"Not only were my teachers extremely well-versed in their fields, they were surprisingly approachable, understanding and appreciative of the different background of students that MUM tends to attract."
1. Full name / nationality.
Ameer Sobhan / Bangladeshi
2. Where are you working / studying presently, and describe your general work scope.
I am currently working as a Junior Associate at the South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (SAILS) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. SAILS is a legal aid and empowerment firm that seeks to strengthen the provision for legal services in Bangladesh. I am working with our local and international institutional partners from North America to Europe to all of Asia to kick-start a series of training programs on legal empowerment and capacity building.
3. Were you a recipient of any scholarships?
I was awarded the High Achiever Award for maintaining a High Distinction average of over 85% and a 4.0 GPA since my first semester at Monash University Malaysia (MUM). I maintained those grades and my scholarship all the way through graduation.
4. Why did you decide to study at Monash University Malaysia?
Ever since the global financial crisis of 2008, the world has seen the emergence of Asia on an unprecedented scale. I knew right out of high school that I wanted to get a degree that would provide me a grounding in international relations but I also wanted my education to reflect a global world-view that reflected Asian values. The courses available at School of Arts and Social Sciences matched that stencil I had in mind and made my decision to attend MUM an easy one.
5. What/who influenced your decision?
MUM provides an innovative blend of a western, Australian-based education that is partly characterised by strong Asian influences. Given the globalised world we live in today, it is important to obtain such a “composite” perspective on things to best utilise the opportunities that are out there today. Ultimately, that was key in my decision to enrol here.
6. Describe your study experience at Monash University Malaysia.
MUM exceeded all the expectations I had in terms of my education. Not only were my teachers extremely well-versed in their fields, they were surprisingly approachable, understanding and appreciative of the different background of students that MUM tends to attract. In addition to being my mentors, many of them also became my friends and confidants. My relationships with them not only encouraged me to do well in classes but also significantly enriched my time at Monash.
Monash is also an educational partner of some of the leading universities in the world. This allowed me to spend a semester abroad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the United States’ best-known universities. I had always wanted to study about American politics and Roman history and although MUM does not provide courses in those fields, Monash provides facilities such as these exchange opportunities to make it possible for every student to pursue studies in whatever field they desire through its partner universities. Thus, students have the opportunities to study what they want as long as they have the initiative to pursue them.
7. Were there any obstacles faced while studying here, and how did you overcome them?
I faced several family emergencies during my time at MUM and as an international student it was not possible for me to fly back home on a whim to deal with those situations. In those times my teachers reached out to me with a lot of support and helped me through.
8. What qualities did you acquire during your studies at Monash University Malaysia that were beneficial / helpful to you in the working world?
During my time at Monash I developed a strong appreciation for different cultures and ideas, not only because of the academic content that I was studying but also because of the diverse student body that MUM attracts and allows you to interact with.
“Critical thinking” can be an overused term in the world of academia. At Monash, I felt that my teachers took the time out to teach us how to think with a multidimensional perspective rather than assuming that we already knew how to.
9. What advice would you offer to the current students on how to succeed in university?
I would advice students to develop a strong work ethic from their first day at Monash. Even though the coursework at Monash can demand a lot of your time, I never felt that I had to sacrifice much in the way of my social life.
Additionally, it is vital for students to work on their time-management skills so that intersecting assignment deadlines (and they will always be there!) don’t take a toll on them.
10. What single experience from your time at Monash University Malaysia stands out?
Getting the Best Graduate Award was a gratifying moment for me, especially because it was one that I got to share with my teachers in front of my parents who had accompanied me to Malaysia to attend the ceremony. I always strived to do my best in university but to have my efforts acknowledged on such a scale was a pleasant, yet very unexpected, surprise.
11. Now that you have entered the working world, how does a Monash education help define your career?
Monash is a well-known name throughout the world and having a Monash education helps open doors that may not be available to you otherwise. People say that the world is your oyster. Monash has helped me get to a point in life where that may actually be true.