Miri – 14 March 2013 – With hundreds of new students beginning their university career, the campus of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) was abuzz with its ‘O-Week’ student orientation activities recently. Over 390 new students enrolled for its latest March (Semester 1) undergraduate intake.
The bi-annual ‘O-Week’, which is compulsory for all new students, kick-starts each semester and combines faculty and course specific advice for new students, as well as information on the university’s social offerings. A separate ‘International Prep Day’ and ‘O-Week’ for 267 pre-university (foundation and diploma) students commencing classes on 25 March will be held on 18 March and 19 to 22 March respectively.
Further enriching the unique international and cross-cultural learning experience at Curtin Sarawak are 30 new international students from China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Fiji, Seychelles, Pakistan, Nigeria, Oman, Kenya, Tanzania, Iran, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and the United Kingdom.
The international students also attended a one-day ‘International Prep Day’ programme prior to the ‘O-Week’, which helped them get acquainted with their new environment in Miri and included briefings on local norms and customs; immigration, health and insurance requirements; support services for international students, as well as a city tour.
‘O-Week’ is coordinated by the University Life Department of the university and facilitated by student volunteers known as SOARs (Student Orientation, Advisory and Registration).
University Life Manager Haslina Malek said the aim of ‘O-Week’ is to ensure students are able to handle any future obstacles that may cause them to drop out of university. Curtin Sarawak runs an intensive orientation programme because university studies have shown that students who attend orientation are more likely to complete their studies.
“We know it can be challenging for new students to adapt to university life and provide a very systematic approach to help them adjust. Through various activities and workshops, we familiarise them with the university’s administrative processes and help them adjust, socially and academically, as quickly as possible,” she added.
According to Haslina, the University Life Department plays a significant role in helping new students manage the challenges of university life and providing current students the opportunity for self-growth in the areas of entrepreneurship, leadership and professional development.
“In order for them to optimise their time at Curtin Sarawak and enjoy a meaningful university life, we encourage new students to do three things – ensure you get connected in your first year and seize the opportunity to participate academically and socially; link yourself to the community, be of service and contribute towards a larger cause; and stretch your potential, be enterprising and gain valuable skills that will prepare you to excel as a Curtin graduate,” said Haslina.
In addition to registration and the distribution of orientation kits, a welcoming speech by Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Kerr and the screening of a video of Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jeanette Hacket welcoming them to the university, ‘O-Week’ involved presentations by various student support areas; briefings on the attainment of Curtin’s graduate attributes, the various courses at the university and lab safety: as well as games and a campus tour.
Finance and Marketing student Razmi Saharuddin, 23, from Kuala Lumpur said he felt very welcome at the orientation because the facilitators were helpful and supportive, while his course mate, Gregory Chin Wen Hao, 20, from Kota Kinabalu commented that Miri is a nice city well suited to tertiary studies.
Meanwhile, enrolment for the pre-university programmes is still open. Curtin Sarawak has been preparing students for undergraduate study successfully since its establishment in 1999 through its Foundation Studies – Commerce and Arts Stream and Foundation Studies – Engineering and Science Stream programmes.
Curtin Sarawak also offers diploma programmes in Business, Instrumentation and Control Engineering, Process Plant Technology, and Occupational Health and Safety in collaboration with the Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE (GippsTAFE) in Australia.