Miri – 9 October 2014 – The Department of Language Studies and Humanities at Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) recently organised a field trip to the Miri Petroleum Science Museum and Piasau Boat Club for students in its Intensive English Programme (IEP).
The trip proved quite an eye-opener for the 20 Malaysian and international students from Angola and China, it being the first trip to places of interest in Miri for many of them. They were accompanied by lecturer Tahiruddin Mian and associate lecturer Elizabeth Rachel Anak Tiwi.
The aim of the trip was to introduce them to local places of interest and give them an opportunity to practice their English language skills with English speakers within the community.
Staff of the Petroleum Science Museum took them on an hour-long tour of the museum, which they found most interesting. According to the students, they got to know a lot more about the petroleum industry, which has been a key source of Miri’s wealth since the early 1900s.
“We learned about the discovery of oil in Miri and how the petroleum industry here developed through the years. Our perceptions of the industry have definitely been broadened,” said student Ting Xiao Kee.
She related that, as a group of British expatriates were also touring the museum at the same time, the students took the opportunity to practice their English with them. She believes the students came away with a greater confidence conversing in English following the encounter.
While on the museum grounds, they also visited Malaysia’s first oil well, Well No. 1, also known affectionately as the Grand Old Lady of Miri, and took in the sights of the city centre from the museum’s vantage point atop Canada Hill.
At the Piasau Boat Club, meanwhile, the students had lunch and participated in games with their lecturers, including basketball and beach volleyball.
The students said the field trip was welcome relief after studying intensively for about seven weeks.
Meanwhile, Tahiruddin and Elizabeth were glad that students enjoyed themselves. They said the students not got to expand their knowledge and use their linguistic skills, but also had great fun in the process. According to them, the experience drove even the most reluctant students to open up and speak.
Curtin Sarawak’s Intensive English Programme is designed specially to improve students’ academic English language proficiency. It caters for potential tertiary education students who lack the English language entry requirements to enter a pre-university or undergraduate course at the university. The IEP consists of four levels (Pre, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and Advanced) and there are four intakes and terms a year. More information on the programme is available at socs.curtin.edu.my/language_humanity/IEP.htm.