JOHOR BAHRU – Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s (UTM) undergraduate students from the School of Mechanical Engineering, Farzana binti Ramzol had participated in the Student Exchange Program for Fall Semester in Chonnam National University (CNU), South Korea for a semester, starting from September 2018. This program was funded by UTM, ASEAN International Mobility for Students (AIMS) and Best Partner Scholarship. The programme offered the opportunity to participate in classes, laboratory, university activities and residential life and cultural programme.
Throughout the entire exchange programme, she experienced a different kind of new environment and exposed to a variety of values, norms and distinct cultural perspectives. All of these have made her gained a lot, through the involvement in and the exposure to it. A new experience of what it was like to live and learn in another country, which, for many, is an eye-opening, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only that, she also had the chance to visit many beautiful places, such as Seoul, Gwangju, Busan and Jeonju.
Many new things have been discovered and learned as well as getting to know many new friends from all walk of life with different nationalities, backgrounds, and cultures. “Before I went to South Korea, I don’t even know a single word of Korean language. That has become a problem for me to communicate with Koreans since most of them don’t know how to speak English, especially the elders”, she said. In order to survive, she took the chance to learn Hangul and improved her language skills as well as broadening her social horizons. “It provides me with an opportunity to immerse myself in another language and develop my language skills in a foreign study environment. It is a very special experience for every student who participates in the programme.”
The most interesting activity for all the Malaysian exchange students at Chonnam National University is Malaysia Day. All of the Malaysian exchange students work together to celebrate this event. The purpose of having the Malaysia Day is to let the students from South Korea and students from other countries to know more about our country and cultures. “During the event day, we have booth to showcase food, photography booth, game booth and calligraphy booth. All the visitors can try the traditional foods and games in our country”, she said.
Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposed her to alternate views but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. This had contributed to her having a deeper understanding of Korea. At the end of the semester, she presented a token of appreciation to Jeon Byeol, the exchange students’ coordinator of CNU.