ABOUT 

Faith Fatokun Boluwatife is a Nigerian currently pursuing a Masters degree in Applied Computing in the prestigious University of Malaya(UM), Malaysia. He obtained his Bsc. in Computer Science and Information Technology in 2015 from the Federal University Dutsin-ma, Nigeria.

During his spare time, he runs a private Research Consultancy Service here in Malaysia, Unique Tech Consult and is also a Team member for PBB

He moved to Malaysia in August, 2017

Thanks for accepting an interview Faith.


Why did you choose to study in University of Malaya in Malaysia?

Actually, I initially applied to a private university and got admission there. But within that period, I got information about University of Malaya and saw that

  1. It was the best university in Malaysia
  2. It had a high ranking in the world universities ranking.
  3. UM had variety of nice courses which I could choose from with different modes of study.
  4. Malaysia has affordable tuition which is quite reasonable for the kind of quality education they offer when compared to fees of other prestigious universities in the UK, US  etc

What’s the process of obtaining a student visa like?

Obtaining a student visa to Malaysia is really easy compared to some other countries, especially for a postgraduate program. Once you have a confirmed admission offer from a recognized institution in Malaysia, processing the visa is easy. It is important to state that the real student visa will be processed only when the student arrives Malaysia and has duly registered with the institution.

But prior to coming over, a VAL(Visa Application Letter) is processed and sent to the student in his/her home country which would be used to obtain a single entry visa from the Malaysian embassy in that country. This single entry visa will be used to enter  Malaysia after which within one month, the real student pass/visa will be processed.


THE ASIAN UNIVERSITY ALLIANCE CONFERENCE

The process:

What was the criteria used in selecting representatives from the institutions?

A call for papers was released 5-7 months before the conference. Over 150 submissions were received by the committee and only a total of 80 were accepted for the final conference, among these, only 31 were accepted for the 14 representatives countries. Finally, a rigorous blind review process was done by two renowned professors for each paper.

Many people say obtaining a visa to China as a  Nigerian is pretty difficulty. How true is that?

Actually, I had little issues about this compared to the information I got from other Nigerians who said it was difficult to get a visa to China. After doing all necessary procedures, I realized that it wasn’t as difficult as I was told. Once you have a necessary requirements and a confirmation letter from the embassy here in Malaysia specifically, you will be granted the visa. One thing I must state is that once you are valid, you shouldn’t be afraid to do all necessary requirements for a visa.

How did you feel as an African(Nigerian) student representing the University of Malaya in the conference?

Honestly I felt so privileged because I was the only African and not just African but a Nigerian going from University of Malaya and Malaysia as a whole. At the conference I was the only black person amidst all other races. So it was quite interesting to be able to represent my prestigious university in China.

Considering you are a student, how did you manage the cost involved with such a trip and event?

Well, the conference was actually fully sponsored by the organizing committee from China, although we had to first purchase our tickets out of pocket and later get a refund. But that was fine for me, I was able to source that out from my earnings, knowing at the back of my mind I’ll get a reimbursement.

The Conference:

Can you describe what this conference was about and who were the participants?

The conference in question was organized by the Asian Universities Alliance and this was a Postgraduate Forum conference where all Postgraduates from 15 selected Asian Universities were enabled to be participants. The participants were scholars from 14 Asian countries, precisely 15 Top ranked Universities in those countries. This particular conference was on: The New Era of Artificial Intelligence(AI). Although, there were four sub-forums, the conference was also flexible enough for those who were not computer science specialists. We had scholars from other fields like medicine, languages, law who also made presentations of their work with relation to AI.

How did you get the opportunity to be a part of this conference?

I first got aware of this conference via an email from international relations of my University. At first I didn’t take it seriously, but when it was one month to the deadline, I got an email reminder and decided to try it out. To my greatest surprise, I was among the four picked to represent UM and Malaysia as a whole.

What were the successes you recorded at the conference?

To the glory of my Maker, God Almighty and with the encouragement and support from my Supervisors, Dr Suraya Hamid and Dr Azah Norman,

  • I received an award as the Best Poster Presenter for the Multidisciplinary Applications segment.
  • I was also privileged to be selected among 6 scholars from all the 14 countries to go out and your the city of Beijing.
  • I was also privileged to attend the special interview session which would be published in the biggest news channel in China.
  • Finally, I was greatly privileged to give a closing speech for the closing ceremony of the conference.
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Award for Best Poster Presenter

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Delivering closing speech

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Faith and his supervisor (Left) Dr Azah Norman and (Right) Dr Suraya Hamid


LIFE AS A STUDENT IN UM

Would you recommend studying in Malaysia to your friends/family?

Definitely, I would wholeheartedly recommend my friends and loved ones who may want to proceed their studies abroad to try out schools in Malaysia. The level of education here is quite satisfactory and culturally diversified. Facilities are readily available and the environment is quite conducive. Specifically you can try out  my school  or any other university in Malaysia.

What’s your opinion local and foreign student relationship?

Well, I can only speak for myself on this myself. Many people say local students are not so friendly, but I think it depends on how you approach them. I have quite a number of local students as friends and I think they have been nice and easy going. So to me, their relationship is good enough.

What are the things you would like to see handled differently in UM for foreign students?

Yes this is a very important aspect of this interview and I would like to first mention that UM has been quite fair to the international students, however it would be appreciable if Foreign students can be given more opportunities to enjoy certain privileges like research grants, scholarships and other available privileges available for international students.

What advice can you give to a prospective African student wishing to study in UM?

My little advice is to make sure you are ready to work hard though studying in UM can seem luxurious, but I tell you requires lots concentration to achieve excellence. Also, make sure you have all necessary requirements needed to study in UM, you can start by first checking our website  and getting all necessary information regarding the school.


THE FUTURE…

I believe God is the author and finisher of everything and He owns our lives. But definitely, man needs to plan and in that line, I hope to proceed with my PHD after my Masters program probably still at UM if given necessary opportunities.

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