Oxford - The Destination For Academically Outstanding Malaysians
By Hazlinda Hamzah
OXFORD (Bernama) -- Who does not know Oxford University? The university is among the United Kingdom's best and world renowned universities, which is also a reputed educational institution in the world.
Among Oxford University's competitors are Cambridge in the United Kingdom, Harvard, Yale and Princeton as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.
Academically outstanding Malaysians have also gone to Oxford, which is a 90-minute drive from London, for further studies in master's and doctorate (PhD) programmes.
Recently, this writer had the opportunity to visit Oxford University and interact with Malaysians studying there. Many of them were sponsored by the Public Service Department (JPA), Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara), Khazanah Nasional Berhad, and the Tunku Abdul Rahman Foundation.
To date, there are more than 15,000 Malaysian students in the United Kingdom, including some 5,000 students sponsored by various government agencies.
Danial Abdul Rahman, who is pursuing Master's in Law in Oxford University, feels he is fortunate to be able to study at the prestigious institution, sponsored by the Tunku Abdul Rahman Foundation.
Danial arrived in Oxford last year.
"All the knowledge books are written by scholars here. There are so many intellectuals here, making the environment conducive for students.
"The community here focuses its full attention on academics," said Danial, based on his observation.
Danial said even high school teachers here have master's degrees.
"That is something good because when the local community is educated, then its thinking is more open. I am happy to be doing my master's programme in Oxford, after four years of pursuing a bachelor's degree in my homeland," added Danial.
Mohd Firdaus Abdul Wahab is in Oxford, pursuing a PhD in biophysics.
At Oxford, Mohd Firdaus met a group of 20 students from the International Islamic University Malaysia (UIAM), which was on a two-week visit.
"Anybody who craves for knowledge, is aware of its importance and is willing to work hard to gain knowledge should be in Oxford.
"That is why we should be focussed on the objective of being here (Oxford) as not many are given this golden opportunity," Mohd Firdaus told the UIAM students.
Mohd Firdaus, who is sponsored by JPA, under the King's scholarship programme, is here after completing his master's in Japan. He plans to return to Malaysia by early 2015.
He called upon Malaysian students to contribute to their homeland in any form, no matter how small the contribution is.
"Do whatever we know and implement it excellently," he said.
Mohd Eliayes Hamzah, graduated from UIAM with a bachelor's degree, and he is now pursuing a master's degree in architecture at Oxford.
Mohd Eliayes is studying 'new architecture', which looks into the advancement of conventional architecture.
He said British buildings, including those in Oxford, have historical values as they have long existed in England's towns and cities.
"The study of new architecture interested me as I wanted to bring home the knowledge to be practised in Malaysia," said Mohd Eliayes, who has been in Oxford for six months.
He wants to bring the knowledge on building affordable homes back to Malaysia.
This young graduate belongs to a group of dynamic individuals that is capable of helping Malaysia transform into a developed nation.
"I am indebted to the Malaysian government for giving me the opportunity to pursue further studies in Oxford," he added.