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Top Malaysian Student in the UK [INTERVIEW]

Hanis Jasmy is a Malaysian student currently studying in SOAS. For someone so young she's very political and is already aware and conscious about global issues affecting the world.


She was also on the list of Top Malaysian students at Bellerby College and here she shares her experience, and how she got to the top of the academic world!


Hi Hanis! Please tell us a little bit about yourself so readers can get to know you.

Hanis Jasmy Harry Potter

"My name is Hanis Jasmy. I am 21 years old. I was born and raised in Malaysia and I am currently studying Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London."


Why were you attracted to that specific university and course?

Hanis Jasmy Politics

"My interest in politics developed during the Reformasi movement in Malaysia, which ignited after the controversial sacking of Anwar Ibrahim as Deputy PM in 1998. I recall being extremely young and intimidated by the mass demonstrations but also inspired by how passionate the protestors were. It was my first time witnessing hardship in my country, so it was an eye-opening experience."

"The reason I chose SOAS was because I wanted to study politics from a refreshing point of view. SOAS specializes in courses relating to Asia, Africa and the Middle East, hence, the topics I learn are extremely unique. I wanted to steer away from mainstream issues and learn about overshadowed, forgotten or poorly represented parts of the world. The courses in SOAS focus on exactly those parts, while also tackling issues that are well publicized. I knew that by choosing SOAS I would get an all-round education."


Studying abroad is definitely a wonderful experience, but have you studied locally before? How was that experience?

Hanis Jasmy Forest

"Yes, I spent over a year at Taylors University. My time there was short-lived due to a change of heart. My parents felt I would benefit more studying abroad, so I left Taylor's University after applying to do a foundation year at Bellerbys College in Brighton UK. I have many fond memories of my time at Taylor's University. I made a lot of good friends there, a couple of whom are my closest today."


What is the biggest difference you notice from studying in Malaysia and studying in the UK?

"I think the biggest difference would be the study environment here. I find that universities in the UK invest a lot of money in their institutions. With state-of-the-art facilities and extensive libraries, students are easily inspired to learn whenever they are on campus. For example, the library at SOAS houses more than a million resources relating to Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It is impossible to ignore all the amazing books available at the tip of my fingers. Even when I don’t have classes, I am drawn to reading a book about something I find interesting. It is like you are constantly learning without even realizing it."


Did you study elsewhere before SOAS?

Hanis Jasmy Brighton

"Prior to studying at SOAS, I did a foundation year at Bellerbys College in Brighton, where I studied Politics, Sociology, English and an IT course. It was a turning point in my life because it was my first time living on my own and far away from home."


Also, congratulations on being on the list for Top Malaysian students in the UK!


top student

(Full info here.)


(If the link is broken, you can try googling “Hanis Jasmy Bellerbys”, and it should come up.)


"I was actually not aware of the list until after I graduated from Bellerbys, so when I found out about it, I was really happy and flattered. I was very focused during my time at college. I attended all my classes, handed in all my assignments on time and made sure I did my best during exams. I had very good relationships with my tutors as well, so I was very comfortable asking for help whenever I wasn’t sure about a particular topic. I knew I needed good grades to get into a good university, so my life at Bellerbys was very much devoted towards that goal."


What personal qualities and beliefs enabled you to get on that prestigious list?

"My past failures. I did not want to repeat the mistakes I made as a student in the past. So I regarded my time at Bellerbys as an opportunity to redeem myself. I wanted to graduate college feeling accomplished, so I set goals for myself and worked daily to achieve them. I also received a lot of moral support from my parents. They visited often to make sure I wasn’t too homesick. They were very involved in my progress at college, so that motivated me to stay focused even more."


Was there a big difference you notice from studying outside of London and in London?

Hanis Air Baloon

"Yes. London is a global city, so it has everything you want or need right at your doorstep. You are spoilt for choice when you are in London. A lot of my favorite restaurants are here and my siblings are constantly begging me to buy them cool stuff. The convenience of living in London is unparalleled. However, studying in Brighton showed me that there are many hidden gems outside of London that are worth exploring."


What do you like about the university besides the academic side of it?

Hanis Jasmy Cave

"The environment is very easy-going. You are not confined to stringent rules when you are at university. In SOAS, you are allowed to dress as you please, have pink hair or eat during lectures. I think it is important that people do not feel dehumanized in life. When human beings are allowed to express their individuality freely, they are less likely to rebel. I believe this sort of basic freedom creates a harmonious environment for students. I believe this is why we often hear people say their university days were the best time of their lives!"


What have you learned so far from living and studying abroad?

Hanis Jasmy Water Sports

"I have learnt that education isn’t cheap but it is the best investment you can make for yourself. When you study abroad, the investment is bigger. So it is important to make the most out of your money – attend the lectures, ask questions during tutorials, and put a lot of effort in the assignments given."


Tell us a bit on how your course will help you in getting to your career path.

"I learn a lot of interesting things as a Politics undergrad. Some of the modules I’ve taken are 'International Politics', 'Government and Politics of the Middle East' and 'State, People, Power in Asia and Africa'. My modules make me aware of the issues that go on around the world, especially in places that do not receive enough attention. I wish to work with organizations that serve to either raise awareness, protect, or give assistance to countries or societies that require it most. I believe my knowledge of these countries or societies will greatly benefit me in my chosen career path."


What are your living conditions like?

"I live in a flat in London with my eldest sister. She goes to City University London and is reading Media studies and Sociology. Hi Yasmin!"


What do you do in your free-time to take a break from studying?

Hanis Jasmy

"My biggest guilty pleasure is trash TV, so I usually unwind by keeping up with the Kardashians! The courses I take are quite heavy so I try to balance things out by watching silly shows. Apart from that, I also try to keep in touch with those back home. Whenever I have time off, I just call, text or FaceTime my loved ones. However, during my longer breaks, I spend my allowance traveling. Living in London means just being hours away from some of the most beautiful places in the world, so it's difficult NOT to travel!"


Your 5 favourite things about studying and living in the UK?


1.       Travel opportunities

2.       Experiencing rich British culture.

3.       The efficient transport system.

4.       Being near Prince George (he’s such a cutie!)

5.       Learning to appreciate home more.


What do you hope to get by the end of your study there?

"I hope to get a job that I am happy with. I am very passionate about having a fulfilling and passionate career. Once I’m able to wake up feeling excited to go to work, I’ll move on to other aspects of my life."


What advice would you give to Malaysians who are planning to go and study in the UK?

"My advice would be to explore your options. Many students get tempted to study in London because it is a thriving city but there are many places within the UK that are just as exciting (such as Brighton!). Google is your friend. Do a lot of research before making a decision."


Anything you want to say to encourage students to study abroad?

Hanis Jasmy Stonehenge

"If you possess the means to study abroad at any point in your life, I think you should go for it. Spending a few years in a different country is an exciting experience, especially for a student. I guarantee you won’t go home empty handed!"


Good luck Hanis!


Check out below for useful links to kick-start your future!

Useful links:

Study in the UK

Scholarships for Malaysians to study in the UK

Study Politics in the UK

Search for a course

About Author

Tengku Wazir writes from time to time, and is very much into topics regarding international education. Besides that, he is a digital aficionado who is passionate about both fashion and technology.


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