KUCHING – Instead of just reading about the multicultural society of Sarawak, a group of global liberal arts students and accompanying staff from Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS), Japan had the opportunity to experience the city of Kuching and its surrounding wonders first-hand through Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus’ international biodiversity and culture immersion programme.
Dr Ling Chui Ching, Executive and Professional Course Director of Swinburne Sarawak’s Faculty of Business, Design and Arts, said the university’s various international immersion programmes encourage international students to strive for greatness and enriching academic experiences that go beyond the standard classrooms.
Over an eight-day stay in Kuching in July this year, the students from KUIS learned about Sarawak’s culture by visiting cultural sites within and outside the city.
During their time in Kuching, the students attended art workshops and biodiversity seminars conducted by industry experts and a renowned book author. They also visited popular locations such as Sama Jaya Nature Reserve, Borneo Cultures Museum, Kuching Old Bazaar and Sarawak Cultural Village.
At each site, the students were briefed by experienced speakers and they were actively involved in interactive discussions. The students also indulged in authentic Malaysian cuisine, particularly indigenous food.
Shiga Nasumi, a first-year student, said her favourite part of the programme was the art workshops. She said she enjoyed learning how to paint batik and draw Dayak motifs from the artists.
When sharing her thoughts on the programme, student Goto Sakino said, “Through the programme, I came to know the government agency that strives to conserve Totally Protected Areas in Sarawak and the important role of nature. I also learned more about cultural diversity. Learning about the interaction between people and the tropical rainforest in Sarawak as well as visiting Sarawak Cultural Village were the most useful and valuable aspects of the programme. This experience allowed me to visit the longhouses of different indigenous tribes and examine the sustainability of biodiversity with my own eyes.”
In addition to gaining knowledge on the biodiversity and culture of Sarawak, the study tour allowed the KUIS students to interact with Swinburne Sarawak students via student panel discussions and study experience sharing sessions.
Being interested in environmental issues, Sakamoto Kotone – one of the student panellists from KUIS – said the panel discussion gave her the opportunity to voice her opinions and also listen to Swinburne Sarawak student panellists’ views.
Nemoto Takakuni, Assistant Chief of Global Engagement and Partnership Division at KUIS, also took part in the programme and remarked that it had a good balance of seminars and outdoor learning activities. He said it included all aspects that the students wanted to learn and the speakers were very informative and passionate. He also appreciated the warm hospitality and kind support of Swinburne Sarawak.
For more information on Swinburne Sarawak, visit its website (www.swinburne.edu.my), Facebook page (@swinburnesarawak), Instagram (@swinburnesarawak), Twitter page (@Swinburne_Swk) or YouTube channel (Swinburne Sarawak).