On late May 2016, the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering (FCEE), of Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) announced that students were eligible to participate in a One Semester Credit Mobility Program to City University of Hong Kong (CityU HK). Congratulation to FCEE Dean, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abd. Halid and all the management staff in a first ever for UTHM, which can be majorly credited to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU & MoA) signed between FCEE and CityU HK in 2015. With CityU HK ranked at no.55 in the QS World University Rankings; By subjects (2017) where Civil & Structural Engineering no. 46th, it is no wonder that the university has been chosen as a partner in the MoU. Globally recognized as a top center for higher learning and research, CityU HK will be able to seamlessly provide the students with the opportunity to new experiences in a diverse learning environment.
The announcement of the ‘One Semester Credit Mobility Program’ by FCEE, brought in a wave of enthusiastic students applying from the faculty. These applicants were narrowed down by the HK Mobility committee coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zainal Abidin Akasah, based on the requirements needed which includes a high CGPA score as well as participations in extracurricular activities. Those that succeeded were further selected through rigorous interviews in order to hand-pick the most qualified and suitable applicants to undergo the program. The final students that made it to the top were two 2nd year Civil Engineering students, Nurul Amira Zainundin and Nurusyahira Hanani Muhammad. Last but not least, both students are the winner of the Creativity and Innovation competition program 2016, were selected to enroll in the One Semester Credit Mobility Program at CityU HK for the duration of 5 months starting from 31st December 2016 until 30th May 2017.
In order to provide a full credit transfer for the program, both students took upon subjects provided by the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering CityU with contents that resemble up to 80-100% with the subjects provided in UTHM, in order to achieve this criteria. The four courses taken at CityU are Construction Contracts 1 which corresponds with BFC31602-Contract and Estimation, Engineers and Society which corresponds to BFC32202-Engieers & Society, Hydraulics and Hydrology which corresponds to BFC1103 Hydraulic and BFC32002 Hydrology, and Maintenance Technology & Management which corresponds to BFB40903-Building Maintenance. At the end of this program, both students will be taking their Final Examinations at CityU HK with a total subjects of 12 credits hours.
Students of CityU are not only high achievers academically, but they are also known to be active in many extracurricular activities such as clubs, and societies. This social culture will most definitely benefit both UTHM students in improving their communication skills as well as broadening their worldviews throughout the entire program. This experience will not only assist both students in opening the doors to possible future carreers, but at the same time, providing the capability to make new friends from different cultural backgrounds.
With this in mind, Syahira and Amira registered with the International Friend Club (IFC), which provides students with IFC Buddies, comprising of senior students who spend their time and effort in the club volunteering to help new non-local students get acquainted with life in CityU and also around Hong Kong. IFC Buddies can be referred to when there are enquiries and problems that arise, and they will gladly figure out what needs to be done. This buddy system helps provide new students with the knowledge that they are not alone in the new environment that they are experiencing, and at the same time reduces depression and stress rates in students. The IFC Buddies of Amira and Syahira are Tom Gor-wong and Katie Wong.
Apart from the IFC, both students were also members of the International Society (ISOC). Members of ISOC comprises of international and non-local CityU students, who gather together in order to learn and understand each other’s different religions and cultures, while providing various views and perspectives. ISOC has also organized multiple activities and events throughout the whole semester.
Other than clubs and societies, CityU is highly respected in sports, with over 15 known sports teams that take part in many interschool sports competitions annually. All students are welcome for the team try outs, and CityU’s highest achievements in sports are badminton and basketball.
During the semesters, CityU also organizes festivals and events that encourages all students to participate such as the Indonesian Night, where students from Indonesia perform dramas and sketches as well singings of Indonesian songs. Famous local dishes were also cooked such as the Rendang Ayam, fried noodles and rice, Bakso, and so much more. Another event was the Gala Dinner that was held during winter at the Residence Hall. The purpose of this dinner was to introduce the exchange students to the wide variety of culture from different cultures in one night. Food served during the dinner incorporated the different cultures as well accommodating to the students by providing Halal food. There was also the Taiwanese and Japanese Night that was organized to help introduce the country to the exchange students. All these festivals and events largely helped to improve the student’s knowledge of the different countries including cultures, traditions, and lifestyle.
Throughout the whole program, both UTHM students were provided by CityU the accommodations at the Student Residence located at Cornwall Street. The facility comprises of 11 residential halls, 10 for undergraduates and 1 for postgraduate students. Syahira and Amira’s accommodations were placed in Hall 6, also known as Lee Shau Kee (LSK) Hall. LSK Hall has the tradition of ‘Home Sweet Home’, which includes the whole hall’s residence and sees them as one big family, whereby everyone accepts each individual differences in order to live in perfect harmony. LSK Hall has a passionate and dedicated Resident’s Association (RA) whose members work with Resident Tutors (RT) in order to organize fruitful and enjoyable activities for members of the LSK Hall family. They value fun and joy as much as hard work and success.
With the program ending in May 2017 for both UTHM students, it is easy to imagine Syahira and Amira having a difficult time leaving CityU to come back home to UTHM. CityU is notorious for fulfilling the needs of their students and incorporating activities that encourage each and every student to participate, thus viewing the student body as one big family. This in turn creates a stress-free learning and studying environment within the university. UTHM will gladly return the favour for future programs to come.