Monday, 21 September 2015

International Summer School 2015

 I am officially a Business Communication minor!

Have you ever dreamed about studying abroad in a relatively unconventional country?

The usual trends are Malaysians and Singaporeans studying in the United Kingdom, Chinese in the United States and Indians being tech support everywhere in the world and so on. But what if one day, we have an opportunity to break out of our comfort zones and go somewhere else? 

I spent a summer studying in Spain. But it wasn't an immediately easy decision to come to. 

I am currently in the medical profession. However, I have long felt the need to explore about my identity and my existence. I found that I have an interested in business and speaking. 

Most importantly, after travelling to Switzerland, Italy, China and Mongolia in 2015, I was looking for a cheaper alternative to travel in summer 2015. I wanted to be sponsored to travel. I considered making a travel blog as the source of my income beside my current scholarship allowance but I have my medical commitments. I would love to be a vacation tester but I have no experience or whatsoever. 

So one day it just struck me that, I may not be qualified enough as a travel advisor. But I would definitely stand a better chance on getting some academic scholarships.

I received this summer scholarship but I initially put going to Spain as a backup plan. I put a lot of hope and moved on to apply to some schools in Switzerland and UK where I was offered vacancies but without scholarship. 

As you read my blog, you would more and less know that I am working for financial independence. So since I received the scholarship and it is a country that I have never been to, WHY NOT? Let's get out of our comfort zones!

So there I was, in the University of A Coruna, Spain!

I have no idea about typing the n with a ~ on top.

Frankly, I dreaded a little before departing because:

1. I was so geared going to either UK or Switzerland. I was confident.

2. I was googling about the university. I couldn't find much.

3. I can't speak Spanish for nuts.

Turned out the 3-week academics I dreaded going for became the best decision I have made up in 2015.

I went to La Coruna, the capital of Galicia, Spain knowing nothing about it. So I was quite astonished when I arrived in the city simply because I didn't expect it to be so beautiful!

In the city, you can never be more than 200 meters away from the beaches Orzan and Riazor! Because they are both facing the Atlantic Ocean, the waves are big. I went surfing and looking into the waves is like watching tsunami pouring over me die die die. 

The beaches are usually just doorsteps away. Most Spanish spend their siesta from 2-6pm just sunbathing and playing beach tennis with their children here. I jealoouuussss.

La Coruna is a peculiar city because the Galicians seem to consider themselves as just Galicians. Some rather identity themselves as Portugese than Spanish. Either way, the city is cheap, peaceful and above all, has beautiful beaches and street arts!

I was the only Malaysian in the International Summer School in the University of Coruna, most probably the only one in the history too. I wouldn't be surprised if some of my classmates have never heard of Malaysia, this small country in Southeast Asia until the crash of our flight made it to international headlines in 2014.

I studied Organisational Leadership and Business Communication with Social Media while taking Spanish lessons in la Universidade da Coruna. My daily schedule looks somewhat like this:

9am-11am: Spanish course
11am-2pm: Leadership/ Business
2.30pm-3pm: Lunch
5pm-9pm: Going out with friends
9pm-10pm: Dinner
10pm-1am: Parteeeyyyyhh! *plays Pitbull*

My business classes focused mainly on how companies rise and fall with the use of social media. We investigated a remarkable case study on the Qantas Airline PR mistake.

Because Qantas Airlines and its unions couldn't come to an agreement, many passangers were stranded in many places without being able to fly home in 2011. Very soon, a ill-timed move with the hashtag #qantasluxury was campaigned on twitter, asking people to describe their "dream luxury in-flight experience" with Qantas to win premium pajamas and toiletry kits.

As soon as #qantasluxury was up, all the angry passangers went on frenzy.

Can't say I didn't get a good laugh haha.

I LOVE my leadership classes because Dr. Ana Aleksic, my lecturer from Croatia is gorgeous, sweet and humbly caring. The materials she gave were mostly self-help, which incredibly allowed our personal development.

One of her lessons that struck me the most is that however despite the damages he has done to the world, Adolf Hitler remains a great charismatic leader in history. This is important because while we instinctively know killing is immoral, Hitler was able to move an entire army, who obeyed thoroughly, to carry out a genocide against the Jewish. It keeps me wondering about how powerful one's speech can be, so moving that we leave our values and morals aside to die for such leader.

I have learned and gained many valuable experience and knowledge. But the most irreplaceable part of the summer school is the people.

We are from all around the globe! 

Ukraine, Brazil, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Spain, Lithuania, Holland, Morocco, Portugal etc.

We usually have classes together in the mornings. Then city tours together in the evenings and lots of drinkings at night. These are some things that we have done together:

We partied almost every night. Or at least hang out at somebody's room for crap emo talks and dirty games.

Due to our excessive drinking and noises, one night at 1am, a hostel guard appeared and started scolding us in Spanish crazily !@#$%^&* Even though we understood nothing, we had no choice but to be forcefully driven into the jungle to continue our games and drinking. It was freezing at 10 degrees that night. We heard barkings and crickets and all sorts of creepy animal sounds in the jungle. But for some reasons we all fell in love with the jungle and we even had a bonfire farewell at the same spot later that week.

It is amazing, how the things that we deemed casual at the moment, turned out to be our favourite memories in life. :)
I initially joined the business summer school to travel and also explore my future option of venturing out of the medical field. What I didn't foresee is to form such close bonds with my favourite people from all around the world. Getting to know them and understanding each other's culture was deeply intriguing and their laughters are something I would never get tired listening to.

We shared great memories.

The Brazilians introduced me to Paellurhus, a Brazilian cigarette which you can lit and unlit and keep for another day. The Dutch walked 1 mile and picked beautiful wild flowers for me in the middle of the forest. The Ukrainians are gorgeous and incredily humourous and happy to be around with. The Lithuanian understands all my girly concerns. The Kazakh is my Asian sister. The Georgians studied in 7 universities and worked in 4 cities. Both should hold some sort of crazy records haha.

Above all, we laughed at different things. Because we all laughed at different things, eventually we laughed together all the time. Sometimes it was just a usual bus ride or a casual meal in a bar. All the things they say, they never failed to make me laugh. :)

Let the photos speak my words.
Buying alcohols for the night parties.
Yuri the Brazilian has Italian ancestry and his nose is too big for the shades lololololol!
Asian sister in action.


There are 3 things I learned and gained in this summer school:

1. Spanish language. 
2. Business European Credits
3. How to club with latin musics.

This is something I wrote before leaving the summer school. 

To the best people I have met in the summer school,
From now onwards, we are leaving each other one by one. Most back to their home countries. That's the end of our academic period. But our journeys have only just begun. All the best in life. May you find love in everything you do.

While wishing them luck, ultimately, I rediscovered my ability to be genuinely happy for others, and for myself. 
Now you know you can study and travel for FREE! What are you waiting for?

P/s: Read the 25 Backpacking Travel Guidelines For Asians to see how I travel.

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