Chanelle participated in the Malaysia Work-Study Program in 2019. She spent six weeks studying and working in a culture very different to her own. Read about her experience!
Why did you choose your program and destination?
I chose Malaysia to work abroad because it was not initially somewhere I ever envisioned myself traveling to. It was my opportunity to take advantage of a new country and culture I otherwise would have missed out on!
What was the most memorable experience of your time abroad?
My most memorable experiences came from the field trips on the weekends. We got the opportunity to travel around Malaysia and see even more of what it had to offer. This included the Batu Caves, hanging out with monkeys, exploring beautiful beaches, and exploring temples. We even had the opportunity to travel to Singapore for a weekend where we laid on rooftop pools and bungee jumped off a tower!
Were there any challenges? How did you overcome or cope with them?
There were a lot of challenges when going to Malaysia I had not experienced before. When I have travelled before it has been for a short vacation.
Staying in a country for 6 weeks pushes you to completely immerse yourself into what it is like to live there.
This included figuring out how to get to work, figuring out what to eat and where to get it, quickly learning the cultural norms to fit in, and adapting to how business operates to do your job well. Talking to your peers and learning from your fellow colleges helped me adapt and learn how to live in Malaysia, you need to ask a lot of questions!
Has this education abroad experience helped you personally, academically or professionally?
My experience abroad has helped me personally as I have a lot more appreciation for differences in cultures and different ways of doing things in the business world. It also has pushed me to keep wanting to explore more cultures and different parts of the world. Professionally, the experience has been very beneficial. I am very adaptable to new working conditions and changes. It also has been a talking point at many of my job interviews post university!
What was your experience like when you returned home?
After getting my fair share of Tim's and ketchup chips, I was able to reflect a lot on my trip. When I returned home I experienced a lot of reverse culture shock. It made me realize how different everyday life is and how differently we do things. I am able to question a lot of our norms that I previously did not realize were so different from others.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
If I could do it all over again I would stay longer! There is so much undiscovered and so many more people to meet!
Would you recommend trying an education abroad program to other students?
I would recommend trying an education abroad program. You will learn so much more about yourself and your surroundings than you ever will sitting in a class. It has helped me so much with getting job interviews and offers!
My advice would be to start researching where you want to go and sign up!