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University: Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences
Degree: Bachelor of Engineering, Energy and Environmental Technology
School: German-Malaysian Institute, Selangor, Malaysia
Cambridge International AS Level: German
Cambridge International A Levels: Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
Future plans?: To work in a highly regarded energy company in Germany before returning to Malaysia
How did you choose your Cambridge International subjects?
I was very interested in studying engineering at university, specifically energy engineering, and the best subjects to support my ambition were maths, physics and chemistry. I also studied for a Cambridge International AS Level in German as I wanted to continue my academic studies in Germany - which was why I attended the German-Malaysian Institute in Selangor. I wanted to improve my German language skills through a formal exam as I had decided to study in German at university.
Tell us more about your degree, and your decision to move to Düsseldorf
When considering German universities I first had to decide between a University of Applied Sciences, which emphasises practical skills, or a Universität, where study is more theoretical. Eventually I decided on Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences as it offered the ideal degree course, a Bachelor of Engineering in Energy and Environmental Technology which I thought would lead to great career opportunities. I was also very keen to study in a big city such as Düsseldorf as it would give me more opportunities to meet people, which I consider a very important part of the student experience.
Were your Cambridge qualifications an advantage when applying to university?
Yes they were. I first had to obtain a Vorprüfungsdokumentation, a process students must go through when applying to universities in Germany, when your documents are verified and you are given a score - from 1 to 4 - on the German grading scale. With my Cambridge International A Level results (three A* grades) I obtained the highest possible German grade (a ‘1’) which meant I could apply to almost every top university in Germany.
How did your Cambridge qualifications prepare you for university study?
I’m currently in my second semester (of a seven semester course) and I’m finding that many topics were covered in my Cambridge International A-Level studies. This has given me a strong foundation for my university courses and has also helped lighten my academic load, which is important given that I am now studying in German instead of English. My Cambridge qualifications also provided a good balance of the practical and theoretical, which has helped my understanding of certain topics.
What is it like to live and study in Germany?
For me, life in Germany is very exciting. An everyday challenge for international students is having to communicate and study in a foreign language, and although this is tiring it’s also very rewarding. It continuously pushes you out of your comfort zone, and boosts your confidence, socially, and your resilience. I feel that Germany is very safe and welcoming for international students, especially if you make the effort to use the language. One aspect I’ve had to get used to is German bureaucracy. Any administrative process, especially for foreigners, requires a lot of time and patience, but overall I would recommend Germany as a study destination for international students.
You are now involved in DEGIS - the German Association for International Students - how did DEGIS help you when you first arrived?
DEGIS allowed me to meet other international students and learn about living and studying in Germany. I now volunteer for DEGIS, which is also an opportunity to improve my social and leadership skills, both of which are very valuable to future employers. I would very much recommend DEGIS to international students looking to study in Germany.
What next after university?
My plan is to gain a few years’ work experience with a well-known German energy company, such as Uniper or Siemens, before returning to my home country of Malaysia. I would like to apply my skills in the fields of energy and environmental technology, especially to encourage greater use of renewable energy, both in urban areas and as a way to modernise the countryside.
Would you recommend Cambridge qualifications to other students considering studying at university?
Yes, absolutely. I believe Cambridge qualifications give students a head start in their tertiary studies as they provide a strong foundation for any topic. Cambridge courses are also longer than some other pre-university studies in Malaysia, which gives a student more time to consider and reflect on their ideal degree course.
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