Cultural Immersion Programme: Visiting Malaysia
20 September 2022
This blog was written by Sustainable Product Design student Charlie Ruck. Here, Charlie reflects on his visit to Malaysia as part of Falmouth University's Cultural Immersion programme.
This summer I had the pleasure of visiting Sunway College in MaIaysia as part of Falmouth University’s Cultural Immersion programme. The Cultural Immersion programme gives Falmouth’s students the opportunity to dive headfirst into a new culture. What’s better than being in a new country for four weeks, making friends and new memories?
The University has partnerships across the world and offers multiple study abroad options. Other students took the chance to visit America, Sweden and Italy.
But I found myself in Malaysia, participating in a four-week long Sustainability and Culture course at Sunway College.
There were lots of reasons to be excited about visiting Malaysia. The country has a rich heritage, emerging from its colonial past to rapidly expand in the 21st Century, set against the backdrop of political unrest.
As a design student, I’m naturally interested in how architecture evokes a sense of place. In Malaysia’s case, the rapid expansion that the country has gone through is summed up by Kuala Lumpur's skyscrapers, which dominate the landscape and tower over its vast array of historical landmarks. Colonial architecture is dwarfed by the sprawl of metal and glass, which make up some of the largest buildings in the world.
This is what enticed me, the juxtaposition of old and new, and the emergence of a country making its mark on the world.
There were also good reasons to head to Malaysia from an academic perspective. In my first year, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Ripple project with British Council Malaysia. The project gave students the chance to innovate new product and communication opportunities based on the ongoing small-scale plastic recycling solutions that are currently in place with local communities, called Beyond Bins. During the project I worked with a local company, who I was able to visit in my time in Kuala Lumpur.
I was also able to visit Singapore, which made the trip even more special. I couldn’t wait to see the famous Supertrees in person – giant solar paneled tree-like structures that act as vertical gardens, housing an incredible array of flowers from all over the world. The designs breathe peacefulness and life into what is otherwise a concrete jungle.
Even though I’m a Sustainable Product Design student, I have a fascination for all styles and types of design and Malaysia didn’t disappoint.
The architecture of Singapore, as well as family connections of my grandparents and great grandparents, who were stationed there during and after the war, made it even more memorable.
I was fortunate enough to be accepted onto the program and hope that all students at Falmouth University take up the opportunity to apply for the Cultural Immersion programme next year.