Friday, August 19, 2011

AIESEC Go Exchange Program Experience

Written by Lim Pei Yeen, VP Communications of AIESEC in MalaysiaShare your university life with us and get published here!

Hi, I am Jovian Tan, an undergraduate from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia who studies Computer Science majoring in Software Engineering. I love to travel, I love computers, I love music and I love making new friends!

I went to Taiwan in June 2011 under the Go Exchange Program by AIESEC, a program which provides opportunity for students and recent graduates to be part of issue-based or professional internships in more than 107 countries.

I joined Go Exchange Program because of the priceless diverse experience that money cannot buy! Going exchange is another step in my learning process to become a more independent and responsible person. I love traveling to new places, experience new things and of course meeting tons of new friends from all around the world.

In Taiwan, I worked in the Animal Protection Program organized by the Life Welfare & Environment Quality Association. We were sent to attend courses and classes lectured by prestigious veterinary professors from National Taiwan University. We helped in various animal adoption campaign and even had the chance to participate in huge events like Pet Expo Taipei 2011.
Jovian at Pet Expo Taipei 2011.
A picture of Jovian with the Veterinary Professor and friends after attending a course in National Taiwan University.

I find it very interesting and challenging to work with people from diverse culture. I worked with young people from Indonesia, Philippines, Czech Republic, Russia and Mexico in the project. I learned about the differences between cultures, be tolerant in situations and the concept of give and take. Most important of all, I learned to respect all lives.
Jovian and his fellow friends from Indonesia, Philippines, Czech Republic, Russia and Mexico.

I was surprised that a 70 years old lady, who is my Project Manager, Aunty Liu (劉姐) can maintain the heart of a teenage spirit, without hesitation in striving towards her dreams and goals. “Don't just sit there, take action! Turn your dreams into reality,” she said. I am truly inspired by her.
Jovian and his very inspiring Project Manager, Aunty Liu.

The most memorable piece of memory throughout my exchange experience would be the “Cool Conference”. It is the most amazing conference I had ever participated. I interacted with many high school students in Taiwan. It was a lot of fun especially during cultural sharing session. The students had culture shock when I shared with them the diversity of Malaysia. They were surprised that I know many languages such as English, Mandarin, Malay, Hokkien, Teochew, and Xin Hua.
Jovian and the Taiwanese high school students in Cool Conference.

I definitely will recommend Go Exchange Program to all my friends because this is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity that you will hardly get after your graduation. I am already considering and planning for my next exchange!

About AIESEC

AIESEC, present in over 107 countries, is the world’s largest youth-run organization with over 60 years of experience in developing high-potential youths into global-minded responsible leaders. AIESEC focuses on providing a platform for youth leadership development. This is done by providing youth the opportunity to take up leadership roles and do an internship abroad. For more information, visit http://www.aiesec.my


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Friday, August 12, 2011

My First Year University Life at University of Malaya (UM)

Written by Lim Wei Jiet, 19, who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fun & Optimism, Masters in Criticism and a PhD in Over-exaggeration. Sometimes, he does wonder why he’s still studying for another degree in law. Nevertheless, the thrills of law proved impossible to resist and he’s enjoying university life to the max. He blogs at http://lwjheaven.blogspot.com

Having browsed through the Malaysia Students Blog, there is no doubt that a negative perception persists towards local universities in Malaysia. To a certain extent, I agree: from the ridiculous orientation, dirty politics to how they treat us like school kids all the time. Honestly, I hated that. Therefore, I vowed from the beginning of my course, by hook or by crook, that I shall turn these 4 years in the University of Malaya into the most kick-ass experience ever.

This article is a hard-thought, careful and honest description of the tribulations, achievements and lessons which I experienced in this wonderful campus. But more than anything else, this is a tribute to the beloved friends I made along the way, the powerful mentors that have laid down invaluable guidance and the enthusiastic juniors whom I shall meet in the future. Below, in no particular order, are the meaningful experiences and genuine lessons I want to share with you.
  1. University is a beehive of people, activities and hot girls societies. Do not hesitate to jump into the nectar-filled river of opportunities. Make meaningful friendships. Join an event you never dreamt of doing. The options are endless.






  2. Do the most wacky/silly/ludicrous/nonsensical stuffs ever! You're only going to go through university once in your entire life. Unleash all those teenage and childish demeanour before adulthood hits you. And don't forget to take photos!


  3. Yes, be silly. But when the moment calls for it, be serious. Go all out. Show the world how good you are made of.



  4. Grab every opportunity to travel around the world and experience its wonders. Yes, you may be studying in Malaysia but like I said, the opportunities are always there and you just need to make the best use of them. I have learnt so much about the different cultures, perspectives and people in the places I have visited. It has no doubt made me a better person with a global outlook.

    You don't need to be a Porsche-driving son of a CEO to afford these trips, most of the programs are partially funded and grants are available. More importantly, nothing beats travelling with university coursemates as they're so much fun!
  5. When all the fun is over, take a step back and reflect upon ourselves. Who are we? We're university students and the younger generation, the future leaders in this country. Always remember that we have a role to play in society. Give back to the less fortunate. Fight for a noble cause you believe in. Move your lazy asses of the backseat, stand up and be counted.

    Honestly, I am quite ashamed of not doing enough for my part in civil society. Compared to my other friends who are involved in Clinical Legal Education and Community Outreach Program, I am nothing as opposed to their continuous efforts to educate prisoners, abandoned children and many more.

  6. Be inspired by the people around you.

    Yes, every moment when you think you have achieved great things already, it will come to you that there are even better people out there.

    I've known a girl who is a brilliant writer, passionate thinker and an admirable advocate of animals.

    I've known a Sabah native who possesses so much zeal in orang asli rights and helps out tirelessly with the OKU community almost every weekend despite his heavy academic workload.

    I've known a final year buddy who is a South East Asian Bronze medallist in ping pong, who has to train at the sports centre almost every day and still managed to graduate with a degree in law.

    I've known a brilliant lecturer who has taught me the often-forgotten values of humanity, compassion and kindness. He has shown remarkable courage in facing a world which resists his dreams and hopes. I will miss him terribly when he flies to Korea this August to complete his PhD.

    And the most inspirational of all, I salute my fellow coursemate who topped his STPM with flying colours, managed to enter law school and scored better grades than the majority of us. All of this, despite being blind.
I don’t believe that university life should only be about cramming books 24/7, mingling among the same circle of people (or race, for that matter) and joining an activity you dislike just to fight for a spot in hostel the following year (trust me, it’s sad that many people do that!). Life on campus should be full with passion, rigour and vivacity!

This is not an article to show off whatever I have achieved. If indeed I joined those tournaments and events just to add in my collection of memorabilia, then I would have dumped those chances a long time ago. Because behind every personal best I have scaled, it involves tremendous amounts of failure, sacrifice, tears, blood, sweat and hard hard work. You feel like letting go of everything at times. That is what you have to endure to reach your goal.

But as I reflect back, it is not the trophies or plaques dotting the cabinet which matters most to me. It is the simple memories of friendship, fun and feverish fascination in pursuing my passion which I treasure with all my heart. To my batch mates at the law faculty and the seniors I know, I owe you all a big thank you for everything. I appreciate every moment, despite being critical at times.

I am proud to say that I have debated with superb Asian teams in Macau, mooted before the Senior Counsel of the Republic of Singapore, wrote for my faculty's Vox magazine, drank soju amidst -10 degree celcius snow in Korea, flashed a sword while wearing a hanbok like an asylum escapee at Seoul International Airport, performed a traditional Indian dance in front of hundreds of delegates, played futsal in torrential rain at 3am in the morning, acted like a possessed Syariah lawyer for a video, became an ardent follower of Lord Bobo's minions and had my balls shrunk while visiting the abandoned Vice-Chancellor's house at midnight.

It has been an awesome roller-coaster ride so far.

Each person's journey in university is inevitably unique; and can only be charted, discovered and cherished by the very path we choose to walk upon. We may not be setting foot on the grounds of prestigious Harvard Square or amble through the hallways of ancient Cambridge buildings, but I am a firm believer in making the best out of whatever God has given to me.

“ Stay hungry, stay foolish” ~ Steve Jobs, at Stanford University’s 2005 commencement address.

Always believe that we can achieve many great things in life.


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Friday, August 05, 2011

20 lessons learnt in USM – 2 years life as a local university student in Malaysia

Share your university life with us and get published here!

This guest post was written by Wilson Beh who was a Physics student in matriculation, but chose Finance as his 1st choice for his interest and never regret of it. He has a passion in good foods, youth development, social entrepreneurship and urban development. He is going to study in US for 1 year under Global Undergraduate Exchange Program by Department of States, and will be back to complete his final year in USM, Penang. He blogs actively at http://wilsonbeh.com

So the UPU result for intake 2011 is finally out.

