Sunday August 19, 2012
‘Freshers’ intro to Cambridge
By JEANNETTE GOON
GOING abroad for the first time in one’s life may be a harrowing task, what with the packing, visa applications and settling into university life.
But first year Malaysian students, also known as “freshers”, who are about to embark to Cambridge University in the United Kingdom can breathe a sigh of relief this year.
The Cambridge University Malaysia Society (CUMaS) is holding its first “freshers” camp which will provide first year students with the vital information to get through their years on campus, as well as give them an opportunity to get to know one another.
“We normally have a Freshers Banquet but we found that there was not enough contact time there. During the term, we don’t have much time to get to know each other because we’re so busy,” said society president Jasper Koid Sian Lunn, who will be starting his second year engineering degree in September.
The society’s publicity officer Tan Jiann Meng explained that the camp would be held over two days in early September before the students leave for the UK.
“We have not confirmed the activities yet but there will be team building exercises as well as information sessions,” he said.
Jasper added that they would be producing a “freshers” booklet that will include information on what to pack for the UK, how to survive life on campus and where to get all the good food.
Besides organising activities and providing support for Malaysian students at Cambridge University, the society aims to address the lack of information that the public has on getting into Cambridge.
“Not many students apply to the university because of two main problems — lack of opportunity and lack of information. We may not be able to address the first issue but we can help with the second,” said Jasper. He explained that students interested in applying to the university can find out about procedures on the CUMaS website.
“Studying at Cambridge University is intense. It really forces you to think for yourself,” said Jiann Meng who is pursuing a degree in Mathematics.
Jasper explained that this was why the university only offered places to bright students. “They want to ensure that you will be able to cope,” he said. In his first week as an engineering student, Jasper and his coursemates were given a “Lego project” where they had to build and programme machines that were made out of Lego. “One team even made an automated coin box,” he shared.
While Jiann Meng was from a private school and Jasper from a Chinese independent school, they had Malaysian university mates from a wide variety of schooling backgrounds. “We also had people who came here after their STPM,” said Jasper.
However, both boys agreed that having a good command of the English language made it easier for university assimilation. “To get into any university in the UK, you have to meet the minimum requirement for English,” said Jiann Meng. For more information on the camp, visit
www.cumas.org or e-mail