IN PREPARING its students for the increasingly globalised professional arena, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) creates a global learning environment to equip its students with skills and mindset needed to succeed in the ever-changing and challenging global workplace.
UBD’s Discovery Year and other study abroad opportunities are one of the highlights to be explored at the UBD Open Day, to be held in an all-day event this weekend, February 14-15 at the Chancellor’s Hall. ‘A’ Level graduates and individuals interested in pursuing higher education are encouraged to attend the UBD Open Day to explore the myriad of opportunities for global and experiential learning offered at UBD, for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Under its GenNEXT programme, students are required to explore beyond the university’s four walls under the Discovery Year programme, which occurs in their third year, with options comprising a combination of four programmes – Study Abroad Programme, Internship Programme, Community Outreach Programme, or Incubation Programme.
In the recent Fresher’s Week in January, UBD’s Vice-Chancellor, Dato Paduka Dr Hj Zulkarnain bin Hj Hanafi revealed that over 80 per cent of UBD students spent their Discovery Year abroad. UBD students can be found in the six continents, 20 countries, in over 80 top peer universities engaging in Study Abroad Programmes, Internship, Community Outreach or Incubation Programmes in UBD’s partner institutions.
In 2013, Hamizah binti Hj Mohd Din and Wardah Hj Tuah, both Biology majors in the Environmental and Life Sciences Programme in the Faculty of Science in UBD, became the first UBD students to spend their Discovery Year in the Galapagos Islands, South America. Both students said that the experience have given them a more mature outlook and better understanding of their subject of study. “The whole experience helped to broaden our view on how to handle the working environment. It also challenged us to apply our knowledge in the working scene,” Wardah said.
Opportunities to learn in a new environment is also plentiful for postgraduate students as each faculty engages in partnerships with international universities. The Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education recently collaborated in a Student Exchange Programme for their Masters of Teaching (MTeach) programme, where UBD Masters candidates will spend a semester of school placement in Melbourne, Australia and vice versa.
A popular Masters programme, Masters of Public Policy and Management (MPPM) is an 18-month programme, in which students spend 12 months in UBD and the third semester in one of the partner policy schools in the United States of America. The programme also features a two-week study visit to Washington, DC, where students meet people from key policy-making institutions including the House of Congress, policy think tanks, and non-profit sectors.
Currently spending his final semester in School of Public Policy in University of Maryland, USA, Muhd Khairul Anwar bin Hj Shahari found the programme both challenging and rewarding. The lectures and academic experiences of the programme was “beyond (his) expectations” as the Masters candidate learned to adjust to different academic settings and engage in discussions with a diverse group in a student-centric learning environment.
“MPPM is a unique Master’s programme in UBD. I knew it was quite prestigious, especially knowing that the programme partners with four top public policy school in the US,” Muhd Khairul Anwar said.
Since the university boosted its internationalisation efforts and linked with the world’s most prestigious universities in student exchanges and research collaborations, UBD has seen an increase of international students by 10 per cent as of 2010. In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) University Rankings, UBD ranked 11th in inbound exchange students, 4th in outbound exchange students and 7th in international faculty.
UBD’s Open Day also features other programmes and initiatives by the university in nurturing “creative, innovative, entrepreneurial” students. The theme of the same name is in line with UBD’s vision to create space for its students to explore their talents through experiential learning and in turn, cultivate positive mindset and communication and management skills to excel in the global workplace of the 21st century.