Warning: Lots of words, no pictures ahead, might be boring to people who DO NOT like to travel, meet people and go for exchange programs.
Time and tide waits for no man.
I'm sure half of the people reading this has heard of this quote before and I cannot stress enough how true this is for everybody. It's crazy how fast time flew by, I remember clearly getting ready to embark on a new chapter in life, uni and then now here I am, I'm sitting in OldTown White Coffee in KLIA2 having 6 hours to kill waiting for my flight back home. I just came back from my pre-grad trip which pretty much means I'm graduating soon (Yay! and Thank you god for hearing my prayers) And yes, 3 years has past since I first stepped into UMS.
You know it's funny really that after you've passed through a certain stage of life only will you notice the silly things you did or did not do and trust me on this when I say, go for whatever you wanna do, cause you'll regret it more in the future if you don't. Anyways, during this awkward I'm-no-longer-a-university-student-but-I-kinda-still-am stage only have I noticed that there are tons of things I wish that I knew when I was a full time student.
1. Youth Opportunity
This crazy amazing website has tons of exchange programs, conferences, competitions, internships and scholarships for those who are interested. Go check the website out and if you're interested in any of the programs just apply, apply and apply away! No harm sending 5000 applications out. The best part? Some of the programs offered are fully funded. You're welcome.
2. Work and Travel Programs (aka Working Holiday)
A few companies that I've found that is absolutely legit is Speedwing and OOTB. Malaysia too provides visa to go for working holiday but I'm not sure how it works but you can always check it out on the immigration websites, for New Zealand click here and for Australia click here.
The thing about companies that offers work and travel programs is that you have to be a student. So I actually had some complications applying because by the time I applied, it was after my internship which is basically the last stage of my uni life and that supposedly means that I'm no longer an "active" student I quote from the staff who refused to give me the University verification letter. Thank god I've gotten one beforehand from my faculty just that the end of my uni days are not on the paper. So yes, I will be going on Work and Travel program this coming December under OOTB so stay tune to know more.
Tips: They usually have summer/winter programs so go during your semester breaks, don't waste those precious few months wasting your life away #justsaying
3. KBS Exchange Programs
Join NGOs to go for FULLY FUNDED exchange programs, unless you're a Sabahan like me then you probably have to fork out some money to fly to KL cause that's usually where they fly from, but hey! what is a few hundreds if you can completely go to another country for homestay program, learn their culture and pick up a little bit of their language, completely free of charge! #syukuralways
The NGO that I'm with, YMM Penampang Branch (Young Malaysian Movement) is under the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS- Kementerian Belia dan Sukan) and that's how I was selected to go for the Korea-Malaysia Exchange Program last August and my sister is going to board the SSEAYP (ship of South-East Asia Youth Program) a few days from now. But other than that, the NGO itself is affiliated with Japan and Thailand hence we, ourselves has exchange programs to these 2 countries. But of course you don't necessarily have to join my NGO, I'm sure there are tons of NGOs out there that has exchange programs but obviously you got to be in it to get it.
Fun Fact: All KBS Exchange Programs is only for youth below the age of 30.
4. Join some club, any club in your uni days
I'm not sure about other clubs but I was in the debate club during my second year of uni, see how I specifically wrote "second year" because unfortunately that was the only year I was active in debate. Why? Thesis, work and assignments literally drowned me in my third year PLUS the fact that I no longer live in hostel really did affect my attendance. But point is, my fellow debating homies were funded/subsidised to go to different states in Malaysia for competition and if you're good enough you may even go for international competitions which are held at different countries each year. Besides that, I'm pretty sure someone went to somewhere under Enactus (SIFE) which is another club and then there's AIESEC volunteering programs. Though I think for AIESEC, you have to pay your own tickets and since it's a "volunteering" program, you don't get paid for the program you've chosen however, accommodation and meals are probably provided. I heard these all depends on the program that is chosen BUT it is a safe way to get to the country you want to be in and interact with the locals there for a couple of weeks.
So these are a few ways to travel around without spending so much money because we're just students who really wants to go out but money may be a very big problem and even if you got that money problem solved, you're scared of going to places alone especially those that you've never been before so at least these are SAFE and LEGIT.
Lastly, to the people who have yet to graduate, have fun in your uni life and look into these things if you're interested. And to those who are going to graduate this year, CONGRATULATIONS and I'll see you guys (ME family 2012/2013) this coming November!