STUDYING abroad is usually the “luxury item” that most students, even those whose families can’t afford it, would add to their wishlist.
This is because they know the foreign experience is one of the best ways to boost employment opportunities, gain knowledge and learn independence.
It also hones communication skills and provides an opportunity for self-development while taking in the allure and culture of a foreign land.
For twenty-five year-old Thashwini Rajandran, studying abroad was a chance to propel herself further in life.
The first class honours Plant Biology graduate from Universiti Sains Malaysia Penang was among 17 lucky Malaysians who were selected to be the pioneer batch of scholars to be granted full scholarships to study in Hungary, courtesy of the Hungarian Government under its Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme.
Hungarian Ambassador to Malaysia Attila Kali in February inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in higher education with then higher education minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Hungarian government would offer 40 scholarships annually for three years starting from the 2018 academic year for programmes such as agriculture, water engineering, architecture, cultural heritage studies, natural science, environmental science and health sciences.
Describing the agreement as a “mutually beneficial long-term investment”, Kali said it would strengthen bilateral relations between both countries during the scholars’ briefing session that was recently held at the Hungarian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Thashwini, who will pursue her Masters in Horticultural Engineering in Szent István University, said the scholarship was a “rare and awesome” opportunity.
“Getting this scholarship helped ease the financial burden for my policeman father and housewife mother,” said the grateful lass.
The Seremban native hoped that her time there would expose her to the culture as well as various crops uncommon in Malaysia.
“There is a totally different plant diversity in Hungary. I expect to learn how crops are managed as well as to familiarise myself with the various plants,” said Thashwini who urged fellow Malaysians to apply for the scholarship next January.
Twenty-three year-old Nurain Mohammad Aminullah shared Thashwini’s sentiment.
The Perak native who completed her Foundation in Science at Lincoln University College last year has started pursuing a Bachelor of Physiotherapy in University of Debrecen.
“I couldn’t wait to start at my new university,” said Nurain who is the eldest of four children from a single parent family.
“I chose Hungary partly because of the scholarship, but also because of its highly recognised degrees and established universities,” said Nurain who intends to pick up the Hungarian language.
Fellow scholarship recipient Mohamad Syafiq Abdul Razak, 26, from Universiti Putra Malaysia said he too, would like to “go local” during his time in Hungary.
The high-achiever who was proud to be among the pioneer batch of Malaysian students under the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme, is taking his Master’s degree in Plant Pathology at Pannonia University.
“Prior to the scholarship, I had no idea how much Hungary’s education system had to offer. I chose to study here because the university offers the course that I am passionate about.
“I hope that more Malaysian students would get a chance to come to Hungary to study,” said the enthusiastic student who would be working a part-time job while working on his dissertation.
Meanwhile, Kali encouraged more Malaysians to apply for the Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme.
“The next window of opportunity would be on January 2019. This is a generous and comprehensive package – inclusive of tuition fees, medical insurance and accommodation – offered by the Hungarian government,” he said, adding that the embassy is always ready to offer support to successful applicants.
“Our universities have good centres of innovation and creation. Many large international companies are located in Hungary bringing research and development to the country,” he said, adding that more than 28,000 students worldwide had applied to study in Hungary for the 2018/2019 academic year.
At the briefing session, the Education Ministry’s International Relations division undersecretary Imran Abdullah – who was involved in negotiations of the MoU – said scholarship recipients should utilise their time wisely and enjoy student life there.
For more information on studying in Hungary, check out www.studyinhungary.hu.