As students or aspiring students, we go through a multitude of challenges, a myriad of emotions and a mountain of responsibilities. We are expected to not only excel in our academic pathway but to also keep all the other responsibilities in check. Throughout my younger years, I was always told that balance was the key to living the best life possible.
If it was as easy as it sounds, I guess us students will be able to breeze through one of the toughest years in our adult life. However, it is impossible to deny the significant issues of conflict that might arise when we go for degree studies. As we are all aware of, it is almost necessary to earn our graduate degrees and diploma just to be able to sit for most work interviews. We can’t deny that version of reality. However, one of the major decisions we need to take is to first decide the suitable and desired study location. It could be a great university located in a country where you are able to converse and communicate using the same or similar languages.
Step 1: Choosing the right university for you
Are you an undergraduate student looking for a unique study experience in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur? Are you up for meeting international like-minded students such as yourself to gain everlasting friendship? Do you fancy a comfortable and free environment for you to be yourself and be a part of the legacy of thousands of other brilliant trailblazers? Then Asia Pacific University of Innovation and Technology (APU) might just be the excellent place for you. As a graduate student from APU myself, I can honestly attest to this.
Studying there for more than 3 years has been one of the most fulfilling adventures I’ve had in my brief life of 21 years. I had the opportunity to debate, communicate, converse and speak with friends from all parts of the globe and I’ve even picked up a few phrases in Russian, French and Arabic! I would say out of all, the bond between us friends made my study life worthwhile and the brilliant support from lecturers and elders made it easier to graduate from my course with first class honours. Now that you’ve had time to ponder on the right university, let’s go to the next step.
Step 2: Understand and embrace the challenges of adapting to a different cultural lifestyle in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Not one place in this entire world is the same and Malaysia is not very much different from the rest of the South Asian countries. Located in South East Asia, it is important to note that diversity is embraced thoroughly in Malaysia and its traces can be dated back in time. Diversity in people and races, Diversity in food and culinary heritage, Diversity in languages and accents and more. You can find it all here present within Malaysian soil. However, that being said, challenges to adapt to the different lifestyle here will definitely be present. If you’re an international student, you can’t run away from feeling homesick, especially for the first few months or so.
The solution here is not to hide from the feeling and reject it, but instead to be open to the experience and be mindful that you are here for a reason and you should persevere with the strength inside of you. Do have a talk with counsellors, friends or any extended acquaintances that you have about your struggles and challenges, and you might be able to overcome these feelings. In my opinion, one of the best things about studying my degree in Malaysia is the diversity I see all around me. For example, you have pubs and bars to serene and peaceful religious buildings. You can have nasi lemak for breakfast, a delightful Indian biryani for lunch and a savoury course of Chinese Dim Sum for dinner. I call that a win!
Step 3: Utilise your spare time by volunteering and doing new activities
One way to garner better exposure into the real world and to collect a wide range of experience is to participate in charity events or volunteer! (It also helps to boost your CV a notch higher!) You don’t need to search high and low for an opportunity, and the key is to start small. It is always important to make sure you’re well suited, ready for the challenge and able to perform your volunteer tasks without debilitating your health.
Volunteering is also another way to make good friends who share the same interests as you. For example, while taking up your classes at your university, you could work as a library assistant, a research assistant, or even in the administration team as a part-time role without needing to travel a distance for this opportunity. An important tip here is to balance your studies with your extra-curricular events. If you’re able to juggle both without your grades or your social life being affected, then continue on, warrior!
Step 4: Always prioritise your mental health
We should never take our health for granted and most of us stand by that; unfortunately, we tend to leave our mental health at the bottom list of priorities. Just like exercise is necessary for well-rounded physical health and strength, our mental health needs to be given more consideration, especially with the increased workload. (Not to mention, the mountain of assignment and report work!) Always take a breather out of your busy schedule and take the time off to do something that truly de-stresses you. Some go for a walk, others go hiking, some pack their bags and hop on the next ferry out of the bustling city to a beautiful island and others go for a movie night! Don’t lose sight of what truly matters and I’m here to tell you that– your mind matters.
Being a student has its perks and struggles but true to what your mom and dad might’ve said to you, it really is one of the best moments of your life! So, pick your chin up and make the best of the beautiful years you have when you enrol yourself in a university. The sky is the limit, my friends!