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Malaysia – Luong

Luong and friends in fencing uniforms

Student: Luong
Course: Bachelor of Psychological Science
Program: GEL Intern in Malaysia program in T3 2023
International student grant recipient

Luong is an international student from Vietnam.

Tell us about your life abroad.

Malaysia is a tropical country where 28 degree Celsius is considered a quite pleasant temperature. Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is the centerpoint of all highrise buildings and the iconic twin towers. There were trees and green plants that meddled in-between concretes, giving the city a breath of fresh air. What Malaysia and Australia bear no resemblance was night life. In Malaysia, the fun starts at 8pm when people rush to the roads and gathering spots like night markets or malls. Whereas at the same time in Australia, most cafes and malls would already be close and everyone is settled at home. A normal day in my life would revolve around working from 8 to 5, having dinner with my close friend, after work self-care activities such as listening to music, watching Instagram reels, do university assignment, and then go to sleep at around 11. It was overwhelming to juggle so many things all at once for the first few weeks, but I eventually adapted to the rhythm.

For my weekends, my go-to activities were cafe-hopping, exploring malls and restaurants of different cuisines, and most importantly, resting. The most memorable trip would be to Genting Highlands, a theme park with hotels and never-ending restaurant options, with other interns in the program. One of the biggest reasons why Malaysia won my whole heart was food, and my all-time-favourite would definitely be roti canai, an Indian pancake that dips in different sauces. It is so simple, but incredibly addictive. Lastly, the friends I have made along the 6-week internship journey were either from The Global Student or from my host company, and all of them were unbelievably friendly, bright, and down-to-earth.

Tell us about the program that you undertook.

The internship opportunities I was given were Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Given that Vietnam is my home country and I already travelled to Thailand in 2023, Malaysia was in sight. However, the main reason why I chose Malaysia was [its diversity as a country].

Something about the trip that was far different from my expectations was the knowledge level of Malaysian people. I was aware of the fact that most Malaysians know at least 2 languages (Malay and English), that should have given me a hint of how well-informed they are but I was not thinking to that point. Talking to a Malaysian about different matters always blew my mind, even at cafes where people would mainly chat about their life, what I usually overheard were always work-related exchange of information. This was also the thing that challenged me, since I used to be more emotionally driven when conversing and making decisions rather than fact-based. However, I have learned that it is so much less emotionally debilitating when words are built upon proven truth, while an emotion-based statement is not very ideal and fair to the other person whom we talk to because our moods can change drastically within seconds.

One piece of advice I would give to a student who is preparing to study abroad is 'be confident in what you have to offer', so prepare resilience to face disheartening moments that will eventually transform into fuels for your self-confidence. No matter how big the world might seem and how many talented people there are, your inputs and knowledge will always be needed. One big thing that I will always remember from my experience is how kind the successful people around me were. They have successfully disconfirmed my outdated belief that all successful people were egoistic.

Regarding financial planning, I was very fortunate to receive a $2000 grant from Deakin which allowed me to go looser on my daily spending. I have not calculated the total cost of the trip but on top of the remaining $1600 for the internship (after considering $2000 grant), I generally self-manage to spend a maximum of $15AUD per day for food and transportation ($630 for 6 weeks) and spent around $400 for weekend getaways and miscellaneous things. An estimated total of $2030AUD. This trip gave me everything I looked for and even beyond, from global work experience that would definitely make my resume standout from a pool of candidates to an unshakable confidence that with an open mind and a curious heart, nothing is impossible.

Tell us about travelling further as an international students.

If I can apply psychology in this answer, a fear of not being enough. I don't think this is a negative force if we are mindful enough to not let it govern all aspects of our life 24/7, since it allows humans to get out of their comfort zone and become so much more than their self-concepts. I was motivated to study in Melbourne because I deeply believed Vietnam did not have good-enough education and opportunities to bring out the best of me.

A piece of advice I would give to an international student is 'look forward to the new world that you will soon immerse in, but never let new experiences dishonour the world you came from'. International students are undoubtedly one of the strongest groups of people I have ever known, for they have had the courage to leave behind everything they have known to build a better life. And there will always be sweet rewards at the end of the tunnel for those who have tried and trusted. Deakin grant has definitely lifted up blocks of pressure off the shoulders of my family and I am deeply grateful for all of the lightness in the heart this has made me felt. I was able to be less hesitant in exploring new places, allowing me to learn and enjoy the internship to the fullest.

Learn more about studying in Malaysia

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