Crossing Borders and Building Bridges: My Journey with the Indonesian International Student Mobility Programme at Universiti Malaya - Comedy and Indie

Kamis, 07 Maret 2024

Crossing Borders and Building Bridges: My Journey with the Indonesian International Student Mobility Programme at Universiti Malaya

Loetju.idAs an international student from Indonesia studying business management at Universiti Malaya (UM), the revolutionary potential offered by the Indonesian International Student Mobility Programme (IISMA) have had a significant impact on my educational experience. This scholarship programme serves as a beacon of academic achievement and cross-cultural exchange, allowing Indonesian students to pursue higher education at one of Malaysia's leading academic institutions.

The Indonesian International Student Mobility Programme (IISMA) is a collaborative initiative between the Indonesian and Malaysian governments to encourage academic mobility and strengthen bilateral ties via education. Through this programme, Indonesian students can spend one semester at UM, getting access to world-class education and cultural immersion opportunities.

For me, my experience with IISMA at UM has been nothing short of fascinating. As a business management student, I began my academic journey with a single goal in mind: to grasp the complexities of corporate strategy and market analysis. However, the multifaceted character of the IISMA study has exposed me to a wide range of academic and cultural experiences, extending my views and developing my respect for the interconnection of global knowledge networks. The IISMA journey is built on a dedication to academic achievement and multidisciplinary engagement. I've got the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research and innovative methods at UM, broadening my academic experience and arming me with the skills needed to handle the intricacies of the modern business environment.

Furthermore, the IISMA programme has fostered cultural interchange, which has helped to create a sense of global citizenship and cross-cultural understanding. Interacting with students from various cultural origins has extended my perspectives and challenged conventional beliefs, creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and intellectual curiosity. In addition, the IISMA adventure at UM has offered several chances for personal and professional development. Participating in local volunteering and workshops, as well as community outreach programmes, has allowed me to broaden my network, acquire essential leadership abilities, and make a significant contribution to the campus community and beyond.

Although Malaysians and Indonesians understand each other well, there are still linguistic and cultural hurdles between us. Malaysia's diverse linguistic landscape, which includes Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Tamil, and many indigenous languages, may surprise Indonesian students accustomed to learning in a mostly Indonesian language environment. This linguistic variation reflects Malaysian society's diverse makeup and emphasises the importance of language in preserving the country's distinct cultural identities.

Malaysia's multicultural fusion also impressed me, particularly the blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous cultures, each of which contributes unique features to the larger cultural context. The ethnic mix in Malaysia may be an exciting and eye-opening experience for Indonesian exchange students, from the many gourmet options to the numerous religious customs and festivals observed. I was particularly startled by the prominence of Chinese culture in Malaysia, which is closely linked to Malay culture. This fusion may be visible in a multitude of forms, including language, food, and traditional rituals, resulting in a distinct cultural identity apart from Indonesia's mostly Malay culture. Their food, rich and diversified, inspired by numerous cultural traditions, may astound Indonesian students with its unique flavors, spices, and culinary methods. Exploring foods like nasi lemak, char kway teow, and roti canai can be a joyful and unexpected experience, demonstrating the confluence of many culinary traditions within Malaysian culture.

Although Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, the practice of Islam in Malaysia differs in several ways. Certain places of Malaysia, particularly in more conservative states, follow stricter interpretations of Islamic traditions and practices, which may contrast with Indonesia's more diversified and tolerant religious practices. This might include distinct social conventions, clothing rules, and religious practices that some Indonesian visitors may not be familiar with. For women in Malaysia, there are far stricter enforcement of dress codes for women, such as the expectation to wear modest clothing that cover the arms and legs. While it is relevant that Malaysia have far stricter dress codes for women (New Strait Times, 2023), some women who are dress freely do not receive the same treatment in the streets as they are in other countries. Here, there are fewer and almost to none catcalls and/or harassments. I have experienced many instances of going out at night in the streets of Kuala Lumpur alone, and felt safe enough than in my home country.

As an international student from Indonesia, I am sincerely appreciative for the opportunity provided by the Indonesian International Student Mobility Programme (IISMA). This scholarship programme has not only allowed me to pursue my academic goals, but it has also prepared me to be a global citizen, armed with the information, skills, and cultural competences required to flourish in an increasingly linked world. The Indonesian International Student Mobility Programme (IISMA) experience at Universiti Malaya shows education's transforming capacity in promoting academic achievement, cross-cultural understanding, and international collaboration. As an international student from Indonesia studying business management, I am pleased to be a part of this lively academic community, where barriers are broken down and brains are empowered to make a better future for future generations.

Name: Vaneza Tadzkia Radhwa
NIM: 12010120190089
Major: Management
Faculty: Faculty of Economics and Business

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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