Making international friends at summer camp
Five students from Horizon Campus in Sri Lanka travelled to Malaysia for a 10-day summer camp in July.
The students - Duvindi Illankoon, Jayani Jeerasinghe, Binuri Ranasinghe, Sivajeevan Sarvanathan and Anushan Kapilan, along with Dr Ruwan Perera, Dean of the International Programmes - visited Kuala Lumpur and Crescendo International College in Johor. Four students from Crescendo had visited Sri Lanka for a ten day period earlier in the summer.
The summer camp was funded through the University of London International Programmes Global Network Development Grant initiative. The purpose of the grants is to support teaching institutions to work collaboratively to develop and deliver projects that strengthen both the individual institution and the global network of institutions as a whole.
This is the second year in a row that Horizon and Crescendo have held the summer camp. In 2013, eight LLB students took part in the programme. This year, all the students participating are studying BSc degrees directed by the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Dr Ruwan Perera said the exchange programme had proved a valuable experience for all involved: “This scheme has not only benefited those students that participated but has also contributed to the development of the institution [Horizon Campus] itself. There are plans to build on this experience and offer similar experiences in future years.
“Apart from the experience that the students received in meeting students from other international institutions, they also got the opportunity of being a part of a research project which encapsulates the subject matter they have dealt with, within the past year of their academic life.
“Added to the academic and social benefits that the students would receive from this venture, is the fact that the entire cost of travel and accommodation in Malaysia was borne through the funds awarded to Horizon Campus via the Global Network Development Grant.”
Two students, Duvindi Illankoon and Anushan Kapilan, share their experiences:
“There were plenty of things we thought we’d do in Malaysia, and getting lost in a room barely the size of our bedrooms was not one of these things. Although that’s exactly what we found ourselves doing on a sunny Saturday when our new friends – who had fast become our good friends, the ones we easily shared 11pm guitar strumming sessions and embarrassing stories with-took us to Escape Room, where we were promptly locked in and told to find our way out through a maze in an hour.
"I could wax lyrical about the many things we learned during the trip, and the many friends we made over those two weeks."
This is just an hour’s worth of the mad fun we had during the 10 day student exchange programme facilitated by Horizon and Crescendo International College, funded by the generous souls at the University of London, and accompanied by Dr. Ruwan Perera, easily the most fun supervisor around. I could wax lyrical about the many things we learned during the trip, and the many friends we made over those two weeks; we had only met four of them before (Xin Jing, Sam, Andy and Dyrus who came over to Sri Lanka the week prior to our visit) yet over time we had also made fast friends with a few others-Shan, MJ, Lim, Reyshvien…the list goes on.
The great thing about travel - especially when it’s the result of an organized effort like this programme - is that it opens your eyes to an entirely new set of possibilities. You don’t just meet new people and see new things; you also come to appreciate other beliefs and cultures, and what your own country has to offer. We only spent three days in Kuala Lumpur, which is where one usually goes on a Malaysia trip. But our seven days in Johor is what we’ll always remember, not just for the new experiences and interesting food, but also for the amazing friends we made, the things we learnt about each other and the memories made over that trip.”
“The Sri Lanka/Malaysia Summer Exchange Programme 2014 was one of the milestone events in our lives, because during this short time we got so many experiences and learnt many things.
"During this programme we BSc students learnt about the Malaysian Political and economic situation and how this differed with our economy."
During this programme we BSc students learnt about the Malaysian Political and economic situation and how this differed with our economy. We also identified the different kinds of businesses there and how their operations differ from ours and the use of advanced technology in normal business operations. This camp also gave us a chance to know about the culture and lifestyle of the people there.
One of the most important things in this programme was that we were able to make a lot of friends there. They were so close with us throughout the trip, their love towards us made us feel like home. They organised different activities and games for us both in terms of academic and for enjoyment. We also learned their way of studying and shared knowledge among us.
Visiting to Malaysia also gave an exposure to a different environment and made us all joyful and friendly within ourselves. So I thank University of London, Horizon Campus and Crescendo College for organising such a wonderful camp and making us a part of it, and I hope they would organise such events in the future too.”