|Going to university is a milestone in every student's life. Here, the young a adults will share their experiences of leaving their nest for higher studies and a first whiff of independence.|
Zaid shares with Motherhood readers his experience of leaving his nest for the garden city of lights - KL.
Zaid is a postgrad student of Islamic Finance at INCEIF University, Malaysia.
Education is a lifelong process, thus the learning curve of a person never stops but it does immensely increase when you enter into your Post Graduation Program especially if you bid farewell to your home-country. I was Alhamdulillah lucky to get an admission in the first institution I applied too.
I still remember heading to my father’s office with my offer letter, I had never felt so numb in my life. It was a feeling of whether I really want this, now that it was so real.
Two months later I was entering my University in Malaysia to do my Post Grad in Islamic finance. I stepped into class and the sight I witnessed was students from every possible ethnic race one can think off. The second thought that hit me was I am up against students from Turkey, Russia, Tajikistan, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, India, Bangladesh, America, Korea, China, Singapore, South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Brunei and the list goes on and I was the only Pakistani. I knew I had to gear up.
Post Graduation degree is a completely different ball game. I remember when my friends went abroad for their undergrad they use to tell me how much they miss home or how managing everything yourself is difficult, but for me it became second nature in a few days. The rationale I have in my head is that I am studying in a very professional environment and all my class mates know we will be working in high pressure jobs a few months from now, so we should enjoy and make the most of the little time we have as students.
Over the next few days I found my comfort zone, my professors were all PHD’s with immense knowledge and depth and they had so much command over the subjects. On top of that all my class mates hold such diverse qualifications in Shariah, Econometrics, Mathematics, Chartered Accountancy, International Relations, Applied Psychology, Sociology and Fiqh. For me this became a pool of knowledge where I could constantly learn.
Studying in Malaysia truly has its advantages, especially for Muslim student like myself. I have never had any concern about eating out as most of the eateries serve Halal food. When I got to Malaysia there were still banners all over the city saying Selamat Hari Raya (Eid Mubarak). One of my professors told us that Malaysia celebrates Eid for one month, so I had a chance to feast at a few open houses and try Malay food.
I must say initially the food smelt different and it tasted sweet, but with time I’ve developed a taste for Malay food. After a few days I realized that it would be wise to learn a few Malay words to converse with the locals, especially at the eateries. Words like boleh (can), nasi (rice), ayam (chicken), goreng (fried), ikan (fish), membuka (open). They all sounded so hilarious but now it’s always nice to get into a local kafe (as they write in Bahasa) and say nasi ayam goreng boleh !
Malaysia is a haven for food and cultural activities; it’s one of the most vibrant countries with innumerable races living together that provide excellent cuisines. Going out after classes and trying out different cuisines, Malay, Chinese and Indian which are easily and cheaply available at most road side cafes and hawker stalls has become a norm for me. In addition various other delectable cuisines are also available like Thai, Middle Eastern etc.
The most unpleasant fruit I’ve come across is the Durian. One of my Malaysian friends asked me if I’ve tried it, I insistently replied in negative due to its pungent smell. The look on her face was so furious and that’s when I realized I had stepped on thin ice; the Malays are very sensitive aboutdurians. But then there are other delicious fruits to please the taste buds like mangostein and rambutan that are widely available.
The best part was when I was roaming in the downtown of Kuala Lumpur and came across a Pathan who was making Chapli Kabab. I must say it wasn’t his best work but it was still something that reminded me of my lovely country.
When I was heading to Malaysia, someone told me that soon I will start speaking English in Malay style, which at that time didn’t make sense but now I have. Using words like “where are you la” “no la”.
Another thing that this country has to offer is the heavy downpour every now and then, followed by heavy thunderstorm. I am still sometimes shaken by the intensity of the lightening. I must say it is very scary. Sometimes the lightening consistently goes on for 20 seconds. Nonetheless it’s always nice to head to the nearest café after class on a rainy day and order Teh Tarik (strong tea, drenched in condensed milk).
Malaysia not only welcomes us foreigners with its food and language but its breath taking natural beauty makes the stay even more pleasant. I had a chance to visit Putra Jaya, the new city, it’s a man made marvel, combined with the natural beauty.
I have yet to witness the festive season, I hear that Eid brings green colored lanterns and festivity in the houses and streets, Chinese New Year brings amazing lion dances and the city is decorated with red lanterns, Diwali brings colorful rangoolis and continuous celebrations.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a dinner for scholarship students and it was over-whelming to see majority of the scholarships were given to Pakistani students. When you live far from home you realize that we have so much talent and there is so much that Pakistani students are working towards, but sadly it somehow goes unnoticed.
In conclusion I think every student needs to keep in mind that life away from home is not a walk in the park, and in your heart you should know that the decision you took is for the right reasons. We as youngsters need to work hard and achieve our goal; to create a better future and make our family proud. Likewise, we are all ambassadors for our country and we need to be a reflection of ‘good’.
Wherever we are we should be recognized as the best of Muslims, the proudest of Pakistanis and the sons and daughters of the best of parents.
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