COVID-19 radically changed tertiary education for students everywhere including Khazanah Global scholar, Faiz Yah’s — an engineering undergraduate at Shanghai’s Tongji University.
The university’s ranking and Shanghai’s infrastructural and technological prowess led to his choice.
Faiz who attended Chinese vernacular school found it easy to assimilate to life in Shanghai.
However, the abrupt shift to remote learning somewhat marred the experience.
Soon after, physical classes resumed but closed borders meant international students such as himself couldn’t return.
“I felt neglected by the lecturers…I had to manage my own timetable. I couldn’t interact with friends; I sometimes felt bored or sad” he shares.
Pre-pandemic, his study and social life was robust, including travelling in Indonesia with a student who was a local. He also qualified for a student exchange programme in Germany (which eventually took place virtually).
Even Yayasan Khazanah had to pivot says its Senior Manager, Azlina Jaffar. “Interviews were conducted online and application deadlines extended. Some needed financial assistance and others more time to complete their studies.”
Despite the challenges, Faiz — who won the Tongji President Award for Academic Excellence and Best Participant Award in Universiti Malaya Business Club’s Malaysian Business Student Summit — found that one semester abroad meaningful.
“In addition to funding, this scholarship also offers programmes to better myself. Meeting other scholars has opened my mind,” he says.
He also attended Osaka University, Japan’s two-month lecture programme and spoke at Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Youth International Talk on his experience coping with online learning.