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An interview was conducted with Ms. Sabine Tijdeman, an exchange student from Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, Netherlands who joined the Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL)’s Student Mobility Programme. She was a student at the Faculty of Business and Accounting (FBA). Before leaving the University, Ms. Sabine shared her experiences at IUKL and Malaysia in general.
Interviewer: How was your time here at IUKL?
Sabine: I have made many friends from different countries. I did face difficulties in communicating with others as each of us comes from a different culture. Malaysians tend to be indirect when they wish to deliver a message but in our culture, it is the opposite so sometimes there will be miscommunication between us.
Interviewer: Why did you choose IUKL to do the student mobility programme?
Sabine: When I was browsing the net to find an institution to do this programme, I chose Malaysia because of the peaceful atmosphere and I felt that I can gain cultural opportunities as well.
Interviewer: What was your favourite class to attend? Do you have a favourite lecturer?
Sabine: I enjoyed the International Relations class as I had the opportunity to learn more about the world. It was a very interesting class taught by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Faridah, who is also my favourite lecturer.
Interviewer: Could you share more with us about your journey?
Sabine: When I started the student mobility programme at IUKL, I had a bit of a culture shock. Some lecturers have a strong Malay accent when they speak in English which makes it difficult for me to understand the lecture at times but I managed to adapt after a month.
Interviewer: What is the most important thing for you to represent your country when you are abroad?
Sabine: If you plan to go abroad, we have to keep an open mind so we will be ready to accept new things and be more optimistic towards new ideas. When we are open minded, we will have a better understanding of life because we will view it as a journey and learning experience.
Interviewer: Is your country facing any crisis at the moment?
Sabine: Yes, we are actually facing economic crisis. Many people are laid off in Netherlands. Here, Malaysians go out for dinner and shop almost every day. In Netherlands, all shops are closed at 6pm. Food and clothing are more expensive there. When we do go out for dinner, it will usually be for a special occasion.
Interviewer: How has your stay in Malaysia been so far?
Sabine: It has been a great time. I learned a lot about the various cultures in Malaysia. This country is rich with culture and I really respect that. You don’t see this in many other countries.
Interviewer: What do you plan to do when you return to your homeland?
Sabine: After this semester (October 2013), I will be doing my internship at Madrid, Spain for five months and I will return to my university to complete my final semester
Interviewer: What will be the one memory in IUKL that you will never forget?
Sabine: It’s hard for me to pinpoint one as I have so many memories here but I will never forget the farewell party that Dr. Faridah organized for me for the International Relations class. In Netherlands, the students are not very close with the lecturers but here in Malaysia, it is the opposite. For example, the students share stories about their vacations or problems to the lecturers. The lecturers here are caring and are always willing to lend an ear.
Interviewer: Would you come to Malaysia again if you have another chance?
Sabine: I would love to if I get financial aid (laughs).