'My self-confidence has increased'
Syazwina Sarugi, 23, is from Malaysia where she studies advertising design at the Multimedia University in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, for her third year. She is in Denmark for five months to study Multimedia Design and Communication.
'This is the most exciting time of my life.'
The enthusiasm beams out of 23-year-old Syazwina Sarugi when she is asked about her present life. Syazwina is the first Malaysian student at Business Academy Aarhus and the very first student from the Multimedia University in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, to go abroad as an exchange student in Scandinavia.
'I love being here. I like the effectiveness, the facilities, the surroundings, the library and the direct contact with the friendly teachers. Furthermore, it’s exciting to meet fellow students from all over the world with different backgrounds, cultures and languages,' she says.
Life in Aarhus
Syazwina arrived in Aarhus in August and was amazed to see the green surroundings.
'The city of Aarhus is nice because it is so close to the countryside and has beautiful houses and architecture. The city is cosy because it is small and not so urban,' she explains.
Syazwina received a dorm room arranged through the International Office at Skjoldhøjkollegiet about half an hour from the Academy. It is one of Denmark’s largest student dormitories with more than 1,000 residents. Syazwina has her own room and bathroom. She shares the living room and kitchen with 11 other foreign and Danish students.
'Normally we communicate in English. We always gather for dinner and help each other,' she says.
Photos of autumn
During her leisure time, Syazwina likes to take her Nikon camera and go and take photos with her Danish friend Annika. Especially the autumn and the food were things that Syazwina was keen to experience before she arrived.
'In Malaysia, we only have two seasons, so I was delighted to see the Danish autumn. Another thing I was excited to see was all the different types of trees you have here. In Malaysia we mostly have Palm trees and tropical trees.'
Syazwina is good at taking advantage of the many opportunities. One weekend she went by bus from Aarhus to Hamburg in Germany to visit a friend. 'I have the opportunity to participate in a lot of different activities and travel and visit nice and beautiful places in Denmark and other European countries.
Studying in Aarhus
It has long been Syazwina’s wish to study in Europe. One day some time ago in her hometown university she noticed an exchange student application for Business Academy Aarhus.
'I really wanted to go somewhere in Europe to experience the education system and I found out that Business Academy Aarhus offered a course that matched my interests and furthermore my passioned field of study: the practical aspect in multimedia design.'
She applied immediately. But not until the third time was her application to participate in the exchange programme accepted with support from the Malaysian government.
Effectiveness and friendly teachers
Studying at Business Academy Aarhus is very different from studying in Malaysia, Syazwina explains.
'Compared to my university in Cyberjaya it is very different here because at home we are many students in one class. Teachers here are friendly and we also have close relationships, like friends, but we still respect them as teachers. In Denmark, I have teaching in small classes compared to Malaysia where we have lectures in an auditorium with more than 100 students, which makes me too shy to ask the teacher questions through a microphone. Here I meet students from all over the world that share the same passion for multimedia design as me. We share ideas and discuss opinions and do exciting activities together. My self-confidence has grown here, maybe because the student environment is much more free and easy and I have realised that I can take care of myself in a foreign country.'
'We have discussions in class between students and teachers and the class is divided into smaller groups for assignments and projects. The students in my class come from different European countries and backgrounds. I enjoy the way we are divided into small groups, thus getting the opportunity to get to know each other and share ideas and skills. At the same time, it improves my communication skills and improves my English speaking.'
'Danes are, at first, a bit reserved and serious, but when you start talking to them, they are really very kind and obliging.
Syazwina attends Danish language classes, which are free at the Academy. The stay has increased her curiosity to see more of the world or maybe stay in Denmark for a longer period. Right now she is looking for a new scholarship so that she is able to extend her studies abroad.
Syazwina dreams of becoming an art director or working with graphic design in an international PR agency.
'I am curious to see more of the world while working at the same time. I'd love to stay in Denmark and I would like to stay here for a longer period, but first I need to go back to Malaysia to finish my bachelor there. I’ll come back to Denmark one day though,' she promises.