There seems to have been a change in the attitude at universities around the world, in terms of whether to consider international students as a product or to treat them as a customer being provided a service; and the University of Malta is no exception.
Ali Chaudhry, a Media and Communications Bachelor student at University of Malta came across an interesting notion of universities approaching students as customers being provided a service. This seems to be the new way of doing things at a number of universities. Ali is from Pakistan originally and has been living in Malta for more than 2 years.
Ali aimed to understand the resulting difference in the various experiences of international students and revealed which factors could have influenced their opinion and decisions. In the past few weeks, Ali caught up with three international students studying at UM. He spoke to them to get a clear picture about the reasons for choosing the University of Malta.
Ali came across a Japanese student named Yuhui. She described that she feels safe in the University’s environment. This is because there are other Asians who come to learn English in Malta. Malta is sought to be a relatively low cost destination, especially for students involved with the student exchange program such as the Erasmus+ exchange. Yuhui definitely recommends Malta as a travel destination and he is glad he ended up choosing the University of Malta to pursue his studies.
When you stop and look, one can notice that at the University of Malta campus, there are a lot of different multicultural nationalities. Ali met up with a Russian student, who has had a number of experiences studying in several institutions across Europe. When comparing her experiences, she felt more comfortable studying in Glasgow, Scotland due to the passive way of living compared to the chaotic Maltese lifestyle and the aggressive traffic. However, she was highly appealed by the cultural aspects and the heritage of the Maltese islands.
The last student interviewed by Ali is of a German nationality, her name is Alexandra. She was fairly composed even after he showed up late due to traffic issues.
Alexandra speaks very optimistically about the fact that in Malta, English is one of the main languages spoken. For her, being in Malta is about “having totally unique experiences which you will not have anywhere else” she says. When comparing Germany to Malta, Alexandra seems to differentiate about the enforcement of rules and regulations, back in her country there is a very strict culture, whereas in Malta there is more liberty. “This also means that things can go from being very right to very wrong very quickly which is all part of the charm,” explains Alexandra as she is dealing with university residence issues.
All the international students interviewed described their experiences in comparison to their home countries. Most of the students evaluated their experiences according to the impressions they had before coming to Malta and comparing them with their perception after coming to Malta. This means that there are a variety of factors alluring the students to the island. Most of the factors shaping their experiences seem to be related to cultural and social aspects.
Author: Ali Chaudhry