced it a few months beforehand, and so you won’t be bogged down by petty issues while studying in university

d) Meet people from different countries
  • Yes, I know you can do this in university. But some students are still afraid of stepping outside of the "Malaysian" circle. "What's the big deal?" you may ask. I personally have seen young adults who get so comfortable with their existing friends, and everything Malaysian. If you ask me, my sudden trip to Canada right after SPM was the best thing that ever happened to me even though I was afraid, upset, homesick, miserable ... what I went through is what made me who I am today. My humble point is, sometimes getting the experience early isn't a bad idea.
  • Many students don’t realize how important it is to have friendships with people from other countries. I think if you have a good attitude and the effort, you gain so much more by just being friends with other foreign students. For once, you will gauge how different our Malaysian views/culture/politics/lifestyle/economy. And that is where we mature, both at heart and mind. Moreover, this experience is an advantage over other students during the transition into university life.

Then again, it’s always your choice in the end, right? For me, I wanted to be more outspoken, learn to live independently, and improve my interpersonal skills. It wasn’t about getting A’s anymore. It wasn’t about being the top student with all those scholarships. Of course, it is great if a student can have all that. I can tell you this truthfully because SPM A1 is not even recognized in Canada. Yep, it’s not all that great unless you are aiming for M'sian government scholarships.

Having said that, I hope students will be more aware of the option for pre-university studies in Canada. I don’t sound like I’m pro-Canada, do I? Oops, that wasn’t my intention. I love home as it is, but it’s a smack-in-the-face reality that Malaysian education standards are not up to par. There are just some very valuable life lessons that you can rarely find in Malaysian schools/colleges/universities (yes, it is more valuable than those A’s).

There is a lady in K.L. who represents the international college that I went to. She manages registration, entrance exams, scholarships and such. Then again, there are other sources like the CEC Network that provides such information too. I will not disclose her contact info until I receive permission to release it. Anyway, stay tuned, folks. I will definitely provide more detailed information about the college, estimate cost of living/education, and some of my personal experiences in my next article.

Feel free to comment, give feedback or suggest topics of interests. Thanks!



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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Greetings!

Posted by jjme

Hello! This is jjme and I am delighted to be a contributor to this site. Here’s a little bit about my background:

I was a student of SK/SMK Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya. In January 2003, I was enrolled in Columbia International College (CIC) in Hamilton, ON, Canada. There, I took a 7-month intensive Grade 12/Pre-U course and graduated with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). The OSSD is a CPU/A-levels/STPM equivalent program allowing entry or credit transfer into any university (even in the AUS/NZ/UK/US). That same year, I got accepted into the engineering program at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. I graduated with a Bsc. in Chemical Engineering in April 2007. Currently, I am working as an Engineer-In-Training (EIT) at NOVA Chemicals Corporation, Red Deer, AB, Canada.

I came across this website while doing my daily browse on PPS and was impressed with the amount of information this site holds. Having attended primary and secondary education in Malaysia myself, I am familiar with the issues that graduating students face. It’s always about, “What do I want to study next?” “Which college/university can meet my education need?” “What education program best suits my interests?” “What career options are there if I pursue this program?” Not forgetting the amount of input from family, friends, friend’s mom, brother, sister, aunty, grandmother the pet cat or hamster LOL …

No kidding, it is hard to make these choices alone. When it comes to education, parents want the best for their children (and maybe sometimes for themselves too). Then again, there are limitations to what you can actually get in the real world. The cost and quality of education go hand-in-hand. No school will provide quality education for a cheap price. Moreover, some may disagree with parents playing a part in the decision-making process. The sad truth is that they are the ones funding your education … and consequently by disagreeing we come across as being not filial ... sounds familiar? (I'm just kidding - it's not always like that)

All in all, I would love to share my experience as a foreign student, coping with the culture change, surviving the different education system, and perhaps, just how life is like in a foreign country. Just as there is excitement of being independent and away from home, there is fear as well, right? I do manage a personal blog here. I am open to suggestions on topics/info to suit reader’s need :)


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Sunday, June 17, 2007

First Year Experience in UPM

Posted by MeEhaF Le'FaZ

A year had passed and I am here to share my experience while I studying for my first year (first and second semester) in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). When I got to know I secured a place in UPM for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), it was sad news for me. It's my last choice and I get it.

I registered on 1st July 2006 as I don't have any other choice. I was lucky to get a new hostel and I was happy for that. The orientation week was really a living hell. It was full of politics and I was surprised how this kind of talk can be given to a university student. The stupidity of the seniors can be seen the way they organize a thing. I believe that they should choose good, brilliant and intelligent student to be our facilitator during the orientation week but in UPM, it was really a sad environment. The facilitators were smoking in front of the juniors, showing a negative attitude to the newcomers. Their communication skills were really bad. I still remember, in the hall, the facilitator said:
"kau orang semua tak de otak ker bising macam ini.
Bodoh betul la kau orang ini"

It was a bad example and I have no idea why the university chooses this kind of people in assisting the newcomers. The activities organize by them also were really childish. It never shows maturity as a university student.

A week passed and the lectures begin. I was looking forward to go for lecturers as a university student. I still remember, my first day and my first lecture were Biochemistry under Faculty of Biotechnology and Biochemistry. The lecturer came and he spoke in Malay. I was stunned. He said he is a doctorate and expert in enzymology and he can't speak proper English. His notes were fully in Malay. It was very difficult for me as I already learn Biology & Chemistry in English during matriculation and I found it easier to understand. It was my first lecture and I was giving up hope.

There are also lecturers that are very good but mostly??? I don't want to comment more on lecturers. The facilities provided were first class. Wireless network, library with latest sets of books, nice lecture hall with new computer and projector and also the shuttle service were amazing.

Finally, a year had passed and I can conclude that, don't ever give high expectation if you choose to enroll public university. The much more expensive school you are, the much more quality of education you are enjoying. I would appreciate if some of you guys can share your university life here so that we can make comparison and let the world see the differences between public and private higher learning institution in MALAYSIA.


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Holla!

Posted by MeEhaF Le'FaZ

Hi!

My name is Fahoor or normally people will recognize me by my nick “MeEhaF Le'FaZ”
I am ex Malaysian Matriculation program student and currently pursuing my degree in Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at University Putra Malaysia.

As a vet student, my life is not that interesting but then I try my best to make my live as fun as I could. I love to write but then not many like to read what I wrote. The first time I had gone through the Malaysian Student blog, I was really happy to see that our Malaysian Students were very creative by creating a very info-like blog. I believe that this blog really help a lot out there. Even myself, I got a lot of info regarding scholarships and our Malaysian education systems in this blog.

I was eager to be a contributor for this blog because I would like to share my experiences throughout my education year since primary to university. I have a lot to share and I hope I have time to write and to post as many experiences and info about our Malaysian Education System and any scholarships that I have info about.

The Malaysian Students Blog readers also can email me personally if you have any problems that you believe I can give you a better explanation, don’t hesitate to drop me an email to faheemnoor@hotmail.com

I do blog personally at http://www.meehaf.blogspot.com where I write whatever I like and I post whatever I think interesting.

I love to read, swim, hike and think. I think, thinking make us better. If you ask my friends about me, they would say I am a very boring person. I am secretive but then I am a good listener too. I don’t talk to strangers and I will never stop talking to “non-strangers”. I had gone through many hard times in my life and I think this will make me a more matured guy. I am childish sometimes. I love ice-creams and chocolates.

I think I had written much info about myself. I am over excited to join one of the contributors for this blog. Keep supporting and YIHAA!!!

Support my posts and please do leave some comments.

Thank you


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Monday, June 04, 2007

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Posted by Snow

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: Internationally recognized pre-university programme.

Course difficulty: You shall have to study persistently if this is the pre-university course you wish to pursue for it is very difficult and not to be taken lightly.

Intake: August

Duration: Two years

Fee: RM25,000 – RM51,000

Academical institutions offering IB:
  • International School of Kuala Lumpur
  • Mont’ Kiara International School
  • Sri KDU
  • MARA College Banting
  • MARA College Seremban
  • The International School of Penang (Uplands)

Subjects:

Basically, an IB student has to take up six subjects – 3 subjects at a Higher Level (HL) and 3 at a Standard Level (SL). There’s also an extended essay that constitutes of 150 hours of creative, action and service activities (CAS). In addition to that, a critical thinking course dubbed “Theory of Knowledge” (TOK) is also a requirement.

The subjects are in 6 groups and candidates must select a subject from each group 1-5 and the 6th subject from any of the groups 1-6.
  • Group 1 = Main Language [English, Bahasa Melayu, etc…]
  • Group 2 = Second language [French, Japanese, etc…]
  • Group 3 = Humanities [Economics, Business and Management, etc…]
  • Group 4 = Experimental Science [Chemistry, Biology, etc…]
  • Group 5 = Mathematics [Mathematics, Mathematical Studies, etc…]
  • Group 6 = The Arts (Optional)

Scholarships:

The International School of Kuala Lumpur offers two scholarships per year.

First, one has to submit relevant information regarding your academic achievements prior to this, namely your SPM results. One is advised to apply as soon as possible.

You will be considered and notified if you are chosen to sit for the school’s entrance exams. The entrance exams include an English and a Mathematics test.

If you have been short listed, you will be called in to attend an interview. Your capability of creative thought, sense of responsibility, attitude and such will be evaluated during the interview.

Finally, you will be informed if the school has decided to offer you the scholarship. If a candidate refuses the scholarship, it will be passed on to the next likely scholar and so on. Please note that the 2007 scholarships have been given out.


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