Whether I’m making new friends or chatting with my friends back home, I always get asked the same question: which is better, Nottingham or Malaysia? I never did have a proper answer to this; how on earth you compare two completely different places? Then my parents asked me the same question, and for them, a shrug doesn’t just answer it. Now that I’ve been here for almost two months, I should know the answer to this right? So I came up with a list of all the differences that just stand out, starting from the university itself to other aspects of living.
Nothing beats Malaysian prices. I am shocked at how much I pay in the UK, and I will never ever again complain about prices when I get back. Cafeteria food isn’t more than a pound (after conversion) and you can get some amazing clothes for about 10-15 pounds. But in Nottingham, each (decent) meal costs about 4 pounds, and even the ugliest possible outfit costs about 30 pounds.
In Malaysia, you can be sure of one thing – great food. I miss chilly chicken! No offense to the English people, but I hate British food. For someone who’s been brought up with a cuisine where each dish contains a zillion different spices, British food is awfully bland. Even their idea of ‘spice’ and ‘chilly’ is bland for me. Thank God for Indian takeaways.
Timings – you can have meals anytime you want. You don’t have to wait for a certain time. You want rice at 10 am? You got it. You want a meal at 1 in the morning? Not a problem. It’s so much more easygoing.
I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the Malaysian sun. I’m one of those people who prefer being cold over being hot any day, but there is such a thing as too cold. I miss wearing shorts and spaghetti-strap tops, I miss not bothering to wear three layers of clothing every time you want to step out to get some water or take out the trash.
A much bigger campus – I think five to six times the size of the campus back at Malaysia. And that’s just the main campus, there are two more campuses. It’s so big that unless you’re the type who loves a good workout or have plenty of time to spare, you need a bus to get from one end to the other. Apart from your classmates and neighbors, you don’t see anyone twice in the same week. Not only that, but it’s so green and architecture of the buildings is so beautiful. You get the feeling of being in a real fancy and luxurious place.
Lecturers here are much better. What’s so different is that they all love to teach. In fact, I absolutely adore my signal processing lecturer – he loves his subject so much! Today his face practically lit up when he was talking about the theory of filters, which has got to be one of the driest subjects ever. As opposed to my lecturer for electrical engineering last year in Malaysia, who wished he wasn’t given the job at all.
Technological advancement – this might be rather geeky, but I love the system here for coursework submission. The stapler and the date stamp are all automatic, with sensors to recognize the paper. No extra person being employed just to tear off a receipt and stamp you submission sheet.
The location of the campus is great; it’s a 10 minute bus ride to get to the City, where there are streets and streets of amazing shops and brands, and where almost all the restaurants, pubs, and clubs of Nottingham are located.
Perhaps because of such a location, the social life is far better here. There are so many events organized that you actually end up missing some amazing ones because you just had someplace else to be. There are bars even on campus, where everyone goes after 6 pm.
Shopping is great here; it’s a shopper’s paradise. Lovely designs, lovely colors, the fashion here is amazing. The prices, not so much, but that hasn’t stopped me from already buying new dresses and a couple of pairs of boots.
Public transport here is great, you can get anywhere you want fairly easily, and there’s no bargaining at all, so you know that you aren’t overpaying. Not to mention discount cards for bus travel and comfortable buses (with wooden flooring!), yep, it’s a pleasure to take public transport.
Student accommodation here is so lovely. It’s fresh, clean and new-looking. Not just my hall, but all the halls of residence. Students also get a lot of recognition here, from temporary jobs to discounts at almost every single store.
That’s a pretty exhaustive list!