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  • Writer's pictureNadi Bangi

UKM To Be The First To Collaborate With SIT

Updated: Mar 7, 2020

News By : Deena Yasmeen

Editor: Ravivarma Muniandy

BANGI, MARCH 7- Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) became the first university in the Southeast Asian region to collaborate with the School for International Training (SIT) to conduct an exchange program involving American students.

SIT is an American-based program which pioneers in experiential, field programs abroad, commonly collaborating with local universities in order to expose students to critical global issues that shape communities around the globe.

The collaboration between SIT and the Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) is the first program in the Southeast Asian region with the theme ‘International Relations and New Economics’ and focuses on global issues which are ‘Geopolitics & Power’ and ‘Development & Inequality’.

SIT’s Academic Dean for the Asia and the Pacific Programs, Dr Brian Hammer said that they are hoping the students would benefit from the learning experience.

“We were hoping to bring the students here (in Malaysia) to learn about those global issues from a Malaysian and Southeast Asian perspective.” To explore new frontiers, Dr Brian said that potential collaborations are part of future plans.

“In the future, we’re really hoping to build strong relationships with UKM. We could have potential research collaborations in the future (such as) publications, (and) work directly with UKM’s faculty and students to organize a kind of symposium in the future.”

Deputy Director of Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) Associate Professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib @ Khalid said that KITA shared the same aspirations, in terms of establishing a long-term collaboration.

“The start of the SIT program has been really positive, (in part) through good efforts from both sides. This will help KITA in terms of internationalization and future research (with SIT).” Dr Kartini said that KITA has the capabilities to handle this program despite being SIT’s pioneer program in the region.

“KITA has been working with other international programs over the years and we’ve been handling it quite professionally. We do not doubt our experience and capabilities.”

The program’s structure has managed to attract the SIT students.

One of the students, Robert Micajah McGehee from United States of America said that he joined this program because it seemed unique.

“I wanted to join this SIT program because it offered a unique academic and personal experience that no other study abroad program could offer. Academically, the program focuses on international relations and developing economies. Whereas personally, I get the opportunity to dive head first into a brand-new culture.”

Fellow student Antonia Ariel Smith from United States of America said that she wanted to return to Malaysia following her previous stay here.

“I wanted to join the SIT program because it was in Malaysia and I had been to Malaysia before during a high school exchange. It is extremely unusual to have programs like SIT in Malaysia and it was important for me to come back to change the narrative of my former experience which was semi traumatic.”

This program involves eight American students studying a semester in UKM which will end with their research and internship around the nation.

Lessons for the students will be embedded in the crafted modules, such as language training in Malay and Mandarin, Islamic Banking and Finance, Economics and Anthropology.

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