Congratulation for those who got your 1st choice; if you don’t no worry as God will not shut one door without opening another.

Local university students are often regarded as 2nd class compared to those study overseas or in private college.

One of the main reasons is public does not have confidence in Malaysia education system: -many thought our syllabus are still in Malay language. In fact, we use American syllabus and all of our classes are conducted in English, at least in USM School of Management.

Yes, overseas students certainly have some privileges. If given a scholarship and financially allows, who doesn’t want to study aboard? However, in this era of Facebook, it doesn’t really matter where you study but how great you let your dreams soar.

My 2 years local uni life has taught me otherwise, too. There are so many successful local uni graduates in the society – and let us be one too!

I’m writing this post as a humble sharing which learnt through the past 2 years. You can take it or leave it as a story.

Student Activities Societies USM

20 lessons learnt in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
Universiti Sains Malaysia USM Campus

1. Forget about your SPM/STPM/Matriculation result.
SPM STPM Matriculation result
When you step into university, everyone is on par. You and your coursemates share the same opportunities. Focus in CGPA; don’t rest upon laurel of what you achieved previously.

2. Make friends, as many as possible.
Make New Friends
在家靠父母,出外靠朋友+ (靠自己) – 四海之内皆兄弟 – The Chinese proverbs can’t be wrong. Don’t be shy to make new friends. You’ll never know they will be your CEO or biggest client some day!

When semester break starts you will know how nice if you’ve friends across Malaysia!

But don’t expect everyone will be your good friends, as you cannot please everyone too.

3. Study hard, play harder
Study Hard Play Harder
Many say college life is the best time of life – as you don’t have too much responsibility, yet.

Don’t lock yourself at dorm studying only. This is the least thing to do until final is approaching!

So, go out and do crazy things, have some fun!

4. Try different societies, but focus in 1 or 2 after some time.
Student Societies Activties USM
There’re more than 100 societies/clubs in USM, from MPP, MPD, School Society, Tiong Hwa Society, AIESEC, PUCS, The Wanderers, Kung Fu Club…the list goes on! But I’m not telling you which one is the best here.
USM University Experiences IPTA
Go to explore yourself. Choose the one which suits you and can learn the most.

5. Mix with friends from other races & international students.
truly 1Malaysia
Embrace the “true” 1Malaysia in your campus. Sometimes you’ll find friends from other races are more helpful.
true 1Malaysia
Mix with China friends. They are good people. But at the starting they just need some helps especially English & Malay language.

Don’t ever judge a person by appearance.

6. Love your course – be proud of what you study
Choose the course you like, like the course you choose.

Be proud of what you are studying – regardless of what courses you will play an indispensable role in the society.

7. Don’t complain too much, find solutions.
Most of you will get frustrated with some of the bureaucracy. Courses registration, school communication, PTPTN, hostel and many problems. Seek solutions, take immediate actions and solve the problems – complain doesn’t help anything.

8. Don’t be shy to Ask.
If you don’t know, then ask until you are clear.

Build up good relationships with your school lecturers, staffs, HEP and hostel officer. They will treat you kind if you do the same way.

9. Find your passion
It’s the right time to ask yourself: “What you want to achieve in life?”, “What’s your passion”.

Passion is what you love to do even you’re not paid for it.

10. Fall in Love.
Falling In Love
Yes they are couples who maintain over the course from high schools until marriage, but its possibility is like 2 out of 10.

Falling in love in university is more realistic. Find your soul mate during this period, if you think he/she is the one.

Did you know our Vice Chancellor meet his wife when he studied in USM too?

11. Do a SWOT Analysis for yourself.
As a trained business student, I am used to do SWOT analysis for different companies and products.

But it is even more interesting if you do one for yourself. From there you can leverage on your strengths, improve your weaknesses, grab the golden opportunities and minimize the treats.

Never stop learning.

12. Take a foreign language – yes for free!
Learn Foreign Languages

13. Be a leader, be a follower.
University time is the best time to practice leaderships. Before you can lead well, be a good follower.

Take up leaderships posts, it’s a good training. At least it’s not like real world when you get fired directly of wrong deed.

14. Help your friend – sharing is caring.
Share necessary info with your coursemates in FB. Jangan kedekut ilmu!

15. Always know where are you from, but don’t be constrained of it.
It doesn’t matter you are from big city or small kampong, rich or poor. Here at university you have limitless possibilities.

Live at present and hope for tomorrow, don’t live for the past!

