Budaya Beat Nov Dec 2015

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Contents FOCUS 4 8 10 14 17 18 22 24 26

PNM 2015: Malaysia Welcomes the World Volunteerism in Action at PNM 2015 Study Tour to Perak an Eye Opener Silent Auction Gets Loud Applause Delegates Espress Themselves at World Cafe PNM 2015 Gala Dinner: Blue is the Night PNM 2015: Media Blitz on AFS Challenges in Volunteerism Volunteer Congress: Igniting Volunteers Through VC 2015

CHAPTER CHATS 28 Meet Perak Chapter


Chief Editor: Khalilah Talha



30 Learning About the World from Home


32 A Journey in Diversity: Fay Lee 34 Broadening Horizons: Lisa Kerl


36 SMK Pasing Gudang 3: Intercultural Learning Through AFS Clubs


38 Becoming Stronger Through the AFS Experience: Chan Huey- Shen


40 Happenings involving Alumni Contributing Editor: Gaya Velayutham

E-Magazine Coordinator: Zainal I


A Word from



National Director 2015 passed in the blink of an eye.

The highlight for the year is the Partner Network Meeting that AFS Malaysia hosted In October. 150 delegates from 40 countries attended the meeting.


42 Intercultural Fair: Travel Around the World in Half a Day!


44 Legoland: Merasai Dunia Fantasi 48 International: Aalborg Adventures


52 Social Media Buzz 54 AFS MAS Brain Teeser: AFS MAS T-Shirt Design Contest 55 Around the World of AFS 56 Life Quotes

Izuddin Saharudin

Designer: Nurhasliza Sahadi

As part of the “Malaysia Hospitality” we mobilized our volunteer group who worked tirelessly making sure that the meeting went smoothly. Each delegate were assigned an “Angel” to assist them during their stay here. As the year coming was to an end, we received another great news! Mdm Lucy Lim from the Terengganu Chapter received the Galatti Award 2015 – the highest honor to a volunteer given by AFS International in recognition of her tremendous contributions to AFS! As we celebrate International Volunteer Day on the 5th December, I would like to thank all our Volunteers without whom, AFS Malaysia would not be what it is today. “AFS exist because of Volunteers. Volunteerism are who we are & what we are” -Vincenzo Morlini -

Atty Sulaiman AFS Malaysia National Director




Malaysia Welcomes the World Y

ayasan AFS Antarabudaya Malaysia recently hosted the 2015 Partner Network Meeting which saw 150 international delegates converge in Holiday Villa, Subang for a series of meetings and networking sessions. While the overall focus of the PNM was on Program Growth with the theme “Daring to Grow”, Partners from all around the world held Partner-to-Partner (P2P) meetings and shared innovative ideas to grow AFS’s volume in a financially viable way, delivering programs with quality and educational impact. In his speech at the opening dinner, AFS International Chairman Christian Werle said the PNM was held to share successful practices for new program development, explore the drivers


that support growth including leadership, business development, volunteer development, marketing and communications, education/ICL and financial arrangements, and to provide AFS Partners with opportunities to learn about other Partners’ new program offerings and set target numbers for participation. This year’s Network Meeting also featured the first ever AFS Marketplace which resonated with delegates as the real marketplace setting allowed delegates to share and exchange new ideas, programs, strategies—plus develop alliances— in an informal way. The sharing sessions on stage every hour with a moderator facilitating the discussions were also a hit with delegates.



AFS International AGM in progress

Walk together, talk together... and touch hands together too!


AFS Top Brass catch up with each other at the Opening Dinner



VOLUNTEERISM in Action at PNM 2015


oard members, National Office staff, International staff, Chapters, host families and returnees…they all chipped in and were the backbone of the recent Partner Network Meeting and the real reason for its success! Long before the PNM2015 took place, conference calls and meetings were already taking place, connecting Malaysia with the rest of the world through Skype and Go to Meeting schedules. Before D-Day, volunteers were already making the final touches from transportation and

meet and greet arrangements under Luqman Ramli, to his team of Angels assigned to be personal assistants to their own specific group of delegates, to merchandise production, world café set-up, intercultural fair booths, gala dinner games, silent auction and many more details to make the PNM run smoothly in all aspects. The result? A thumbs up from all delegates and AFS International Office itself! President Vincenzo Morlini described the idea for the “Angels” taking personal care of delegates as a brilliant one and

hoped this will be the SOP for future international meets. Those assigned airport duty had their patience tested when several flights were delayed due to inclement weather and delegate arrivals took place in the wee hours of the morning instead of just before midnight. Although there were sleepless nights for many, almost everyone involved described the experience as a once in a lifetime opportunity and that they had learn a lot from it as well as made many new friends!

