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Yang Safia On Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Hey guys! I hope things are well on your end because this blog is back alive!! Well, if you've been following my Studying Overseas Guide, I'm sorry that I haven't been updating it. I figured this post can serve as a break from the guide and provide you guys with a little update of my life.

My best friends and I have been planning this roadtrip the whole year, way before I went to New Zealand. So now that I'm back for the summer, around 2 weeks ago we made our way down to Melaka for a roadtrip!

I took a lot of videos but for now, you guys just have to settle with the pictures.

FUN is an understatement!


Welcome to Melaka!

For the first night, we stayed at the Baba House on Jalan Tan Cheng Lock. It was very nice to our surprise because we considered it to be one of those low budget hotels. After checking in, we decided to walk around Jonker Walk and take more videos and pictures!

For most melaccans, I am sure they have heard of Jonker 88. We were lucky to even get a seat and eat the food because when we were in the car looking for our hotel, the line to get inside this small shop was sooooo long to the point it was reached the streets.

Shira @ Jonker 88 Cafe.

My RM2 Melaka ABC (Ais Batu Campur)

Shaza's delicious seafood laksa. Trust me it was heavenly because I don't even like laksa!

After that we walked some more and found this round windows(?) and camwhored....naturally.

That night we decided to try some local Portugese cuisine and we found one bistro near our hotel. The food was alright but I'm so in love with the ambiance. It's quiet but so...vibrant.

We walked around some more, just to see what's the nightlife like until we stumbled upon this really really nice bistro called 1973 (i think). It has a really nice ambiance, very chillaxin with a live band that we missed but the food was great. And a lot cheaper than the place we went earlier. OH well, there's always a next time. :)

Shira and Shaza

That night we decided to do facials and go to bed. We thought we went to bed early but it was around 2AM when we actually sleep.

The next day we went to look for cafe I've been dying to visit called the Dutch Harbor Cafe because I just love the food and ambiance. Much to my disappointment though, the food wasn't as good as I'm used to and the service was just bad. It was a lot better when I came there with my family a year earlier.

Later we went to Mahkota Parade to shop (where do you expect us shopaholics to end up anyway?) and spent like an hour in Kitschen. After that we rushed to make it to our check in at Semabuk Inn.

Few hours later, we find ourselves at the beach!

Shira being all dramatic with umm...Bruno Mars?
I sell laptops. Wan one?

That night we went to Umbai to eat seafood. Let's just say we pigged out and it's best shown on video. (=_=)

The next day was our trip back to Shah Alam. Nothing much happened because we were just too caught up with packing and heading home.

Group Shot in front of Shaza&Sara's house
Yang Safia On Thursday, December 16, 2010
Pre-Flight Preparations

Okay. You're finally down to the last month before your flight and most of your paperwork are finally done or at the last stages of processing. At this stage, I hope you've found some contacts at your university and start planning with them on how to meet or if you think this guide is not sufficient enough; ask them for advice.

Part of the reason why I love pre-flight preparations so much is because of the shopping. Now, if you're a dude or just a plain shoppping-hater, you can skip this portion of the guide because I am now going to talk about shopping.


It is sooooo easy to get overboard with this. You will feel like you need everything. Remember that your baggage weight limit is 23-26kg. The thing with moving out is that you tend to pack away the littlest thing in your room so that your new place will remind you of home. Which I did. That's why my room was empty when I moved to NZ and when I got back, my room got turned into a storeroom. (Note: You want to leave a mark at your home so that your presence will be missed, not to entirely erase it.) I brought along the random-est things like my favourite CDs, 3 handbags, all of my shoes,etc.

This, of course, made travelling so hard.

Before you get whisked away by the shopping tornado, I suggest you make a list of things that YOU REALLY, REALLY, REALLY (REALLY) need. I made a list once but I didn't really think it through. I just wrote down whatever things I thought I needed. Now in NZ, I have a bunch of stuff that crowd my room and useless. You will soon realize that most of the things you own back home might not work at your new place.

So back to the shopping, I was really splurging a lot on clothes for me to take to NZ but when I got there, I couldn't wear a thing because it didn't suit the weather.

Ask your overseas contacts on what to bring especially if the weather is different from your home country.

If you're from the southeast region, your priority must be how to dress during winter.

This is what I suggest you should bring:


a) 1 down jacket
b) 1 hoodie
c) 2 pairs of jeans
d) 2 tops/shirts
e) 2 pairs of sleeping clothes
f) comfortable shoes

Forget buying stuff like school supplies (ok, this might sound drastic that I'm even mentioning this but I brought a LOT of stuff with me. A LOT!) and extra of everything that you bought because...(take a breather and think for awhile) there is a high chance that you can at the new country.

Refrain from buying that extra sweater because you don't need it!!

Onto the next topic!

It would be best if you could complete whatever tasks or fulfill any promises that you have so that when you leave, you don't leave things hanging.

Also I'm guessing things will be quite busy and hectic since you will find yourself torn between spending time with your family, hanging out with your friends and completing whatever university things you have to settle. Everything will be in a blur because a month can be so short so try to take it all in.

Making Memories

Create as many memories as you can with your family and friends. Take lots of pictures (I prefer videos) because this will become extremely helpful when you're at the new country. I believe it can help with the homesickness that you're going to have to deal when you're there.

Go on a road trip with your friends. Hug your parents and spend time with them. Visit family members. Do the most ordinary thing that you've never done go on a picnic (which I did!).

