Exchange abroad in Malaysia

Mathias Mortensen, an Architectural Technology and Construction Management student at ZIBAT in Næstved, talks about his experiences during the exchange semester at Taylor’s University in Malaysia.

Through my exchange semester in Malaysia I have experienced a lot in the five months I spent abroad.

The first thing that met me was the humidity and heat when leaving the airport’s cooler and more comfortable temperatures. Secondly, I experienced how accommodating and friendly the people in Malaysia where.
Through the semester I made a lot of new friends with both other exchange students but also students from Malaysia. With both exchange students and the Malaysian students I did different kinds of trips around Malaysia and especially the trips with the Malaysian students gave me a better look into the Malaysian culture, which I very much enjoyed.


Any learning outcomes achieved?
Throughout the semester I have gained some learning outcomes. Underneath some of the learning outcomes have been listed down from the different courses I had during my exchange semester.

Through construction technology I have been given basic knowledge about distinct types of foundations, formwork, scaffolding, portal frames and precast concrete which made me able to localize which types that were used on the construction sites that we visited during the semester.

Through structures I learned more about how the forces work within the structures and how to determine simple structures. All calculations and structural analysis was done in hand which I think leads to a better focus instead of always just using a computer where you don’t have to think as much.

Through management science I learned about the basic background theories, concepts and the principles of management. The classes have given me a better idea of the importance of management science if you are to start up a new business or just in general to be able to make an organization work and be able to make communication between people work so that barriers and misunderstandings can be minimized and/or maybe avoided.

Through estimating there was a natural focus on mang the students “compete” against each other both individual and in teams where we had to make the best quotations to win the in class “game”. Trough the intern games in class everyone becomes more eager to do a respectable job which made me learn more about the course.

Is Malaysia and Denmark so different?
The short answer would be a yes but underneath a few examples on differences is given.
One of the biggest – and maybe also most obvious – difference between Denmark and Malaysia on a general level is by far the climate as we in Denmark have four different seasons which all four is cold compared to the humid and hot climate that is found all year round in Malaysia.

In a school related context differences are found as well, where one of the biggest differences I experienced was that most of the teaching is done by using slideshows where the teachers either read the slides out loud and explains them or maybe told us which slides to read up on at home.
Another significant difference is that most of what you are taught in classes in Malaysia is something that you must memorize as all tests and exams is “closed books”. Whereas in Denmark it is almost always “open book” exams and tests.


Any gains for a Malaysian exchange student in Denmark?
Like there was a lot of gains for me by doing my exchange program there would also be some gains for a Malaysian exchange student by doing a semester in Denmark.
If a Malaysian student chose to come to Denmark and EASJ the student would of course be able learn a lot about the Danish culture and have the possibility to get to meet a lot of new people and make new friends like I did when I did my exchange program in Malaysia.

A Malaysian exchange student would also – through the Danish learning model – be able to become more independent by working with the Danish model which deals with problem based learning (PBL) and lets the students think more independently about the tasks given in class and that the student must relate to the information and have a more critical approach to information given and found.