16. Start something
USM Dormitory Room
Start any projects that you’re interested and benefit the society. Trust me USM supports it tremendously if it aligns with its mission.

Start a business if you embrace entrepreneurship. Facebook was started in a dorm, too.

17. Don’t make your family worry.
Take care of yourself well. It’s still ok if you don’t bring money back now, but don’t ever bring them worries.

One of the tips is to report only good news! If they can’t help on bad news no point burdening them.

18. Bring a good diary
Record your financial expenses, important events or write down what you feel at that particular moment.

You will put smiles on your face when you read back some time from now – and know how much have you grown up.

19. Don’t limit yourself in USM, Go Beyond.
Go Beyond USM
Join national & international conferences, take part in competitions!

Meet with people out there, get inspired, set your benchmark high and network but in the right way.

A mentor once told me:
" If you’re no. 1 in USM, don’t be too proud. There’s Penang. If you’re no. 1 in Penang, there’s still Malaysia. Even you’re no. 1 in Malaysia, but compared to China market you’re still small. Don’t ever limit and you can grow further."

20. Think of what you want to achieve at the end.
Fireworks
Life is all about 4L – and it applies to university life too!

To Live
To Learn
To Love
and To leave a Legacy behind

Who you want to be 3, 4, 5 years from now? How you want friends to remember you as?

It’s all up to you.

All the best in your future undertaking!


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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

How I become a Teacher through KPLI and Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG)

Written by c.h.tayShare your story with us and get published here!

I've always wanted to become a teacher. I tried to apply for Education course when I applied for degree course but they rejected me. I felt that I was unfairly treated. I thought Education stream was not a hot stream to get into. Only after I had got into university then I realized the people that I know who got into the Education stream actually scored 3.7 and above. I did not regret that I got into Arts (Translations and Interpretation) course because I have learnt a lot and language always fascinates me.

Later when I graduated from university, I worked for six weeks as a customer service officer in a company. But I still want to find a way back to teaching. I had applied for KPLI (Kursus Perguruan Lepasan Ijazah) while I prepared for the final year exam in university. Upon graduated, they called me to sit for MTest, a written test for KPLI. You can name it the first round. In MTest, they tested you in BM, English, Maths (syllabus till SPM level) and IMSHAK (if I not mistaken), a kind of psychological test to determine whether you are suitable to become a teacher. Later I went on the 2nd round, interview.

The interview was conducted in 3 stages. The first stage was an individual interview (ask about your personal information, your educational background, etc). The second stage was a group interview. The interviewer gave a group of us (4) a topic and let us to discuss about. The third stage was essay writing as I applied for teaching Chinese as major, I need to write an essay in Chinese. Choose to write an essay from two titles. I applied for KPLI SR (Sekolah Rendah). I heard rumours that KPLI secondary would not be offered any more, but still, for those who are interested, you might need to call up and ask Ministry of Education (MOE).

I graduated from maktab in 2008. It's been three years for me as a teacher in primary Chinese school. For the first two years, I was bond with a contract that I signed when I entered maktab. I'm a free man now.

Teaching in primary it's not an easy task nowadays. I was trained as a Chinese teacher (teaching Chinese language as major) but ended up teaching BM and English for the past three years. The teachers are fully managed by the school administrator, i.e. the headmaster. So, you might not end up teaching something you like the most or you are best in. For me, I have continued my learning process. While teaching, I know what I lack of, and I need to equip myself with the knowledge before I step into the classroom.

As for the education system, the primary is changing the syllabus from KBSR to KSSR, i.e. upon the year of 2016, UPSR would be graded as 60% exam 40% coursework. So, the teachers would be loaded with tonnes of paperwork as to keep track of the pupils' progress through years.

KPLI 2011 Registration at Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Temenggong Ibrahim (IPGKTI), Johor Bahru
Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Temenggong Ibrahim

Although there are a lot of workloads growing from years to years, I find teaching is a rewarding career. I was satisfied when my pupils have improved a little by little. Moreover, teaching is a challenging task. Every day is a different day for me. Though you might be teaching the same subject for Year 1, it's a different Year 1 every year.

KPLI 2011 Intake at Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Temenggong Ibrahim (IPGKTI), Johor Bahru


Trivia: Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG) was previously known as Institut/Maktab Perguruan Malaysia. Even though Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG) Kampus Temenggong Ibrahim (KPI) is the current formal name, Institut/Maktab Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim is still widely used, especially among graduates from this institution.


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