Volunteers keep watch in a network session


Smiles to greet arriving guests at the Welcome Desk

AFS Hungary’s Greg chats with volunteers before the AGM begins




Study Tour to an Eye Opener


NM2015 delegates who stayed back for the post-conference tour arranged by Perak Chapter were overwhelmed by the hospitality shown by Malaysians at every stage of the programme. The 3 day-2 night tour included tourism attractions like Kellie’s Castle and a night Heritage Walk and a host stay with villagers of Kampung Batu Kurau. Tour participants were also made roving ambassadors of the Yayasan Bina Upaya under the patronage of the Sultan of Perak and with the Perak Chief Minister as advisor. They later visited Sekolah Menengah Sg Perak and were given a traditional welcome by the students and teachers, before being shown around the school. Some participants had the opportunity to join in a monthly CSR activity by the local assemblyman. They distributed food packs and spoke to recipients in those communities, consisting mainly of the disadvantaged. The tour ended on a high note with a visit to the Chemor Waterfalls, a pristine location with lush greenery and dramatic limestone outcrops.


A local villager offers Francisca Del Bosque from AFS Mexico a ride to the waterfall area



A school visit to Sek. Men. Sg Perak afforded delegates direct feedback from students

Suzanne Weigelt of AFS Switzerland stops to smell the distinct aroma of lime leaves


Delegates took part in a CSR Programme where food supplies were distributed to the needy



SILENT AUCTION Gets Loud Applause A

FS Malaysia capitalised on the presence of international delegates to hold a silent auction and raised RM6,000 for scholarships as a result of their generosity. Before delegates arrived for PNM2015, AFS Malaysia had requested partner countries to donate an item that reflected their country or culture for the silent auction. Partners responded to the call and came with items that ranged from the decorative to arts and craft, accessories, clothing, jewellery, foods and even a board game. There were decorative masks from Africa and the South Pacific countries, chocolates from Belgium, glass, silver and ceramic wares from Korea, Japan, Norway, Argentina, Paraguay and Spain, jewellery from the Philippines, clothing from Brazil and Russia and art pieces from the US, Costa Rica and Venezuela. Guests attending the gala dinner which was also the closing ceremony for PNM2015 had the opportunity to make final bids for the donated items and successful bidders walked away satisfied with their purchases and the knowledge that they had done a good deed for deserving students.

Ole! A marble decoration from AFS Spain


Delegates from Iceland and Denmark look through the many items on auction before making their bids Weaved artwork from AFS Bolivia

Jewellery, artworks and handicrafts were among the featured items



Ship ahoy! An item from AFS Germany

Silver Tesere set from AFS Paraguay


Delegates Espress Themselves at World Cafe “The aroma of freshly

brewed coffee is always a delight at every session break and to have many flavors to choose from is also much welcomed. I also like the posters and the charts arranged all around this room as they make for great conversation topics.”

Delegates Espress Themselves at World Cafe


hey did not just wake up and smelt the coffee, they drank them in cupfuls! AFS Malaysia’s idea to Partner countries to bring a pack of their favourite coffee beans was well received and resulted in the World Café sessions having coffee from around the world served during breaks. Three different coffee flavors were introduced daily and enjoyed over cookies and sandwiches, with the most sought after being the South American versions.

The World Café ambiance was further enhanced with posters describing coffee in all its rich goodness and health benefits, Rahiema Bagis-Guerra and a quote chart for delegates to AFS Philippines Chair and stick their favourite quotes as well AAI President as doodling cardboards at every table. According to intercultural

trainer Suyin, the cardboard and crayons were for delegates to visually express and share through scribbles and doodles - their dialogues, thoughts, and ideas with each other, accumulated over sessions to others who would utilize the tables over PNM week. Each table had different question prompts to begin engaging delegates to ponder on their relationship with themselves, their coffee Partner, and with AFS. As AFS Philippines Chair and AAI President Rahiema BagisGuerra said,”The aroma of freshly brewed coffee is always a delight at every session break and to have many flavors to choose from is also much welcomed. I also like the posters and the charts arranged all around this room as they make for great conversation topics.”


