Charlotte is a 19 year old originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo but was raised in India. Charlotte moved to Malaysia in 2018 to pursue a degree in Law from one of the Malaysian Universities. Charlotte tells her story of why she got into the Miss Africa Malaysia pageant and how the entire experience was and much more about studying in Malaysia.
Why did you join the 2019 Miss Africa Malaysia pageant?
I joined the pageant because my mother always wanted me to join a pageant and my friends motivated me to join it so I thought it would be a nice idea to join as I could challenge myself, fulfill my mom’s wish and get an experience.
What was your experience being in a competition like this?
it was an amazing, fun and inspiring experience as i got to learn new things, meet the lovely girls who i now call my sisters, doing the fun tasks and the best part of this competition was the chill trip, catwalk challenge and the reunion party which made us bond more with each other.
What was going through your mind when you were announced winner of the 2019 Miss Africa Malaysia Pageant?
To be very honest I almost gave up hope, I was scared because the competition was very tough as all the girls were very amazing, so when my name was announced it was a little surprising to me it took me a while to process what just happened mentally but overall i was very happy.
What responsibility does this crown come with and how does it affect or improve the African community in Malaysia?
The responsibility that comes around with the crown is to be a good representative of not just your country but Africa as a whole, i feel like with this given platform and opportunities we have to represent Africans well, try to bring Malaysia and Africa closer and hopefully try to change their perspective on Africans in a positive way.
How do you manage being a Student and handling such a huge responsibility in a foreign country(Malaysia)?
thankfully most of the work/events for me are during the weekends or when i don’t have classes so it is easier to manage those two together.
Why did you choose Malaysia as your study destination?
my friend studies here so she suggested my mother to send me to Malaysia, also the fact my mom have heard alot about Malaysia from her colleagues made her want to send me here, at first i did not want to come here because i wanted to study somewhere in Europe as it would be easier to work part time there while studying and not be too dependent on my mom, but later i did my research on Malaysia also keeping in mind that its near India so i can easily visit my family, travel around Asia and attend kpop concerts in Malaysia so those factors made me agree to come to study here and to be honest i am glad i agreed to coming here.
What institution do you study?
I study UK Law at Help university in Kuala Lumpur (Damansara Heights)
Why did you choose this institution?
I chose to study at help because they have the UK degree transfer programme which is something i wanted to do as it would allow me to have a UK degree, another reason is the price is pretty affordable, i liked how the website presented themselves and my friend who was doing my admission process here told me it is a nice reputed university for my law programme. lastly i got a little catfished as i thought my campus will be the subang 2 one but it turned out to be the Damansara one, but so far i do not regret studying at Help.
What do you enjoy most about studying in Malaysia?
I have so many reasons for why i enjoy studying in Malaysia first one being the people, people in Malaysia are super friendly and helpful. I get to experience a more diverse environment as compared to India. The food in Malaysia is amazing as there is more options and cuisines to try on i’ve put on alot of weight since i came to Malaysia because the food, the Love of my life is Nasi Lemak. the student environment is very nice i met alot of amazing people here being my housemates, my classmates, my friends and everyone from the pageant. i feel more safer in Malaysia, it is beautiful, you’ll have more things to do in the weekend and if i have to sum it up in short You can never be bored in Malaysia.
Are there any negatives or things you wish you had known before coming to study here?
So far i do not have any negative thing that i wish to have known before coming here as this place have been treating me well since the day i have arrived to Malaysia. every country have its own good and bad people and we cannot fit everyone in one box, there could be misunderstanding between the locals and the foreigners specially us Africans because of our language differences (not everyone but with the ones who cannot speak english). i think what makes it difficult for us is the stereotype of Africans which i believe it can be changed by Us, we can show that not everyone is the same and we are actually good people. i think alot of these stereotype comes from lack of exposure because in some cases you could be the first African they have spoken to so it would be nice to leave a good impression on them to try to break those stereotypes
What kind of places do you think foreign students should avoid to guarantee their safety?
i am not sure because i don’t know much places here yet as i barely go out but i believe places that you know might get you in trouble should be avoided.
How do you commute to school and how would you rate the transport network in Malaysia?
i use the school bus which is free to go to my uni so that is an advantage for me. the rapid kl trains like mrt, lrt etc are very convenient specially during the high time as there is alot of traffic in the evening and some train stations are inside the places you’ll want to go example klcc mall, the curve or the airport so you won’t have to walk too far or take taxi’s for some places like that. but when it comes to roads here during the evening there’s too much traffic specially if it rains the grab prices go high and the other thing is if example a driver misses a turn then they’ll have to drive a long way to turn because of the road system. but overall i think its fine.
What is the cost of living in Malaysia compared to your home country and what are the things you consider cheap or expensive?
i did not live in my home country for long so i cannot really tell but if i compare it to the times i went for holidays there Malaysia is cheaper than Congo.
How are you able to meet up with the cost of living in Malaysia? And what options are available for foreign students?
Malaysia is a very affordable country, the prices of basically everything is low starting from groceries to rent, it is easy to live here as you would not need alot of money to survive unless you want to live like a Kardashian then that’s totally up to you but yea basically its affordable but it would be a really good opportunity if Foreign students could get an opportunity to work part time as our visa’s prohibits us to work, because sometimes we students go through financial crises and not everyone wants to depend on their parents for every little thing, so giving us an opportunity to work part time would be nice so that some people won’t have to try to earn money in wrong ways.
Now that you are already here, what do you think about studying in Malaysia?
i have not lived in other Asian countries except India and Malaysia and so far from my experience i can say Malaysia is a great place for student. environment wise and the facilities in universities, you get to see more diversity not just from different African countries but different Asian countries and others as well, Malaysia is a very welcoming country and the most important thing living here is very affordable but one thing that i wished was here is part time opportunity for international students.
What advice(s) can you give to a prospective international student who desires to come to Malaysia for studies?
all i would advice to someone who desires to come to Malaysia for studies is that when they come here they should avoid being in a bad crowd or involve themselves in things that would get them in trouble, be respectful and try to understand the locals perspective, every country has good and bad people. i would recommend them to study here because Malaysia is an amazing country with good people, nice infrastructure and specially delicious food.