Jumaat, 23 Disember 2011

tulisan 60 : missing Graz...

Assalamualaikum and hi!

Guess what.

Out of nowhere while I was searching for some old emails regarding my flight tickets during internship for claim, I found an attached article in one of my sent mails. This article was made during my days in Graz, Austria in 2009.

Two years had gone by. And yeah I really miss the life there. With all the great people I've met and great places I've seen. Wish I can go there again sooon.

Anyhow, I just want to share my old writing here. I remembered posting it in my old blog which was sadly closed due to my inability to maintain my interest to write. Haha. Well, This writing was meant to encourage UTP juniors to participate in the Student Exchange Program (SEP) where during my time there were only three outgoing students. Alhamdulillah currently there are over ten exchange students and the number keeps increasing every semester.

So, ladies and gentlemen, below is my 2009 self talking on his 5 months experience in Graz, Austria.



Assalamualaikum and hi dear readers,

                I am Mohammad Zakuan bin Ahmad, a Mechanical Engineering student in the batch of January 2007 intake. The purpose of this article is to share my own knowledge and experiences as an exchange student of Petronas University of Technology (UTP) and hope to encourage more and more UTP students to participate in this program. I was selected through an interview done by UTP and PETRONAS personnel for this Student Exchange Program (SEP). I didn’t really have many choices back then since there were only two options to choose for the SEP which were USA and Austria. And I chose Austria because it is in Europe – a continent consisting lots of unique cultures and lifestyles. I was very lucky to be selected to begin with. At the age of 19, it was a dream come true to be able to grab this chance and go to Austria – a not so well-known country for Malaysians I supposed, and to go there alone was something else. Even some of my friends still think I was in Australia which was really funny since both the distances are awfully different. I was second to go there after Shalini, my senior colleague.

~After playing badminton with Indonesians~

                The objective of the SEP is to give opportunity for students to study abroad as well as gaining as much experiences possible in wholly different cultures. The university where I was sent is called Graz University of Technology (TUGraz). It is located in the city of Graz – the second largest in Austria after Vienna, and can be pretty much considered as a student city because most of the people there are students and there are six universities including TUGraz. It does not have a single campus but situated on three sites in Graz. I went there for the 2009/2010 winter semester which started on 1st October 2009 and ended on 31st January 2010. The Austrians use German language which of course I have no idea what they were talking about until my last day there. But it is not a problem at all since most of them can speak English and it was a great platform for me to improve my English. I certainly had no choice but English there since there was no Malaysian in Graz during my stay. For your information, in Europe, student exchange program is called ERASMUS and it is very old compared to our SEP. I had met lots and lots of students from around the world there. My closest friends are from Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Turkey, South Korea, Indonesia, Spain, France and many more. Since I was the only Malaysian student in TUGraz, there was once in a gathering when an unknown student greets me and told me that he knew about me. He said that he heard about me as the ‘one and only’ Malaysian in Graz. I also managed to meet Leo, a former Austrian exchange student in UTP last semester. I’ve never seen him in UTP though but he is surely a great guy.

~in Vienna with my exchange colleagues~

From my personal opinion, Austrian people are really friendly and nice. When I first arrived at the Graz Airport, a girl who was supposed to pick me up , kissed me on the cheek as a warmly welcome to Graz. Of course I was speechless. It is their norm to shake hands and kiss on your cheeks or maybe a hug to greet you. Every time I met people outside my hostel, they will always greet me although we didn’t know each other. Most frequent words I’ve heard there were “Kus Got!!”-hallo, ”Danke!!”-thanking, and “Bitte!!”-welcome. These words sound very comforting and you can hear it everywhere. It was really easy to adapt in Graz because everyone helps you. I also signed up for a mentor/buddy system where I have my own mentor group there to help me. It was really a great idea and it did help me during my stay. We played poker, sightseeing and hanging out together. I managed to travel to Budapest, capital of Hungary for a one day trip and Vienna, capital of Austria for a couple of days with my fellow exchange mates. During the Christmas and New Year holidays, I went to Dublin, Ireland to visit my cousin who lives and works there with his family. Then, I went back to Graz to complete my courses and finally back to Malaysia on 5th of February 2010.My greatest frustration there was not been able to join the formula SAE team of TUGraz due to winter semester. They couldn’t progress much because of the weather. I really wish I was in the summer semester. The TUGraz team is considered one of the world best student formula SAE team and the former world champion. Hopefully the next exchange student can grab this opportunity and learn as much as possible in this team and bring back useful knowledge for our own UTP Formula SAE team because as one of the oldest technology university, TUGraz surely have the advanced knowledge and ability that we can learn from.
~TUGraz formula SAE achievements and cars~

Well, that is the end of my journey in Graz. I was really grateful to PETRONAS and UTP for giving me such wonderful experience. This past five months had taught me a lot and really changes my perspective on people. The age difference is not a problem at all in communicating. I was in a class with people at the age of 37 but I feel as if we’re in the same age. I also learned to be more independent since I came there all alone. I’ve met and make lots of friends from all over the world. I managed to learn some basic Germans too. So, again , thank you Petronas and UTP and ‘viel gluck!!’-good luck to those future exchange students. Perhaps there will be more and more choices of countries in the future.

~in Dublin with my relatives~

Regards,Mohd.Zakuan bin Ahmad – UTP Mechanical Engineering – 10791 


That's it. Its all copy paste from the original article. Kinda boooring to read though but it does remind me of the good old days I had in Graz. Thank you Zakuan 2009!! =)

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