Focus PNM 2015 Gala Dinner:



PNM 2015 Gala Dinner Night

AFS Malaysia’s Board Members with Board of Trustees


NM2015’s closing ceremony and fundraising gala dinner saw the 400 guests dressed in blue and the mood anything but, throughout the evening festivities. The theme “Blue is the New Bold”, after the AFS corporate color of blue, set the tone for the entire event, with the ballroom decorated in blue fairy lights, festooned with blue balloons and tables trimmed with blue ribbons and decorated with blue candles. Even our AFS Malaysia Chair, as host of the evening, spoke in rhyme instead of the usual speech style and had everyone laughing when she apologised for the haze by asking everyone to imagine the haze as “romantic silvery vapours from the moors of Wuthering Heights”!


Early guest arrivals had the opportunity to take part in a week-long silent auction by making last minute bids. Other guests took part in an Intercultural Hunt which had them darting from end of the foyer to another searching for answers and doing hilarious tasks. A photo area had guests lining up to take their pictures against a themed backdrop. The night’s entertainment began with 10 YP students performing a series of cultural dances with students

of UiTM. Sending mother and 80s pop sensation Norshila Amin and her YES Returnee son Danial Durrany Norrizan later impressed diners with their upbeat performances and duet, even having Board of Trustee members Reg Smith and Visakha Desai on stage for a joget number. AFS International also took the opportunity to announce five winners of the “ICL In Our Backyard” contest. Congratulations to the following winners: Best Overall: AFS Turkey for Intercultural Learning Courses at Universities Having developed university-level intercultural courses that teach students how to function effectively in cross-cultural business and social settings, AFS Turkey helps students recognize cultural differences, understand what those differences are and learn how to apply that knowledge in real life situations. Most Relevant: AFS Italy for “Learning To Live Together: Humanitarianism, Reconciliation And Education For Plural Societies” international conference. Organized by AFS Italy, this conference convened

Best Dressed winners were feted as a ‘Malay Wedding’ couple!

16 well-known international speakers to discuss case studies of reconciliation and peace education after severe conflicts in South Africa, Bosnia, the Basque countries, Northern Ireland, South Tyrol, Israel and Palestine. These stories of successes and failures set the stage for group discussions with more than 500 international participants. Most Sustainable: AFS Russia for the Learning Course “Global Citizen” AFS Russia was recognized for helping students gain the knowledge, skills and understanding required to live and act appropriately in multicultural settings in their own communities or around the world. The popular course also prepares young people to become responsible citizens and work for a more just and peaceful world. Most Innovative: AFS Philippines for “Traveling Around The Philippines: Understanding Cultural Differences and Increasing Cultural Awareness” cultural awareness program. AFS Philippines was recognized for using creative and innovative storytelling techniques to help vulnerable, out-of-school youth (ages from 3 to 13)

who survived Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) understand the importance of social progress, tolerance, diversity and living peacefully together as good Filipinos. Birthday boy Paul Steiner, Board member of AFS Germany and one-time intern at AFS Malaysia and Puan Rohaya Yusuff, AFS Kedah Chapter President, was surprised with a birthday cake and the entire room singing happy birthday to them. Another highlight was the King and Queen of the Blues awards which were won by Nurinany Yakob, host brother to Andor Nagy from Hungary and Raquel Martinez, Creative Director of AFS International in a ceremony reminiscent of a bersanding’ (Malay wedding) rite, complete with bunga telor, bunga manggar and kompang playing in the background! The evening ended with Partner Countries giving mementos and tokens of appreciation to the host country Malaysia and then the partying officially began with music and dancing, although some delegates took the party further into KL City until the wee hours of the morning!



Exchange students performing a dance medley with UITM students as the opening act

Grab a prop, Strike a pose! Guests having fun at the Gala Dinner Photo Corner


Vincenzo Morlini addressing dinner guests

Impromptu ‘back-up dancers’ accompany local singer Nurshila Amin in her performance



Media Blitz on AFS W

ith the spotlight on AFS Malaysia during the recent Partner Network Meeting, local media capitalised on the presence of international experts and our own Board members to conduct interviews and promote the programme to listeners and readers.

Illinois,USA for their talk show to be broadcasted in November 2015.