Saying Goodbyes

You're finally here kid. The day of your flight.

It is either you're flying alone or with a parent. Not to brag but I got the luxury to fly with my whole family. (But there are consequences to this)

I can't really say for sure of what you're going to feel because it depends. But emotions such as fear, excited, nervous,sad,etc would be along the lines to that. As for myself, it was all so confusing that I was...numb. I did cry when we leave the house but I was all smiles at the airport. It was only in the middle of my flight to Australia that I had a nervous breakdown.


It's really depressing to even write about this.

I really don't have a clear guide for this part but to take it one at a time.

I can just imagine how scary it is to fly on your own. If you are doing it this coming year, fear not because I have soooo many friends who survived it. As long as you keep your belongings close and don't trust any strangers, you will be fine. To be honest, I'm about to fly back to NZ for my 2nd year on my own...for the first time. SO you're not alone. :)

Just tell yourself that this is not permanent. You might be all scared at this point and feel like going home but give the new country a chance. Control your emotions and your mind. If you manage to take charge all of that, you will conquer.

Tip: I tell my friends and family , "See you later!" instead of goodbye. It might seem nothing but it helps.

Yang Safia On Sunday, December 12, 2010
If you are planning to start your classes this coming March (for NZ and Australia) or September (UK, USA and Canada), expect a LOT of paperwork coming your way.

Before I get into that though, there are a few questions you have to ask yourself when you’re about to go down this path.


a) Which university should I apply?

b) Have I done enough research?

c) Should I get an agent or I’m going to apply on my own?

**I’m not even going to bother to put the “what should I major in?” question because honestly, you should have figured that out by now. If not, go check out my dad’s blog and get yourself motivated.

QA+B: It’s good to do a lot of research on the country and university you’re thinking of applying for. I think it’s important for you to know what kind of weather they have there, culture, currency exchange and etc. Certainly it doesn’t hurt to know lots of facts about the country of your choice. Also, try creating a contact (preferably someone from your country who have been studying there) from the country of your choice because this will be helpful when you’re finally there.

Make sure to do a thorough research on the programs provided by the University of your choice. If you can’t make up your mind to which university to go, list down the top 3 (let’s stick with three ok?) and apply to all of these universities.

QC: After doing your research, you have an option to apply by yourself or seek for an agent’s help. For myself, I decided to get an agent because I feel it is a lot safer than doing it on my own.

You can find agents at any local universities/colleges in your area. Agents are directly connected to the universities overseas. Look for the ones that have a license and looked legit enough. For my case, I went with Selset. They are specialized with universities in New Zealand.

An agent will help you with these things:

a) Advises on university and country of your choice.

b) Guides you during application

c) Provides you with contacts since they have connections with students already studying at the university of your choice.

d) Helps you with your Visa matters.

e) Directly connects you to the right people at the university.

**As far I know, getting an agent doesn’t require a fee except a few matters such as getting your visa done and signing a few documents.

Initially I was aiming for Waikato but Otago and Victoria seemed like good universities too so I sent in all of my applications to these three and let them decide for me. I figured that if I got rejected by any of these three, I’ll just settle with what I’ve got since I will end up with one of my shortlisted choices anyway.

But my problem was that I got accepted into all of them!

My advice if this ever happens is that try to consider these options:

a) Subjects offered for your course (sometimes, certain universities offer more subjects than others and a better program structure).

b) Standard of living, weather and atmosphere.

c) Ask for opinions from students who have been studying at those respective universities.

d) Ask questions like “Can I imagine myself studying there?” , “Do I want an entirely different lifestyle or I want to live in a place that is quite similar to home?” , etc.

Dealing with the paperwork.

Application Forms:

Usually application forms are quite easy to fill in. You can download them from the University’s website or get them from your agent. They require the usual stuff; copy of your passport, birth cert and academic reports. Some universities require you to write an essay or sit in for an interview/audition.

I don’t have any legit tips for this because my course doesn’t require an interview/audition but I had to write an essay for my Victoria Uni application.

I advise you to be quick and not put off these paperwork because you don’t want yourself rushing near the deadline. (Note: Take the postage duration into consideration.)

Also for non-English speaking countries, there is a high chance that you are required to take an English test so that you meet the university’s standards. It’s either the IELTS or Cambridge English Exam. You will need the results for your application forms. So make sure you take this into consideration!

After much deliberation, the university will send out your acceptance letter. But usually it will take a few weeks (It took me almost 2 months just to get my Otago acceptance letter! Those unis really like taking their own sweet time.)

Now sit on your bum for a few weeks until...

You got accepted into the university of your choice! Congrats!

Along with your acceptance letter, you will receive a welcome package where they will enclose the full details of your new life at the university (at this point, you can still reject the offer by simply not doing anything!) including the fees, rules, accommodation options, etc.

At this point, the dreaded feeling of death will start creeping back because this nice gesture of a welcome package means…MORE PAPERWORK!

And you thought everything’s done at application.

Expect to run around getting a copy of everything, getting them certified, get a medical check-up, pay your fees, applying for your accommodation, insurance, etc.!

Yes, it’s a crazy time indeed. :(


I don’t have much to say except apply for them early. Usually people will start applying for them a month prior their flight but things will start getting really hectic by then. I did mine really early and I got my visa a month before my flight. Also, I got the help from my agent so it was really easy.

If you are doing this right now, take a chill pill and relax. Everything will go smoothly. Just plan your time wisely!

Good Luck.