Opportunities on the road not taken
Malaysian Student Ambassador Chin Shuen Tung was naturally nervous about studying abroad but then found a home from home in Dublin
Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine. I graduated from a Canadian high school with an OSSD certificate, not knowing the next step in life. While in the midst of my university application process as I was trying to decide on where to pursue my third level education, I stumbled upon the greatest opportunity to study in Ireland. Who knew a 100 per cent scholarship offer from UCD could change my life plans and broaden my horizons?
Before that, I’d never even considered Ireland as an option just because I had yet to discover that “mysterious” Emerald Isle on the other side of the world. So here are some reasons why I chose to wander into the unknown!
Why commerce in UCD?
I chose to study at University College Dublin because it is ranked highly as top 1 per cent world university, with a beautiful campus located near the vibrant city of Dublin, Ireland’s capital. Being Ireland’s largest university that embodies a large diversity in its urban campus, UCD is the perfect place for study and for cultural exchange. Thus, as an all-rounded learner who speaks four languages and is comfortable with a multicultural learning environment, my international mindedness aligned with the UCD horizons curriculum.
I chose to pursue the Bachelor of Commerce in the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business due to its high standard as Ireland’s leading international business school with triple crown of accreditations.
That being said, I was also attracted by the programme’s appealing course structure, which provides the foundation to a variety of business courses, together with a subject specialisation in the final year.
Most importantly, UCD offers many great learning opportunities for students to gain experience and advance their career through its global network, including exclusive exchange programmes and internship programmes.
Back in my home country, Malaysia, people always have the misconception that Ireland universities are only popular for medical courses. Thus, I chose to study the Bachelor of Commerce in UCD as a means to challenge myself and to challenge the Malaysian social norm.
Needless to say, the UCD Global Excellence Scholarship offer was the main reason that made me tie down my decision to study in Ireland. Through the Education in Ireland Student Ambassador programme, I hope to share my life experience studying commerce in Ireland and let the audience discover a different side of Ireland’s quality education.
Before arriving in Ireland, I’d heard a lot about this country: from the world’s friendliest people to the most beautiful sceneries and landscapes. The idea of living abroad has always seemed so fascinating to me, especially studying in Ireland, because it’s a completely new culture for me.
Having attended international schools for several years, I’m comfortable with the vast cultural learning environment. Nonetheless, I thought I was ready to immerse myself in the UCD campus, so I was not expecting the culture shocks that I experienced during my time in Ireland. To my surprise, the ratio of international students in UCD Commerce is far less than expected, since the course has a large student body with many locals.
Moreover, as the only Malaysian representative in Commerce Stage 1, I was not used to being a “special minority” in university. Besides that, I also noticed that Irish are very shy and not “approachable”. However, once you get to know and talk to the Irish, they are a very friendly people. So, you have to take the initiative and make the first move and approach them!
Why study abroad?
Studying abroad can be exciting yet nerve-wracking at the same time! For me, it was my first time studying abroad and living away from my family and friends. I chose to step out of my comfort zone and travelled to a new country to pursue my degree here in Ireland. By sharing my academic and cultural experiences as an international student in Ireland, I would say that studying abroad in a foreign country is not easy.
Therefore, I would advise prospective students not to set high expectations before studying abroad, because life is very dynamic, and it won’t always end up the way you expected it to be. So just put down your thoughts and worries; go enjoy the experiences studying abroad which will serve as lifelong memories.
Aside from dealing with homesickness, you will get to learn so much more from studying abroad: from gaining first time experiences to witnessing self-growth with independence and great management skills, and most importantly, meeting friends from all around the world and building a second family away from home.
All in all, I would strongly encourage students to study abroad if given the opportunity, because you will never know about the hidden endless opportunities that could arise from the road not taken.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog.