Malaysia meets Surrey!

Keeping up with the lives of two Malaysian students currently studying at Surrey

48 hours in Paris!

Last weekend, I took an impromptu trip to Paris, France for literally only two days. Let me tell you straight, it was too short of a trip.

It was the weekend after the first semester results, and alhamdulillah I did pretty good despite the struggles of building a new life here in the UK. Anyways, I wanted to celebrate and what better way than going to the city of love (alone, um okay haha).

I took an EasyJet flight to Charles de Gaulle Airport as the prices were still cheap for a return ticket. I checked the prices in Spring and it spiked almost double gosh! Anyways, it was an early flight and I arrived in Paris, checked in at an ibis hotel in Porte Doree by 12pm and headed straight for the Eiffel Tower. I’ve been there before when I was young but I was too young and couldn’t remember it. It was sooooo pretty and the sun was out so it felt almost like Spring without all the crowd that comes with it.

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I visited some of the other famous places like the Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre, Notre Dame, and a few others. It was a tiring day of metro travelling, walking, and being in awe of beautiful architecture and art. The last point of visit for Saturday was Laduree of course. Some cakes and tea to end the day <3

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Sunday-

SUNDAY WAS DISNEYLAND DAY AND IT WAS ABSOLUTE MAGIC.

 

I mean, I really don’t have to say more on this. I went to Disneyland and ran around like a child the whole day. Not one bit of me got embarrassed with the stares haha. It brought out the child in me again and I felt like there was no care in the world! Words can’t describe what an amazing day I had there. The best part was definitely the Disney light show at the end of the night. I almost cried really.

 

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I don’t know how big children are these days but me being Asian-sized was able to fit into this Belle gown.

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So there you have it, 48 hours in the city of love. Paris was beautiful and I would definitely go there again sometime in my life. If you wanna see the city from where I saw it, I vlogged the trip here: www.youtube.com/imanezyd

Totally worth it! (except bring Maggi cause food there is so expensive tbh)

 

Till next time,

Iman Ezidy

Windy Throwback to the Sun

One culture tip I would like to share: the weather.
I swear it was like about 10 degree Celcius 3 days ago and then it all started from yesterday when the temperature turn straight down. What is even worse is that Doris the storm is hitting us today, while the sun shines bright. Yes, your OOTD would be sunglasses, with wind-proof jacket and and wool blanket scarf wrapping your body around. For me, I go full out today with Uniqlo products. Uniqlo heatech base layer, Uniqlo cashmere wool sweater and  lightweight jacket. Brace the wind with Uniqlo! (I assure you I don’t liaise with Uniqlo! they probably should have paid me some advertisement or promoter fee? Hahaha!)

Because it is Thursday today, let’s make it a throwback thursday post. Just a week ago, I was still at the lovely Penang, enjoying the mild damp sea breeze and not-so-scorching-hot-sun, chillax with my family and friends, eating kuih ka pek, peanuts and all those chinese new years cookie. And more important than that, getting angpaus from parents and relatives.

Well reading week is supposingly meant for us to prepare for new semester, so when I booked the flight back to Malaysia, I kinda told myself that I will study while at home. It turned out it was a lie! To myself! Haha! Nothing is more important in front of festive food cravings.


Foodies ALERT! Advice: Don’t read the following in late evening. Below are a few dishes that I had during Chinese New Year.

Reunion Dinner Feast

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Regular Cravings

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There are actually 2 other things that highlight this short stay.
1. Mummy’s birthday

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2. My friend’s wedding

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It has been 3 years I haven’t got the chance to celebrate both CNY and mum’s birthday. As a student in UK, you just don’t have holidays for CNY. Being a master student make me lucky enough to have a week off just for my family.

Also for my beloved friend as well. I was there to witness her proposal in June, so I would not like to miss her wedding day. This is my first wedding that I attend on my own, as a friend. It got all emotional during the ROM. Now this crazy girl is stepping into another stage of life, becoming a crazy big girl. So proud of her!

What I have gained over this reading week?
– Moments with family
– Memories with friends
– Angpaus
– MOST UNAVOIDABLY >>>>> WEIGHT!

Workout plan has already been started! But looking at my heavy workload in this coming semester, I might be taking out my redundant fat quite soon. :S

p/s: Fun fact about one of the day of CNY : Lichun 立春
I had my first attempt of making an egg stand by itself in my life! and, I succeeded!!!!
(after infinite ugly postures including squating like my ah ma and also lying on the floor)

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Alrighty, enough throwback! Till next time I shall be back in Malaysia and I shall update you more about the life over here in the next post!

Economics at Surrey!

Hey there 🙂

So, the last few days have been quite stressful (for me at least!) as our first semester results were being released on the 23rd Feb (TODAY!!). I logged into the university server about an hour ago and am happy + relieved with my results 😀 It’s definitely given me the much-needed boast to get through the final lap now. I’ve got my first class test in two weeks’ time and definitely want to ace it.

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This brings me to today’s blog post: Economics at Surrey! As most of you know, I’m currently in my final year of BSc Economics and Finance at Surrey University. Surrey University offers several Economics undergraduate programmes in:

  • Economics BSc (Hons)
  • Economics and Finance BSc (Hons)
  • Economics and Mathematics BSc (Hons)
  • Business Economics BSc (Hons)
  • Politics and Economics BSc (Hons)

All courses have the option of 3 or 4 years, whereby 4 years includes a professional training year (PTY). To read more about my PTY experience, click here.

The university also offers Economics Masters programmes in:

  • MSc Business Economics and Finance
  • MSc Economics
  • MSc Economics and Finance
  • MSc Economics for Public Policy
  • MSc Energy Economics and Policy
  • MSc Health Economics
  • MSc International Economics, Finance and Development

Fun fact: Students with an undergraduate degree from Surrey University may be eligible for a 10% discount on our taught Masters programme fees.

The university also offers postgraduate research with a PhD in Economics.

First and foremost, the School of Economics at Surrey University is part of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and has been gaining recognition and steadily moving upwards on league tables. Currently, the School of Economics is ranked 5th in the 2016 National Student Survey and ranked 11th in the Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017. This is one of the main reasons which drew my attention towards Surrey University way back in 2012 when I was applying through UCAS. The University’s amazing track-record for professional training year was another huge reason for choosing to study at Surrey. As everyone knows, it’s getting tougher each year to obtain graduate jobs after leaving university. I felt that completing a PTY would provide me with an added advantage especially as employers do appreciate graduates with professional working experience.

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The School of Economics offers its students the opportunity to spend the second year of their undergraduate programme at one of our four partner universities abroad. It was something that I seriously considered and sometimes wish I had taken this amazing opportunity. I have friends who spent their second year at the University of Hong Kong as well as the Singapore Management University: they both had amazing stories to share about their experience studying abroad. It should be noted however that the grades obtained from the second year abroad do not contribute towards your degree qualification. Usually, the second year has a weightage of 35% whilst the remaining weightage comes from the final year. In the case of a year abroad, the entire weightage of 100% would be taken from only your final year of the Economics programme.

As an international student, we are subjected to overseas tuition fees. For Economics programmes, the current fees for 2017 entry is £16000 for both the 3 and 4 year courses. Whilst on placement, we are still considered Surrey University students and hence are subjected to fees. However, it’s only £1800. The School of Economics does reward students for its outstanding achievements in both Undergraduate and Postgraduate studies. The prizes are as follows:

Undergraduate Prizes

  • The Duncan Bloomfield Memorial Prize awarded to the first-year student with the best performance in the Principles of Macroeconomics and Principles of Microeconomics modules: a prize of £500
  • The Ishiv Chopla Memorial Prize awarded to the best overall student in Economics: a prize of £500
  • Best overall student in Business Economics: a prize of £500
  • Best overall student in Economics and Finance: a prize of £500
  • Best overall student in Economics and Mathematics: a prize of £500

Postgraduate Prizes

  • Ting Memorial Prize awarded for best performing MSc student: a prize of £500
  • Faculty Prize for best dissertation: a prize of £500

All students in the School of Economics are assigned a personal tutor during their duration of study. Students are requested to have a meeting with their respective personal tutor once every semester. It is a chance for students to discuss their academic development and progress with an Economics professor. I have found this very helpful throughout my years at Surrey as my personal tutor has been part of my support system. She has provided advice in terms of the PTY application process, keeping in touch with in progress throughout as well as provided guidance when selecting my optional module choices for final year. This was very insightful because being a lecturer within the School of Economics allows my personal tutor to provide tailored advice.

In terms of the Economics programme structure, all programmes operate on a 15 credit modular structure over two semesters: meaning getting a grade of at least 40% (which is a pass) earns 15 credits. Year 1 and 2 at the School of Economics comprises of eight compulsory modules per year taught over two semesters. These modules aim to provide a strong foundation for students before embarking on either on a PTY or continuing to Year 3. I must admit that the freedom of selecting our own modules in Year 3 has been quite stressful. It makes me feel like I’m in charge of my studies and the grades I obtain which can be quite daunting. But after surviving of the first semester of final year, I am glad that we have the option of selecting modules apart for 1 compulsory module per semester. I took a wide range of modules in the previous semester which included essays, something I had not done since A-Level Economics. It’s has been very beneficial because by this point, I have some idea as to where my career is possibly headed as well as which modules I would like to get in-depth knowledge in.

For the Economics programmes, students have the option to complete an Economics Project during their final year at University. It’s an opportunity for students to use the knowledge and tools gained throughout the first two years and produce a piece of work that they would be proud of. Employers also appreciate graduates who have completed an Economics Project as it shows students who have gone the extra mile in terms of their degree.

Side note: In May 2016, the University agreed that we should pilot the use of a GPA for all new level 4 (first year) entrants in 2016-17. To read more about the introduction of Grade Point Average at Surrey University, click here.

In terms of assessments, it takes place through a combination of examinations, coursework and projects. The coursework is usually comprised of class tests held during the semester amounting to 30% and the remainder of the marks is obtained in the final examination at the end of the semester. Some modules are exceptions however such as the Economic Data Analysis in Year 1 which is comprised of 100% coursework and the Energy Economics module in Year 3 which includes a 5000-word essay worth 50% of the module.

Students can be elected to become course reps within the Economics department. It’s an opportunity to gain new skills and develop existing skills such as effective communication, negotiation, organisation and much more. Course reps are the middle people between students and the department and play an important role as the feedback they provide is used to make positive changes within courses and improves overall student experience.

I have loved being part of the School of Economics and feel that my development and progress has always been prioritised. Throughout my years here and especially now in my final year, my lecturers have been more than happy to provide support and guidance whenever particular lecture material was unclear. Lecturers hold office hours during term time which is time dedicated to students who can drop-in with questions regarding module material, assessments and examinations. I’ve spent a fair amount of time every week visiting lecturers during their office hours and never once have I been turned away even if it’s taken longer than the usual 15 minutes’ time slot. Lecturers usually also hold revision lectures at the end of each semester before the examinations.

Anyways, that’s all for now 🙂 Feel free to comment on the post below, drop us an email at Malaysia@surrey.ac.uk or send us a message at our Facebook page!

Till next time: selamat tinggal x

A Wild Heart : Part 2

Sorry guys it has been long! As I went back to Malaysia for a well-deserved Chinese New Year break! (That will be in the blog soon, so stay tuned!) SO, here we are back to the Scotland trip Part 2 that I left off last time, which is after Isle of Skye!

I was suppose to stop at Loch Ness but then, well, plans changed. I need to be back to Edinburgh because of a debate competition.  Since I was one day earlier to my friend’s arrival, I spent the day exploring the vibrant city.

Here comes the tips! There are free tours! Free tours!
Free city tour starts at 10am, 11am and  2pm.
Free ghost tour at 6pm and 7pm.

The essential part is, they are truly free. You can tip based on the service delivered and the amount you have in your wallet, after the tour ends. People normally tip a lot because they really did a great job but don’t feel pressured!

To some of you who might question: why should you go with a tour? 
Answer: the history and folklores are those that create the beaut. There are lots of magnificent architecture you can see in all around the world, but the stories behind it are unique and can never be duplicated by other destination.

I shall tell you some fun facts about Edinburgh, but the essence part, I would like you to explore yourself when you visit the city. I have planned to revisit it in summer, when the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is on. It is the world’s largest art festival! Feel free to click on the link and know more about it!

