A semester overseas is often a transformational experience – with new places to see, new people to meet and new things to study. An European Union Erasmus+ grant helped this student to do just that.
Alyssa Auh Min Si with friends at MMU in the UK
Alyssa Auh Min Si recalls that she once heard a famous quote by Marcel Proust who said that “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. When she first heard this, she wasn’t exactly sure what it meant – but having now been on a semester exchange to Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in the UK as an EU funded Erasmus+ student, she now understands. “I remember that it was a sunny afternoon that a group of us left KL for Manchester” she said.
However, they all quickly discovered that the weather in the UK can be quite different to Malaysia. “On arriving, I still remember that my friends and I quickly took our jackets and scarfs to wrap around us as we were not used to the weather!”. They were met by volunteers from the MMU International Office, and she recalls “although we were tired from our long flight it was so nice to see someone with a positive attitude that early in the morning”.
Initially they all stayed for a week in a hostel, “Once we got into the rooms, we quickly made some new friends from all around the world. My roommates were from Italy, Hong Kong, America and Denmark. They were all so friendly, and it was nice to immediately be able to make friends from all around the world….. Although I only get to stay in that hostel for one week, but I was so grateful to make new friends from around the world straight away”.
MMU helped the students to find their own accommodation for the semester. “It was not easy to find accommodation as lot of owners only offer their home for at least 6-months and we were only there for about 4-months”. It took about a week to find the right, but as she said, “it was a great experience for me, as this was something I had to do on my own”. Alyssa is studying for a Bachelor in International Hospitality Management at Taylor’s University. At MMU she selected four modules which included Managing Hospitality People and Service.
She recalls that, “I found this subject particularly interesting as there were guest speakers coming in and speak about their working experiences in the hotel industry. I also had the opportunity to go on a field trip with the whole class to the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club”. Not only did she get to explore the city of Manchester, she also went to see other nearby cities such as Salford, Liverpool and Birmingham. As she said, “each city in England is quite different and has their unique feeling and culture”.
She also did some overseas travelling to some other European countries such as Spain and Portugal. “These countries were breath-taking in terms of their culture. I went to the city of Barcelona, Madrid and Seville in Spain. These places are amazing in their own ways - particularly as they are so full of life and activities during the evening. It was a great experience travelling around as I gained more knowledge about the culture of each country that I visited”.