Interview: A research internship at the Universiti Putra Malaysia

Max did a seven month internship at the Aerospace Department of the Universiti Putra Malaysia. This post will share lots of important information about how to organize such a research semester abroad.

In case you are interested in applying for this internship as well, Max offered to answer some more question. In this case please send me your details via this blog’s contact form and I will forward them to him.

What was the application process for this internship?

I got the internship by sending an unsolicited application to the Malaysian professor, whose details I received from my previous university institute in Dresden. Trying to get in touch via a contact person is usually more successful, especially with regard to unsolicited applications.

What types of accommodation are there? What can you recommend?

Student dormitory on campus: I wouldn’t recommend it as it’s not very clean, the chepest rooms don’t even have windows and the rules are quite strict (curfew, rules for visitors etc.).

Condos: Right opposite Serdang station is not only Mines Mall, but also a large condominium (if you don’t know what a condominium is, check out my previous post about accommodation in Singapore, which explains the different housing types). Rooms there are very nice, but also pricy. Nevertheless, for 1200RM++ you get a pretty good place to stay. Just be careful, when it comes to paying a deposit, as a friend of mine was cheated and did not get it returned after his stay.

During my time there I stayed at the German Malaysian Institute with my “wife”. On the positive side I was able to stay there for free, but unfortunately the location isn’t ideal, since it took me 1-1.5h one way to get to work. This also included a 3km walk every day.

Do you have any other important remarks regarding your internship?

Pros:

  • Usually working at a university is less stressful than corporate internships. In addition, it was great to work with a lot of international and young people at university.
  • I had lots of opportunities to work freely and independently on my projects.
  • Research in Malaysia was actually pretty good and the resources were also good.

Cons:

  • Getting the visa was a long, bureaucratic and costly process. I started the internship in August and it took until mid-december until I finally received my visa. I had to constantly follow up on this issue and in the end I paid about 700 ringgit for the visa and the medical check-ups (HIV, Hepatities, drugs, tuberculosis), which were required. However, eventually I received a 1 year student visa for Malaysia.
  • Depending on the team I worked with many Malays and in these cases communication in English was more complicated.
  • I didn’t receive any payment, however a small bonus could potentially be paid. To finance my stay I applied for “Auslandsbafög” (a financial assisstance scheme by the German government) as well as the DAAD Promos scholarship.
  • The university’s location is quite remote and transportation became a problem.

I would like to thank Max for sharing this intersting and helpful information with us!

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