SarawakYES! recently spoke with officials from educational institutions across Sarawak to learn about what they have to offer, and to seek advice for students looking to further their studies and prepare for their career. Below is our first interview:
Q: Please introduce yourself.
A: My name is Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman. I am currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs and Alumni at UNIMAS.
Q: What type of courses does UNIMAS offer?
A: At UNIMAS, we have a Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts, we have a Faculty of Social Science, Faculty of Cognitive Science and Human Development, Faculty of Economics and Business, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Resource Science and Technology, Faculty of Computer Science and Technology, and last, but not least of course, the Faculty of Medicine. And one centre, the Centre for Language Studies.
Q: OK. What questions should potential students ask themselves before choosing a course?
A: Number one, they have to ask themselves what is it that they want to do? That’s very important.
Number two, is it a conducive learning environment? They should ask themselves, if I go to university, what do I expect from that university? Of course, people talk so much about academic excellence and whatnot, but along with that academic excellence, you also have to establish a good learning environment, a conducive environment. So you can find it at UNIMAS.
We are trying to establish a harmonious campus because we want our students to have a good learning environment. With a good learning environment they are able to focus on their studies. So, students should first ask whether that university is suitable for them or not. Number one.
Q: What kind of support – counselling, financial support – does UNIMAS offer in helping students to choose their major?
A: We actually organise activities. We organise promotions all over Sarawak and we also reach out through the Internet, through Facebook. We have many social media platforms – we have YouTube, we have Twitter, we have Facebook. So any time they need help from us, any advice, they can always write to us.
Q: How does UNIMAS prepare students to transition from finishing their studies to employment? How do you assist them in that transition?
A: We offer lots of soft skills activities ranging from entrepreneurial activities and programs like preparing them for job interviews. At the same time, we have club activities, we have cultural activities, sports activities. From time to time, we organise conferences for students and also we invite industrial players to come to the university and talk to our students, and at the same time to recruit them as well or to send them for an internship.
Q: To those who are not very sure about what they want to study, what kind of advice do you have for them?
A: I think number one, most importantly is for them to try as much as they can to match their results with the kind of program that they want to study. There’s no point in them applying for something that they cannot achieve. For example, if your qualification is so low, but you want to get into the engineering faculty … you will struggle. You have to look at your results first and then ask yourself whether or not you’re capable of getting into any discipline.
Another thing is perhaps to also get into areas that not many people like to do. From my humble experience, I advise even my own children …. I said “It doesn’t matter. If you really like to get into hospitality, that kind of program, even if you want to be chef, you can go ahead. But be a good chef.” It doesn’t matter whichever field you get into, but be the best.
Q: What’s the best thing about studying in Sarawak?
A: The best thing, number one, is the state’s very stable, politically stable.
Number two, the environment is perfect, the learning environment is good. Our campus happens to be one of the most conducive campuses in Malaysia.
Number three, we have friendly lecturers.
Number four, I think we are not a conventional university. We are a forward-looking and contemporary university. And for those who like to experience the feeling of what Malaysia is, this is the place because we have people from different walks of life, people from different backgrounds, studying together in one university.