Student-life in Kuala Lumpur – meet Maugan

Studying and living abroad is a unique experience for everyone. We believe that each and everyone of these experience matters. That’s why we’re very excited to share this interview with Maugan Stourm with you!

Portrait of man sitting at bow of a boat, rock formations and clear skies in background
Maugan Stourm, French exchange student studying in Kuala Lumpur. CC BY

Please introduce yourself, what’s your name and where are you from?

Hello, my name is Maugan Stourm, I’m from Brest, France and I’m 20 years old. I’m a student at ISEN Brest, an engineering school and I study, can you guess what? Every science linked to engineering, but that’s not all. I also study economics, management, self-development and many other subjects. Because of this, the name of my program is “CENT” which literally means “Economic Digital and Technologies Cycle”.

In France, I used to play basketball (to my knowledge there’s no basketball team here which makes me sad). I’m a guy who likes sports, loves music, particularly French and US hip-hop. I’m also interested in Manga (One Piece is the best Manga ever). Besides that, I’d say that I love having fun, hanging out, partying and so on!

Flag of Malaysia flying, cloudy skies in background
Malaysia is a booming country, maybe the most intercultural country in Asia. Photo by mkjr_CC BY

Where are you now? What are you studying?

I’m currently in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, studying at University Putra Malaysia at the Faculty of Economics and Management. I’m taking 4 courses which are Principles of Management, Organizational Behavior, Consumer Behavior and Human Resource Management. My semester barely started but so far, the courses are interesting, the consumer behavior in particular! The course is based on interactions with the professor. I’ll study these courses for 5 months.

Tell us why you went to Kuala Lumpur for your semester abroad?

At first, I think the main reason was the weather, the landscape and so on… But when I started doing my research I found out that Malaysia is a booming country, maybe the most intercultural country of Asia. I also made my choice to come here because it’s cheap and it gives me the ability to travel around South-East Asia.

I’d like to add the fact that UPM is a highly-ranked university in Asia and Kuala Lumpur is a huge city with so many different activities to do. There were so many reasons for me to go to Kuala Lumpur, which made the decision easy.

You might also be interested in: Kuala Lumpur – Attractions You Definitely need to Explore 

What’s the best thing about it?

So among these reasons, I think the best is really the combination of good courses, cheap life which can lead to a lot of travel that can show you the diversity of Asia.

Busy intersection cars and train going every direction
The daily commute can be an adventure in itself. Photo by Deva DarshanCC BY

Can you describe the difference in a normal day at the University in Kuala Lumpur and home?

The biggest difference between my home university and UPM is the time spent in classes and lectures. In France I’ve got around 35h of class and here it’s only 12h for 4 courses. Also, in France I’m used to small classes, like 20-25 students, but here I’m in classes with around 60! Except in Consumer Behavior where there’s about 25 students. Another thing is that Malay students tend to participate more than in France, it’s quite nice because it makes the courses more living.

Getting to the university is quite a journey too, me and my roommates, who are French as well, rented a house at BluConstellation, it’s about 15 minutes from our faculty, so we go by Grab (local Uber/taxi).

Temple or shrine standing in square people in front, trees in back
Embrace the amazing culture in Malaysia! Photo by Hazwan HishimCC BY

Did you experience any cultural clashes?

I don’t know if I’d call it a cultural clash, but still. When I arrived in Kuala Lumpur, the first week was quite hard. I was in a bad mood and felt a lot of bad emotions. It was probably due to all the changes around me, but it only lasted a week. I knew it was quite normal to feel this way.

I believe the way to counter these kinds of feelings is to hang out with friends, and just not stay at home by yourself. Because you’re your own worst enemy. So if you do some activities, meet people and so on, everything will be fine!

view of ocean and islands from high up. two cable cars going across the sky
Find amazing views and hidden spots! Photo by Jesse VermeulenCC BY

So far, what’s your favorite memory from this journey?

My favorite memory is a combination of the people I met, particularly my roommates (s/o Laurine, Hugo, Natacha), and a 4-day trip to Langkawi (a group of islands in the northwest of Malaysia) where we went with 10 other guys. We visited this beautiful island and saw amazing landscapes.

How do you think this experience will affect you?

I think this experience will allow me to be much more aware of my own and other peoples emotions, also to be more open towards people’s feelings and opinions. I’m saying this because when you’re living with people you don’t know, meet people from other countries with different cultures interests and so on. You have to adapt and be open, to make yourself understood and to understand others.

I’ll also be more independent, living away from home and your family for 5 months will make you grow up. Finally, I think I’ll have a better understanding of the world, with new perspectives and new knowledge about foreign cultures.

skyscrapers rising up into the sky
Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur is so diverse that there’s something for everyone. Photo by Alex BlockCC BY

Would you recommend Universiti Putra Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur to other students?

Absolutely, yes! Malaysia is so diverse that you’ll find happiness somewhere here! UPM is also among the best universities in Asia, so on top of getting a really good education, you’ll also get a great chance to explore the continent of Asia if you haven’t done it yet.

Now that you’ve been here for a while, do you have any words of wisdom for students at home who’s curious about studies abroad?

I would tell my personal story. When I found out I was going to study a semester abroad, I was pretty excited! I always dreamt of doing that. But, I was also worried. I kept Asking myself if it’d go well if I’d find good courses, how I’d manage to live in a different country and so on.

Everyone kept telling me how studying abroad would be one of the best experiences in my life. I kept wondering if that’d be true. Could it live up to the expectations? What would reality be like?

The fact is, it’s all true! I never experienced anything like it, discovering new things every day is absolutely incredible!

So for those of you who’re curious about studies abroad, stop asking yourselves if you should go or not, start searching for a destination!

Find out more about studying in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This interview was made by our marketing intern Jonas! 

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