A question for the international student

My recent experience of job hunting at a Malaysian career fair held in London taught me that, as a Malaysian studying abroad, there is one question I will almost inevitably get asked at job interviews. Some employers will be direct and ask “Why should we hire you instead of students who studied locally (in Malaysia)?” Some will phrase it differently as perhaps “What is the best thing about studying here?” Whatever way they put it, they are trying to figure out the same thing; what makes the overseas student different from the local student. Never mind the fact that the companies’ coming to London with the express intention of searching you out is implication that they do think there is a difference, one that warrants them spending a hefty amount on the trip here. This is time for you to show them your worth! Continue reading

The Malaysian Career Fair (or ramblings of a final year student)

As a final year student (a fourth year at that, I feel so old!), the topic of jobs is unavoidable.  Final year Malaysian students the UK over look forward to the Malaysian Career Fair, an event whereby Malaysian companies fly to London and Malaysian would-be graduates flock there to try their luck at securing a job offer. This is how it works. Pay close attention on Facebook. About 2 months before the event, you’ll start seeing posts from UKEC (United Kingdom and Eire Council of Malaysian Students) informing you of the date and venue. Sometime after, they will open the CV drive for you to submit your CVs. After this, you wait to hear from companies interested in offering you an interview. If you don’t receive any interview offers, don’t despair. Make your way to London anyway. Continue reading

Conversations with my Uber driver – an unexpected pep talk

Uber drivers, I’ve found – certainly the ones I’ve met in Sheffield – like to strike up a conversation. I usually travel by Uber in the early morning to catch an early train or on an evening return from a full day of travel. Both times I’m either still groggy or very tired. These conversations then have been to me like little pick-me-ups, reminding me to relax and take it easy, that it’s possible to have a good day. Continue reading

How to be more confident at giving presentations

First of all, I highly recommend going on YouTube and searching for “Your body language shapes who you are – Amy Cuddy”. Watch it, and perhaps your life will change like mine did.

As a teenager I was painfully shy. I didn’t like having to ask shop workers where things were, much preferring to tour the entirety of the shop than have to speak to a human being. I never haggled for better prices. And most of all, I hated having to present to the class. Fast forward a few years and numerous presentations given throughout my course at university, and I think I’m not too bad at it. I certainly feel much more confident standing in front of a class now. As with all things, it was a gradual change but I can pinpoint one key thing that was most probably the impetus and it was that video. Continue reading

Student cooking

There is a moment in life that I think every student agrees is one of the proudest moments of their lives. It is the moment that cements their passing into adulthood. The moment when they are certain that they have left their teenage days behind. It is that first meal they have cooked by themselves, all from scratch (plus points if it is a meal that mum used to make). Proudly, we will capture it in an image and show it to our mothers, or fathers, that they may see how capable we are. (Then our parents, from hundreds of miles away, having only seen a picture, proceeds to tell us we probably haven’t put in enough onions but nice try.) Continue reading

Living in Crookes

“Crookes? Where’s that?”

As a Malaysian student in Sheffield, I receive this question a lot when I tell my fellow Malaysians that I live in Crookes. Crookes may be a popular student area but among Malaysians it is pretty unknown. Most Malaysians choose to live in Broomhall where there is a strong Malaysian community and a shop nearby that stocks fair amounts of Malaysian products and even has a halal butchers. Continue reading

Knowing when you need to ask for help

One of the most important things I’ve learnt since coming to Sheffield, perhaps even THE most important thing, is knowing when to ask for help, and then actually asking.

In principle, it is simple.

You realise you don’t know something. You ask someone. They answer. And now you know.

But to someone who is not used to asking, this linear and straightforward process is a convoluted mess. Because sometimes even to come to the realisation that you don’t understand something, and identifying what that something is, is an entire complicated process on its own. Do you get me? Sometimes, you don’t even know what it is that you don’t know. Continue reading