A NEW schooling system, new culture and new friends. School is one big holiday for three young Malaysians who won study trips from the British Council recently.
Joining students of the same age from Britain and 31 other countries, they are studying, playing and living in prestigious British boarding schools for four weeks.
The three, who creatively expressed their desire to study in British boarding schools, beat 160 other applicants for awards under the Independent Schools Council Scholarship Scheme organised by the British Council in April.
Atiqah Nadiah Zailani of SMK Seri Bintang Utara, Chew Ming-Y of Methodist Girls School in Penang and Joel Jallong Ose Murang of Lodge School in Kuching left early this month for their stint.
Their full scholarships cover return airfares, tuition fees and living expenses, such as accommodation, meals and uniform.
The nationwide hunt for three young talented students was conducted in April this year. Sixteen-year-old students were invited to log on to the Internet and write a description on why they want to study in a UK boarding school via a live chat session.
Their creative writing skills were further tested when they were asked to write brief descriptions about their perceptions of the UK and how they thought their schools differed from UK boarding schools. Entries were judged based on creativity, content, writing skills and proficiency in the English language.
Said the British Council's director, Dr Tom Craig-Cameron, the panel of judges were impressed with the level of maturity of the entries, as many students showed keen insight in the UK as well as a strong grasp of the English language, enabling them to write clearly and concisely.
“As this was also the first time we had a competition via the Internet, we were very pleased with the response.
“It gave us an indication that many students have access to the Internet. Our decision to conduct an Internet-based competition is in line with the Government's call to bridge the digital divide and encourage more students to embrace the information technology age,” he added.
He said the competition presented a unique opportunity to young Malaysians to experience a different schooling system, lifestyle and culture. “It's an exciting way to begin the summer term, as these young students will be part of an exciting project to share their linguistic, academic, sporting and cultural skills with students around the world while in the UK.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for young students to gain valuable exposure at an age where they are still developing and able to absorb the international culture offered by the UK as well as what is uniquely British,” he added.
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