Fun Facts:

  1. National animal of Scotland: Unicornquestion-face
    Yes, no doubt. <<< That is my facial expression when I was told.
    Reason: Because England’s national animal is Lion and Lion is afraid of Unicorn.Of course that is not true!!! It meant for innocence and purity, healing powers, joy and even life itself, and was also seen as a symbol of masculinity and power. The ‘afraid’ thing is just a joke among the Scottish, told by the tour guide.
  2. Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire service in 1703.
  3. J.K.Rowling used to go to the Nicolson`s café during a hard period of her life and she started to write the first book about Harry Potter exactly there. Now there is a restaurant on that place called «Spoon»
  4. And Lord Voldemort got his name of Tom Riddle from a famous cemetery there, near the cafe.
  5. Greyfrairs Bobby is buried at the cemetery as well.  (Check out Bobby’s story here, somehow similar to Hachi of Japan)
  6. If you spot a heart shapes mosaic on the high street please don’t sit on it for selfie or wefie or whatever -fie. It is the Heart of Midlothian and people spit on it as it marks its doorway: the point of public execution.

These are some of the interesting stories you will heard from the free tour. There are more stories gonna be told and the guide is very engaging, with lot sense of humour, along with heavy Scottish accent. If I have to rate it, I will give him 10/10 for the whole tour!

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Debating was done on the second day, which was quite a mix of serious mental argument and the touch of friendship while understanding each other stances. This impromptu trip was more than I could learn and could have expected. A wild heart with an emotional touch, perhaps is the best travel company.

 

 

 

Running Around Stoke Park

Hey guys!

I know I know, I’m sorry. I’ve been inconsistent with the blogging lately but I promise I’m trying to get it together again!

The thing is, I went back to Malaysia for 2 weeks and although I had such an amazing time back home, it honestly kinda feels good to be be back. I guess Guildford’s become home for me too…

 

Anyways, this week is the week that I’ve finally felt broke. Like, literally 15 pounds je tinggal (and sebab baru je makan Thai food for dinner so actually legit tinggal 4 pound je). Duit MARA tak masuk until the start of March so I’m gonna have to stretch it for another two weeks!

 

Why am I telling you this? Well, if you follow me on any social media platform you would know that I’m the type of person who doesn’t know how to sit still. I could go mad if I just stayed in my room for more than a day. So I had to get creative with this weeks adventure.

 

Fortunately, a friend of mine suggested going to Stoke Park. It wasn’t far by foot (around 20 minutes kalau jalan matsalleh, probably 45 minutes kalau jalan Malaysia haha) but it was such a great change in scenery.

The field there was massive that I just had to run around and do a cartwheel! We went around Maghrib time and it was beautiful, LOOK!

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Oh and the flowers are starting to bloom too!

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I’d definitely suggest this place if you want to feel like you’re somewhere totally different outside of Guildford without actually having to travel so far away.

Talk to you guys next week!

 

 

Much love,

Iman

Reading week in Prague! :D

Apa khabar? 🙂

I’m thrilled that it’s finally Friday as it’s been a looongg week: what with second semester now in full swing and the fact that this is my final semester before being released into the real world. My friend posted a picture (below) which sums up my feelings exactly.  I’m also super excited because I’ll be going to Playzone Portsmouth tonight! It’s the biggest, brightest indoor adventure play area and Friday nights are adult only entry. The university is organising this trip which includes return coach to Portsmouth + entry tickets: all for just £18! Definitely going to be a great night ahead 😀

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coiknnvweaagq6z playzone-2 play2

Back to today’s post for now though! Today’s post is about my trip to Prague, Czech Republic during the Reading week just gone. As mentioned in a previous post about tips for planning a student break, I booked the flights and accommodation about 3 weeks before the trip which amounted to £50 for return flights with SmartWings (Czech airline) and £35 per person for 4 nights with AirBnb accommodation. Something I probably should have done when booking the trip was to check the weather forecast. Imagine my surprise when the weekend before the flight (we flew out on Monday), I find out that its -6 degrees Celcius and snowing!

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This revelation didn’t dampen my holiday mood though especially as the flights included 15kgs of free luggage.  I packed my warmest, fluffiest clothing and we set off on Monday afternoon from Gatwick airport. Another great thing about Surrey University is it’s great location: it took us only 40 minutes on a direct train from Guildford station to the entrance of Gatwick airport for a price of £7.90 return. The flight itself took roughly an hour and a half and before we knew it, we had landed in Prague 🙂

One thing I’ve noticed from the many European countries I have travelled to is that public transportation is cheap, reliable and very easy to understand. It took us no time to get a city and transportation map (for free I might add :p) and make our way to the AirBnB we had rented for the following 4 nights. Our host, Aron was very friendly and presented us with Czech beers as welcoming drinks. The stay also included free breakfast which was appreciated. Once settled, it was dinner time and with some suggestion from our host, we set off to a local Czech restaurant. As I am always very keen to enjoy the country’s local cuisine, I had pork stuffed with blue cheese in a traditional sauce and a Czech beer. It was delicious and the beer cost less than a pound after converting from Czech Koruna was an added bonus!

