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The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - COURSE FOCUS -

MALAYSIA is known as one of the top ed­u­ca­tion des­ti­na­tions in Asia and its many for­eign branch cam­puses have con­trib­uted to its sta­tus.

With lower tu­ition fees and liv­ing cost com­pared to cam­puses in the home coun­try, branch cam­puses are at­tract­ing stu­dents lo­cally and abroad.

Dif­fer­ences in tu­ition fees be­tween lo­cal pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions and branch cam­puses are not so great, but the pay­off is the branch cam­pus ex­pe­ri­ence.

Fur­ther­more, just like pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions, Malaysian stu­dents who en­rol in branch cam­puses are also el­i­gi­ble for lo­cal fi­nan­cial schemes and schol­ar­ships such as gov­ern­ment loans ( PTPTN) and Pub­lic Ser­vice De­part­ment ( JPA) schol­ar­ships that can help ease their fi­nan­cial con­straints.

In ad­di­tion, branch cam­puses also of­fer their own schol­ar­ships, which could be less com­pet­i­tive than those of­fered at the home cam­pus.

Due to the lower aca­demic fees and liv­ing costs com­pared to the home cam­puses, branch cam­puses in Malaysia at­tract many stu­dents from South Asia, South- East Asia, the Mid­dle East, Rus­sia and Africa, in ad­di­tion to ex­change stu­dents from the home cam­pus.

With cheaper ed­u­ca­tion costs paired with in­ter- and in­tra­cam­pus pro­grammes, branch cam­puses be­come melt­ing pots of cul­ture, peo­ple and ideas and have some of the most di­verse stu­dent com­mu­ni­ties in the coun­try.

This al­lows lo­cal stu­dents to be­come more open to peo­ple from var­i­ous back­grounds and cul­tures. In re­turn, for­eign stu­dents are able to in­dulge in the “Malaysian ex­pe­ri­ence” and ex­plore what the coun­try has to of­fer.

Ac­cord­ing to Athira Nor­ta­jud­din, an alumna from The Uni­ver­sity of Not­ting­ham Malaysia Cam­pus, her branch cam­pus ex­pe­ri­ence has ex­posed her to di­verse com­mu­ni­ties that have im­pacted her per­sonal growth.

“I am be­yond grate­ful that I was ex­posed to an in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­ment where I now have friends from all over the world.

“Back in my un­der­grad­u­ate days, I hung out with not only my Malaysian friends of dif­fer­ent races but also ex­change stu­dents from the United King­dom and China cam­puses as well as other in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, whom I am proud to say I am still in touch with,” she says.

A grow­ing pres­ence

The branch cam­puses in Malaysia are pre­dom­i­nantly of uni­ver­si­ties in the UK and Aus­tralia, with es­tab­lish­ments in the Klang Val­ley, Sarawak and Johor.

This is likely be­cause of Malaysia’s long his­tor­i­cal re­la­tion­ship with the UK and its prox­im­ity to Aus­tralia.

The home cam­puses of many branch cam­puses have been known to be on the fore­front of ed­u­ca­tion and they are also some of the old­est and best aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions in the world.

Ac­cord­ing to Track­ing In­ter­na­tional Grad­u­ate Out­comes 2011 by the De­part­ment for Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Skills, UK, em­ploy­ees who have a UK de­gree have higher salaries when hired in the home coun­try.

Aus­tralian uni­ver­si­ties, on the other hand, are well known for their cut­ting- edge work in re­search and de­vel­op­ment in ad­di­tion to pro­duc­ing dis­tin­guished grad­u­ates.

To achieve this, branch cam­puses in Malaysia bring in ex­perts and cur­ric­ula from their home cam­puses.

The pro­grammes at He­riot- Watt Uni­ver­sity’s for­eign cam­puses con­sist of the same cur­ric­ula as the home cam­pus in the UK.

Stu­dents will have the same aca­demic ex­pe­ri­ence when study­ing in the dif­fer­ent He­ri­otWatt cam­puses in Ed­in­burgh, Dubai and Malaysia. The dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fac­tors are the cul­tural and learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences stu­dents get from study­ing in these coun­tries.

Branch cam­puses also work closely with lo­cal in­sti­tu­tions and aca­demi­cians in terms of ed­u­ca­tion, part­ner­ships, and re­search and de­vel­op­ment.

These ef­forts help to pro­vide the best ed­u­ca­tion for stu­dents and, in the long run, aid their tran­si­tion if they de­cide to fur­ther their stud­ies abroad.

He­len Sneha Jam­bunathan, a grad­u­ate from the School of Arts and So­cial Sciences, Monash Uni­ver­sity Malaysia, be­lieves that her aca­demic ex­pe­ri­ence in a branch cam­pus con­trib­uted to her ac­cep­tance to Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity to pur­sue her master’s de­gree.

“My un­der­grad­u­ate ex­pe­ri­ence was aca­dem­i­cally thought­pro­vok­ing and I was able to ex­pand my hori­zons by pro­duc­ing con­tent such as ra­dio doc­u­men­taries and mag­a­zine ar­ti­cles.

“I also com­pleted an in­tern­ship at a lo­cal civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tion as part of a cred­ited unit.

“These op­por­tu­ni­ties al­lowed me to gain valu­able work ex­pe­ri­ence, net­work and learn about com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, while ap­ply­ing the skills of the class­room to real- life sit­u­a­tions.

“That ex­po­sure has def­i­nitely shaped and re­de­fined my fu­ture goals as well as opened new doors for me,” she says.

Branch cam­puses also of­fer an ex­cel­lent buf­fer pe­riod for stu­dents who are plan­ning to pur­sue a de­gree in the home cam­pus but want to elim­i­nate ex­cess costs in the first few years.

Typ­i­cally, stu­dents can opt to trans­fer their cred­its to the home cam­pus to con­tinue their stud­ies there or en­rol in an ex­change pro­gramme to the home cam­pus or other in­ter­na­tional part­ner cam­puses to ex­pe­ri­ence study­ing abroad.

Hence, branch cam­puses of­fer a uniquely in­ter­na­tional aca­demic ex­pe­ri­ence that en­com­passes the com­fort and cost ef­fec­tive­ness of study­ing lo­cally.

Branch cam­puses in Malaysia have been es­tab­lished in the Klang Val­ley, Sarawak and the Iskan­dar re­gion of Johor.

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