ALOR SETAR: International students of Bachelor of Social Development Programme (BSD) from Albukhary International University (AIU) Malaysia received a warm welcome from the villagers in Desa KEDA, Kedah, from February 1 to 2, 2024, and were exposed to the Malay culture and lifestyle in the kampung.
The 2-day 1-night field trip entitled “BSD Field Trip: Foster Family Programme in Desa KEDA, Tepi Sungai, Kuala Muda, Kedah State” was organised by the Kedah Regional Development Authority (Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (KEDA) in collaboration with Albukhary International University and the Kuala Muda Fishermen’s Association.
The objective of this programme was to expose international students to life in the countryside and Malaysian culture and tradition, as well as to promote cross-cultural communication.
The programme was attended by 47 international students from many countries, including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Palestine, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan, Indonesia, Yemen, Liberia, Uganda, and Ghana.
Kedah Regional Development Authority`s Corporate Communication Officer, Syed Muhammad Adam, said, “This concept has been adopted since a long time ago, but this time is unique because it gathers the local people with the international students.
“The Desa KEDA villagers also have the opportunity to get information and feedback on the rural development in the village via this programme.
“The villagers also have the chance to meet and mingle with international people, exchange cultures and ideas, and get to know and make friends with them.
“Maybe in the future, the foster parents can also visit these students in their countries,” added Adam.
The international students were guided and monitored by six AIU staff and staff of the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, as well as many foster parents from the Desa KEDA Community who adopted them to stay for one night in their humble houses throughout the programme.
Desa KEDA was selected for this programme due to its distinctiveness, abundant marine life, lush island forest, and unique geographic conditions unmatched anywhere else.
The history of modern Desa KEDA’s development programme following the devastating 2014 tsunami that struck the area was also preserved in this seaside village.
Various activities were conducted by AIU students, including gel blasting and riding the ATV, visiting the whispering market, or “pasar bisik,” by the jetty or beach, “gotong-royong community cooking, and visiting the Tsunami Gallery in Desa KEDA.
In addition to the sharing of knowledge, the programme has also promoted cross-cultural communication among all participants from various backgrounds.
Meanwhile, the hosts and foster parents’ families have provided much more than just shelter and meals. They helped international students explore the Malay culture, traditions, and hospitality, make friends, and learn the local language while enjoying their studies abroad.-Malaysia World News