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One of the most unforgettable memories of University of Southampton Malaysia (UoSM) in Johor for Syed Emir Al Jamalulail is the approachable lecturers who helped students comprehend their studies instead of spoon-feeding them with information. Currently working at Gamuda as a plant manager, Syed Emir, who graduated in 2017, said although it took him some time to get used to such an approach, he soon realised that it was to empower him with skills that would benefit him in his career.

“We are so used to being fed information instead of doing our own research. But in UoSM, the lecturers do not do that, they will guide us diligently through the entire research process. This builds us up to better comprehend the subject, and to be more independent and responsible,” he said.

Under UoSM’s unique 2+2 engineering programme, Syed Emir spent two years in the Malaysian campus before heading to the United Kingdom to finish the two remaining years. Syed Emir said the experience he gained as a student of UoSM was valuable as he not only gained academic knowledge but also interpersonal and communications skills.

“Skills such as working together as a team and the opportunity to lead in certain group assignments have helped me tremendously at my workplace,” he said when met at UoSM’s Open Day.

UoSM’s Chief Executive Officer Prof Rebecca Taylor said one of the unique selling points of the university was that the modules were project-based, giving students hands-on experience to apply the theoretical knowledge they learnt. She said through these projects, students are able to pick up transferable skills such as communications skills, teamwork and leadership qualities which could help shape their career path.

“There is also an immense amount of networking with professionals and the industry itself, and this prepares them for the real working world once they graduate. Our classes are small, there is a very low student-to-staff ratio which ensures all their needs are looked into and each student gets the attention needed,” she said.

Taylor said while the campus was looking at increasing the number of students, quality rather than quantity would be emphasised. UoSM is the only foreign branch campus in Malaysia to offer engineering programmes that follow a 2+2 model. Unlike a twinning programme, the engineering programmes offered by UoSM are housed under one institution, so students graduate with a certificate from the UK, and not Malaysia. Exams are also taken simultaneously for students both in the UK and in Malaysia despite the time difference.

Chong Xian Li from Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, joined UoSM only six months ago but has clearly fallen in love with the campus. The Mechanical Engineering student said he did not regret his decision as it had been pleasant since his first day on campus.

“UoSM has definitely exceeded my expectations. It is not the typical university I had in mind. It has been a very enlightening journey in the past one semester here and I look forward to learning and growing both personally and as a student,” Chong said.

The 20-year-old added that he was impressed with the university’s flying faculty, where experienced lecturers specialising in niche subjects were flown in from the UK to teach local students in Johor for three to four weeks.

Two recent graduates of the University of Southampton Malaysia proudly stand in front of a monumental building of the campus in the UK.

“There is so much to learn from them, not just academically but also the world of engineering. The engagement with them is just priceless,” said Chong.

Prof Taylor added that with the 2+2 model, fees are approximately 40% less compared to spending all four years in the UK.

“With this model, students enjoy savings and receive the same education as if they are in the UK. They can also experience their last two years in the UK. It will not be a culture shock for them because of their exposure in the Malaysian campus and the engagement with lecturers from the UK via the flying faculty,” said Prof Taylor.

Based on the Guardian University Guide 2020, the University of Southampton is ranked sixth in the UK for Electrical and Electronic Engineering and fourth in the UK for Mechanical Engineering. Meanwhile, the Complete University Guide 2020 places the university sixth in the UK for Aeronautics and Astronautics. On a worldwide scale, the University is ranked 97th in the QS World University Rankings 2020.

The University’s September intake is now open for its undergraduate programmes in Electrical Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics and Mechanical Engineering. For more information on the programmes, deadlines, scholarships and more visit www.southampton.edu.my or call 07 560 2560.

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