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Published by Afterschool.my on Mar 18, 2020, 04:46 pm
Deciding how to further your studies after completing SPM can be hard, especially if your main hurdle is financial troubles. Fortunately, scholarships are abundantly available and could well be your best option.
Every year, the Yayasan UEM Scholarship Programme provides the opportunity for deserving SPM leavers to realise their dreams and pursue their studies at foreign universities. Besides covering academic fees, the scholarship provides additional support in terms of various allowances to help students ease their financial burden as well as self-development programmes.
We spoke to two Yayasan UEM scholarship beneficiaries, Elinar Yasmeen Muhammad Azmi, who is currently a corporate communications senior executive at UEM Edgenta Berhad, and Ang Jia Shun, who is studying MEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering at the University of Nottingham Malaysia.
Q: How did you come to know about Yayasan UEM scholarship?
Elinar: After SPM results were out, all my friends were racing to apply for scholarships. I saw an advertisement for Yayasan UEM scholarship in the newspaper and decided to go for it.
Ang: I first came across the Yayasan UEM scholarship through a generic scholarship application website. It was one of the few that offer a full scholarship, covering not only academic fees, but also providing generous living expenses. Upon more research, I discovered that selected students will have the privilege of studying at a premier A-Levels college – Kolej Yayasan UEM (KYUEM).
Q: What were the key differences between the Yayasan UEM scholarship and other scholarships on the market?
Elinar: What appealed to me was the opportunity to gain A-Levels certification at KYUEM – this includes the prospect of studying Cambridge A-Levels syllabus, access to experienced teachers, and being able to focus on my studies while remaining active in various activities and associations.
The beauty of Yayasan UEM is that I knew I was in good hands. There was only a handful of scholars chosen, and I believed that because of the small number, the attention given to each individual’s excellence would be greater – and I was right!
Yayasan UEM played a significant role in helping me identify my strengths and shape my career path. One key difference of Yayasan UEM lies in the Scholars Development Programme – from the moment we received the scholarship, our individual growth and development were synced. We were never short of programmes that helped us build our confidence and prepare ourselves for the real world.
Q: How would you describe your student life without the scholarship?
Ang: I cannot imagine what my student life would have been without the Yayasan UEM scholarship. Before being awarded the scholarship, I always worried about the financial burden on my family if I were to pursue tertiary education. It put my parents in a difficult spot because they would have needed to choose between paying for my university education or my siblings’. Because of the financial restraints, I was constantly distracted from my academic studies and that, in turn, resulted in more stress for myself.
Q: Please share about the bond you currently have with Yayasan UEM as part of the scholarship. Was the bond a deterrent for you when choosing the scholarship?
Elinar: My work bond with UEM Group of Companies is for five years, and this is my fifth year here. I have been exposed to different businesses under the group – PLUS Malaysia Berhad, UEM Sunrise, UEM Group and, presently, UEM Edgenta. Some may view a bond as a deterrent but I have always been a believer in seizing opportunities regardless of where you are placed. In fact, I saw it as a form of job security upon graduation.
Q: What are the career opportunities open to you because you are a Yayasan UEM scholar?
Elinar: Part of the requirement when I first started working was that I had to rotate between the different businesses within UEM Group of Companies on an annual basis for the first three years. I started at PLUS Malaysia Berhad as an internal auditor, before deciding to work in corporate communications at UEM Sunrise, UEM Group and UEM Edgenta.
Yayasan UEM is supportive if scholars want to do things differently – I was an economics major but after a year of working, Yayasan UEM identified my skills and personality to be more suited in a communications role. I could not agree more and have been in this field since. Switching disciplines is a rare opportunity that would be unlikely with others scholarship providers.
My experience rotating between businesses presented me with the chance to enrich my capabilities, broaden my range of skills as well as acquire in-depth knowledge from supportive superiors and mentors. It definitely forced me out of my comfort zone, but it was ultimately worth it because of the amazing people I met and connections I made along the way.
Q: What would you say are the most valuable experiences you have gained from being a Yayasan UEM scholar?
Elinar: Nothing beats the overall experience of meeting new people locally and abroad. While I was studying abroad, I loved trying different things. I was part of the Bristol University Ballroom and Latin Dance Society, through which I partook in inter-university competitions and won Best Beginner Dancer Award at the end of my second year.
Now working and as an alumna of KYUEM, I get to actively contribute and give back to my alma mater through activities and discussions with the current students, as well as by contributing fresh ideas that can be injected into the improvement of KYUEM.
Ang: My life took a 180° turn after I was awarded the Yayasan UEM scholarship. Not only was the financial burden on my parents lifted, I also became an exemplary student who motivates my friends, peers and siblings to work harder. I have been able to focus fully in my academics as well as on areas of self-improvement. Because of the Yayasan UEM scholarship, I was finally able to pursue my A-Levels at KYUEM where I was continually surrounded by diligent, determined and dedicated peers who never failed to inspire me to step out of my comfort zone and step up my game.
Q: Is there a strong bond amongst Yayasan UEM scholars?
Elinar: Oh yes, very much so. We keep in touch and celebrate each other’s milestones in life (weddings, babies and more!) and we’re always there for each other whenever we need help. I guess this stems from what we’ve been resonating with over the years – the familial values of Yayasan UEM. It is no surprise that we always find our ways to each other in the end.
Ang: The scholars of Yayasan UEM share a strong bond as we connect to each other in many ways while studying. Although we may be enrolled in different universities, we would still have the chance to meet, bond and work with one another via Yayasan UEM Scholars Development Programme, which ranges from indoor Speed Reading and Super Memory workshops to rigorous outdoor activities such as jungle trekking and white-water rafting. These activities equipped the scholars with important skills required for work and study while bolstering the camaraderie between staff and scholars.
Applications for Yayasan UEM Scholarship Programme will be open until Mar 23 with fields of study ranging from business to actuarial science. For more information, visit here.