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Our first full day was spent visiting the Old Town, Prague Zoo and the Lego Museum.  We purchased a PragueCard each, which basically includes free and reduced entry to lots of attractions as well as free transportation for the duration of the card. This included free entry to the Old Town Hall Tower which included spectacular views 😀 As previously mentioned, it was snowing during most of our time in Prague. It gave the city a very magical Harry Potter Hogswarts-like feel. Everything was covered in snow and just so very pretty!

We also waited with cameras at the ready in front of the Old Town Hall to enjoy The Prague Astronomical Clock, which at exactly on the hour every hour, mesmerizes with its procession of Apostles, moving statues and visualization of time like no other instrument in the world! After a hearty lunch of pork dumplings, we set off to Prague Zoo. This too was included in the PragueCard which meant free entry :p It was a bit disappointing as the cold weather had many of the animals hidden in the warmth, away from general viewing. Nevertheless, we did enjoy being outdoors as the zoo is enormous. As there weren’t many people around, we even had a spirited snowball fight!

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As it’s currently the winter months, many attractions shut by 4-5pm. We decided to make the most of our day and headed to the Lego Museum which is supposedly the largest of its kind in Europe. It was quite fun actually. I especially enjoyed seeing all the different figurines from many famous movies such as Harry Potter, Pirates of the Carribean and Stars Wars, just to name a few. The Lego figurines looked so much like the movie characters. We ended our first full day with a lovely meal where I had Czech onion soup and pork knuckles together with yet another pint of beer :p

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On our second day, we visited Petrin Hill, used the free 2 hour bus tour which was included in our PragueCard as well as visited the local library. Petrin is a hill in the centre of Prague. We took our time walking up the hill, enjoying the views along the way. Once there, we went up the Petrin Tower as well as the Mirror Maze. Times like this is when the child inside me really comes out J After, we decided to take the Funicular, a is cable railway which moves up and down a steep slope, back down. Feeling a bit tired, we decided to use the free 2 hour bus tour after lunch. To our surprise, part of the tour included being dropped off by the Strahov Monastery where we were lucky enough to watch the changing of the guards. The tour was also a great way to see all the different tourist spots Prague has to offer in case we had missed any. After the tour, we popped into a local café (mostly for some warmth). I had a hot chocolate and it definitely was one of the best I’ve ever had, not surprising as the café was named Cocoa. We then ventured towards the Municipal library and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere before going in search of dinner. We went across the famous Charles Bridge. The walk along the bridge was breath-taking as we were able to enjoy the view of Prague at night.

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On our last full day, we went to Prague castle and the Narodni Museum. Prague castle is a definite must-go! You can easily spend 3-4 hours there admiring the beautiful surroundings. We attended a mid-day Classical concert held within the castle which was so exciting! We then ventured into the castle’s surroundings, visiting the famous St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basicila, Golden Lane as well as the Old Royal Palace. By far, the most amazing views of the city were from Prague Castle. We then popped into a local pub to enjoy (more!) Czech beer as well as a Chimney cake, known as Kurtoskalacs. I must admit that I was slightly obsessed with the Chimney cake and may have had 1-2 a day: that’s just how delicious they were!

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We then visited the Narodni Museum, where we enjoyed exhibitions such as Retro, which was all about life before the 2000s in terms of clothing and technology to name a few. There was even an interactive section whereby we could use typewriters which was super cool! As it was our last evening in the city, we decided to spend the evening just walking around the many beautiful streets and really just taking in the local vibes.

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We flew back the next day and arrived at Gatwick Airport around 3pm. I absolutely loved my time in Prague and didn’t even mind that it was below freezing temperatures. I definitely would want to go back during Spring/Summer time as I’m sure the sights of the city would have a very different yet equally beautiful views 🙂

That’s all for now!

Till next time: Selamat tinggal x

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