Meantime, our Chair Khalilah Talha and AFS International’s Chief Education Officer Melissa Liles were interviewed by The Malaysian Insider who were interested in how the intercultural experience can lead iM4U fm, a radio station to greater respect, acceptance and advocating youth empowerment understanding in a multi-racial and volunteerism, kicked off the and multi-cultural society. New promotions with a session on the Straits Times Malaysia has also #hardsell noon chat show with Elis interviewed Khalilah and exchange Motta, Organization and Volunteer student Andor Nagyfrom Hungary Development Consultant for AFS and two host families for an insight Intercultural Programs, New York. into the AFS programmes and how Business radio station Bfm later the experience has impacted their recorded an interview with AFS lives. Board of Director Dato’Mahadzhir Lokman, AFS International’s “More visibility will create more Board of Trustees from Costa interest and hopefully more Rica & Returnee to Delaware, participation from potential USA, Guillermo Barquero students and families as well as Chacon and Lisa Kerl, AFS 18+ greater and more meaningful Community Service Participant at government support,” said the AFS Antarabudaya Malaysia Khalilah. “We hope to do more National Office & Returnee to relationship building with the

Guillermo from AFaS Costa Rica with Dato’ Mahadzhir Lokman and Lisa Kerl at BFM’s studio


media. Chapters and Alumni too can do their part in promoting AFS by creating events and activities that are newsworthy and can draw public attention and interest,” she added. To read the full story published on New Sunday Times, Learning Curves, please click here: http:// bit.ly/1ONaJJA

“More visibility will

create more interest and hopefully more participation from potential students and families as well as greater and more meaningful government support.” Khalilah Mohd Talha

AFS Malaysia Chairperson

New Straits Times Journalist interviewing exchange student Andor Nagy from Hungary

AFS Malaysia Chair Khalilah Talha and AFS International’s Chief Education Officer Melissa Liles were interviewed by The Malaysian Insider

Youth radio station, iM4Ufm chatted with Elis Molta


Focus Challenges in Volunteerism


etaining volunteers is a key challenge in this technology-driven world according to panellists at a Volunteer Impact Forum organised by AFS Malaysia in conjunction with the Partner Network Meeting held recently.

Mercy Malaysia believes volunteer organisations become successful when they are responsible to their beneficiaries and not themselves. There must be accountability and integrity which should be a culture among all levels of the organisation.

Moderated by Elisabeth Hardt, the panellists were Rudi Malik of iM4U, Danutcha Catriona Singh of Sols24/7, Shah Fiesal Hussain of Mercy Malaysia and Rohaya Md Yusoff representing AFS Malaysia.

AFS Kedah Chapter President, Rohaya said that volunteerism has changed over the years. People are no longer as keen on long term volunteerism but more on short term or project basis. “We need to tailor voluntary opportunities to the needs and While a recent local study found youths to be bored, interests of young people so that they can step up Rudi believed social media is a strong tool to gauge and take on leadership roles,” she added. their interests and tastes and when such data is collected and analysed effectively, it can be used to Earlier, Lucas Welter of AFS International presented pull in these youths through popular culture. “A light his study on “Five Drivers that Keep People is then sparked and a fire will be created if fanned Volunteering” which included task achievement, correctly. They will champion a cause through a skills development, self-rewarding, impact and sense of ownership and identification and create a influence. movement of their own,” he added. In her opening remarks, AFS Chair and Forum host Sols24/7, Danutcha Catriona Singh said the Khalilah Talha said the venue for the forum was expectations of volunteers must be managed from held outside of the PNM official venue to give an the recruitment stage itself and that there should be opportunity to delegates to explore Kuala Lumpur proper training and an adequate support system for city and a welcome break from hotel food! She also them. “Communications must be dynamic and if thanked the forum committee headed by Eisya Sofia, something does not work, change it.” describing the event as one organised “by volunteers, for volunteers and of volunteers”.

From left: Shah Fiasal Hussain, Rudi Malik, Elisabeth Hardt, Danutcha Catriona and Rohaya Md. Yusoff


Above and below: The forum sparked side discussions amongst delegates


Focus Igniting Volunteers Through

VC2015 T

he past, present and future were ignited at the recent Volunteer Congress 2015 when delegates were reminded of AFS’ raison d’etre, its current positioning and where it is heading during the three-day event themed “Ignite – Looking Back, Moving Forward.”

and self-fulfillment to sustain volunteer numbers and increase their motivation level,” she added.

Chapter volunteers, returnees, staff and Board members attended the Congress. The event was first held in 2008 to celebrate International Volunteers Day which falls on 5 Organised by volunteers for December every year. Past themes volunteers, a marketplace was held have included “Together We Can”, in conjunction with the congress to “Diversity & Inclusiveness” and enable chapters, Alumni & National “Rockin’ Volunteers”. Office to share their early history and key milestones. Mementos, Two ICL Level W workshops ran memorabilia & paraphernalia independently at the same time were used to tell their respective for a different set of volunteers, stories and afforded delegates with namely returnees, Hosting & the opportunity to understand and Sending Families, as well as engage more meaningfully with chapter volunteers who did not each other throughout the event. meet the two-year minimum volunteering criteria required of Concurrent sessions offering four Congress delegates. topics of interest – Public Speaking, Event Management, Social Media “We try to give them and Story Telling – were also held a treat by throwing to enhance knowledge and develop skills in delegates. in some perks and An appreciation dinner with the organizing workshops theme of Prom Night saw the crowning of a Prom King and for personal Queen and awards being out to Best development, skills Chapter, Best Young Inspirational enhancement and Leader and Best Potential Leader. “The Volunteer Congress is an event to recognize our volunteers who have tirelessly served their time, effort & energy to AFS,” said the Congress Facilitator, Annie Yap. “We try to give them a treat by throwing in some perks and organizing workshops for personal development, skills enhancement


