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A Bruneian in UK

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Happy Monday folks! It’s the last Monday of 2010 and as we count down to the new year, I just wanted to show you a sample clip I made for the Digital Scrapbook competition which is being organized by the British High Commission in Brunei. I think this is a nice way of preserving memories of your time in UK and by submitting it to the competition, you’d be in the running for an Apple iPad, or a Flip HD, or some other awesome prize! So do get an entry in as soon as you can peeps!

In September last year, I left for UK to pursue a Master’s program having been awarded the prestigious British Government Chevening scholarship. I left the night before Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, alone, and full of mixed emotions, excitement, anxiety, apprehension, sadness, happiness, you name it. My arrival in Leicester was one of those moments where the reality of being a student again kicked in! It was to be one of many such moments. Getting on a coach from the airport to Leicester, dragging two suitcases from the university admin building to the halls, seeing my relatively tiny room for the first time…

I think the most difficult thing about my whole year abroad was being away from my family. You know when I was an undergrad all those years ago, I stayed back during the holidays so I could work and travel around Australia. But this time round, things were so different. I was looking forward to going home and being with my family every chance I got.

This time round however, I felt I made a lot more friends thanks mostly to the use of social media. It helped me a lot especially when it came to travelling around UK in search of material i.e. interviews and photographs to be posted on my website, anakbrunei.org. Strangers whom I knew only on Facebook opened up their homes for me to bunk in during my visits to places like Cardiff, Nottingham, London, Birmingham etc.

The low point of my year in UK was when I lost my dad in April of this year. My studies were severely affected but the academic staff of the University, particularly the HOD and my course supervisor were very understanding and provided as much leeway as I needed in terms of the time I needed to come to terms with my loss and to grieve. The University’s support services also provided exemplary counselling for me during that difficult period.

I’m back in Brunei now, having obtained my Master’s degree, and I look forward to putting what I’ve learnt and all the experiences I’ve gained to good use, for instance, helping put this competition together for the BHC J And who knows? Now that I’ve been bitten by the academic bug, I may go for seconds!

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