Hello, I’m Najwa from Malaysia and I graduated from the Department of Language and Linguistic Science at the University of York in 2018. Here’s how I progressed from gaining a York degree to becoming Junior Officer at the Ministry of Higher Education in Malaysia.
While many of my friends wanted to go to London where everything is, I on the other hand, intentionally looked for a city where I would get the authentic UK study experience. That was when I came across York as an option.
York is also situated very strategically. It only takes two hours to get to London and two and a half hours to get to Edinburgh. It’s also close to other cities like Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester. It was perfect because I got to visit my friends in other parts of the country all the time.
Life in York
I kept my life at York active with student activities. I was the UoY Malaysian Society Vice President and later, President.
My favourite time of the year was the annual Global Week. The Cultural Night in particular was very memorable because we would rehearse months in advance to perform traditional Malaysian dances in front of the whole University.
The Malaysian group at York ended up being a very close-knit community and we depended on each other a lot. Even now when we’ve all finished our studies and returned to Malaysia, we still keep in touch with each other from time to time.
My three years at the University of York taught me so much about independence, working hard and time management. Being in various societies has also helped me to develop my leadership, communication, and organisational skills.
Now, I’m a Junior Officer at the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia. The best part about this job is that it enables me to shape the future of Higher Education (HE) in Malaysia through policymaking. I aspire to change Malaysia’s HE ecosystem by emulating the education I received in the UK. I would also love to explore collaboration initiatives between the University of York and our local universities so that I can bring more Malaysians to York.
This year, I received the Excellent Service Award from the Ministry after three years of service. This award is meaningful to me as it shows that the Ministry is acknowledging my effort and contribution to the organisation.
You will never forget York
To those who are already in York, make the best of your time there, make new friends, and don’t forget to explore new cultures. One thing I wish I knew before I graduated and one that I would always advise my juniors is to make use of the mentoring program at the University. It is important to build good rapport with your mentor so that later on when you want to apply for jobs or further your studies, they can provide a good reference for you.
If you’re still deciding on a university to study in the UK, I can guarantee that you will not regret it if you choose York. Even now, five years after graduating, I still miss York. I remember my first year back in Malaysia, I used to randomly be reminded of York at odd times like while in the tube or even when buying groceries. Like I’ve told all my friends, there’s something about York that just stays with you. This year in May, I had the opportunity to go back to York and I was so happy to just walk down the corridor in Vanbrugh College recollecting my memory there.