December sees the final month of the cohort’s time in Malaysia, and this blog entry has a somewhat reflective feel. With exams to cover, plus a festive departure and then relocation to Dubai; Maria, Sean, Valentin and Fraser reflect on what an experience Malaysia has provided and how they have made the most of their learning experience at the Heriot-Watt Malaysia campus.
As the exam season drew closer and ever more prominent in our minds, December was undoubtedly the toughest month of our time in Malaysia. Usually the exam season is characterised by long nights in the library, numerous runs to the coffee shop, and the bitterly cold Scottish winter at our heels as we run from busses and trains into the library. This time around was no different except the weather; we often stayed from opening until closing time in the University library (9am until 9pm), but with the tempting distraction of scorching sunshine and a cool, tropical-blue pool next to our residences. The undergraduates agree, it doesn’t feel like exam season at all without the howling wind and rain chasing us into the library of an early morning.
For some of us (Valentin and Fraser specifically), the most challenging aspect has been the change in studying style, from practicing calculations to preparing for a variety of essay questions. Where we used to memorise formulas and algebraic techniques, now we must learn to critically evaluate scholars, theories and perspectives; we must learn to study in a completely different way from our undergraduate degrees.
To balance things out, each of us decided to take some time to relax after the final exam paper. Fraser visited the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where he climbed a volcano and took the opportunity to see wild Orangutans and Sumatran Elephants. Valentin went North to Cambodia, where he visited historic religious temples and helped some school children with their English lessons. Maria took an early flight home to indulge in some long overdue family time, whilst Sean embarked on his 3-week Christmas-tour of Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore before flying to Dubai for the second semester. Whatever our choice of activity, we all needed the time to unwind after a hard month. After enjoying some home comforts over Christmas and New Year, we’re ready to tackle Dubai head on!
Whilst in Dubai we will undertake three elective classes each, ranging from Economics to Logistics to Systems Analysis, and one mandatory Research Methods class in preparation for our summer of thesis writing. We will also undertake two-month internships with the international B2B Digital Marketing giant Omobono, which will present a completely new world of professional challenges from our academic pursuits. We are delighted to have this opportunity, and give our thanks to Handley Newman (alumni of Heriot-Watt) for making it possible. Coupled with the dependably dry weather, the spectacular city of Dubai itself, and the prospect of immersing ourselves in yet another new culture, we couldn’t be more excited to start stage two of our Global Masters Project!