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Jeff

"Experiencing study abroad opened my eyes to different ways to exist and enjoy life." - Jeff

What department/faculty do you belong to? Commerce

What country are you from? Canada

How long have you been studying at university? Five years

1. Why did you choose to study abroad, and particularly why did you choose that country/region?

- I am doing business at MUN. I thought it would be a cool to enhance the degree and get more exposure to other cultures by travelling. I started thinking that sometime in my future career I might not live in the same demographic. Malaysia sort of picked me. I was excited to go to Southeast Asia because the only other group exchange choice was in England, and I didn't see that as the same kind of exchange. Malaysia is the place that is most different from my home so that's why I decided to go there.

2. Tell us about an interesting adventure, site, or trip experienced while studying there.

- There was a ton of stuff. I went almost everywhere in the region; Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Seoul, Hong Kong, Thailand. Seeing the demilitarized zone in South Korea really stuck out. People were just living their lives, knowing at any moment there could be a war and yet people go about normally, despite all that tension. Going to Seoul and seeing that was super cool. Hong Kong was very fast paced. Living in a Muslim country and seeing that 99.9% of Muslims are the same as us, they're not anti-American or anti-Canada was a big contrast to how many Muslims are portrayed on the news. That experience showed me that not everything can be learned through the internet and Wikipedia.

3. What did you find was the biggest difference, either culturally or educationally, between your country and the country you studied abroad in? What was the biggest similarity?

- The biggest difference educationally was how seriously people take school. The students show up in formal clothes and would never skip classes. Everyone calls their professor "Doctor" or "Professor". Back home it's a lot more relaxed, there are discussions in class and everything is pretty casual. MUN is very structured and has a lot of organization. Over there it's very haphazard; there really weren't a lot of similarities. We only had class Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so the workload was not very high compared to university classes at home.

4. What would you say to another student thinking of studying in the country you visited?

- Take advantage of every opportunity. That region is an interesting place right now, because it's doing well economically. Everyone was very helpful and there are lots of chances to see other parts of the region. You do need to prepare a little bit, because it's very far away from home. But don't be afraid to pack a light suitcase and dive in.

5. Upon reflection, what do you think the experience of studying abroad has brought to you?

- It brought me another viewpoint to look at the world through. Sometimes people can get caught up thinking about things from an island perspective, or an Atlantic Canadian perspective, or a 22 year old student perspective. Seeing other ways of life, and different careers and cultures, even people my own age who are living their lives in a very different way than I am, experiencing study abroad opened my eyes to different ways to exist and enjoy life. It was fun and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

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