self-fulfillment to sustain volunteer numbers and increase their motivation level,”

Annie Yap,

Congress Facilitator

Participants of VC2015 listening intently to the briefing

Representatives from all chapters busy decorating their chapter booths for a market place session


Chapter Chats

Perak Chapter F

or this edition, we interviewed Mr. Santheran Appasamy- Chapter President of Perak Chapter. The chapter was recently awarded the best Chapter Award at the Volunteer Congress 2015. Can you please introduce your Chapter and share with us how your affiliation with AFS Malaysia began? I got to know about AFS Malaysia through Mr Thiruchelvam Subramaniam. We started with hosting exchange students and slowly got involved with the chapters as volunteers. Back then, the chapter was known as Kinta Chapter. What are some of the activities that Perak chapter has conducted and please explain the impact towards the target audience? Usually, our chapter organizes many activities for both our high school and 18+ participants. We take them to ‘Orang Asli Village’ and arrange for festival families to host participants during national holidays such as Deepavali, Hari Raya and Chinese New Year. We also conduct a lot of local outdoor activities like volunteering with local non-profit organization


such as Yayasan Bina Upaya Perak.

chapter also cond visibility of the The main reason of us sending our students visits, and state o and 18+ volunteers to festival families is introduce AFS to the general public. During What can a stud the handing over ceremony, we will invite the look forward to hosting families to public gathering and hand opportunities? over. Indirectly we are conducting our road There are many show. Our VIP’s too help us in our activities experiencing the and introduce us to Perak State Government. culture to discov We too get the opportunity to take part in State Each state has its Official Functions. encourage other Perak whenever t What is the biggest challenge you face? How do you overcome or mitigate such What does Pera challenges? in the next 3-5 ye Our main challenge is to get host families. With the support Sometime it’s difficult to get host families. are trying our ver It’s hard to convince these families to host garnering support an exchange participant on volunteer basis. ministers. We ho However, our chapter activities has help us activities, we wil tremendously in securing host families and from State Gover Community Placement Organization. This is AFS Study Abroa why we encourage festival exchange in our Chapters as it helps to increase AFS Visibility in the state. Besides, festival exchanges, the

ducts roadshow to increase the organization through school official functions.

dent who is placed in Perak o in terms of intercultural

y things to discover from Malay, Chinese and Indian vering the state uniqueness. s own culture and that’s why participants to be hosted in the opportunity arises.

ak Chapter hope to achieve ears? of our chapter volunteers, we ry best to mold the chapter by t from State Level leaders and ope through many events and ll be able to gain sponsorship rnment to send Malaysians on ad Programs.


Family Highlights

Learning About the World from Home


ecently, you won the #AFSMY Instagram Contest organized by AFS Malaysia. In the contest entry, you briefly explained your involvement with AFS Malaysia as a host family. To date your family have hosted four exchange students. Please elaborate further your experience as a host family. We started hosting back in 2011. We hosted a girl from the United States, her name was Alexa Zapata. I knew about AFS Malaysia from one of my counselors at school and I told my parents that it would be a great experience to be hosting a student from another country. My parents were very interested too, so we signed up for it and a few weeks later Mr Khoo, Negeri Sembilan Chapter President came to our house to interview the whole family and thus began our AFS journey. Since that first year, we have not looked back. We have hosted a girl from the US, Italy, Belgium and currently, Natsuho Suzuki from Japan. I must say, by hosting we have learnt a lot about other cultures and religions. Our family members also grew as it extended to the host student’s family. In fact, we consider their parents and their siblings like our own too. Even their cousins! That is one of the things that make hosting a student so much fun.

differences was not easy, but my family and I know that we need to be open and accept it. If it’s a good thing, we would implement it in our daily lives but if it’s not, we would explain why it’s a bad thing and so far, all of my host sisters seem to understand and accept our explanation. That makes our hosting experience much easier! Why would you recommend a Malaysian family to be a host family? Can you share some of the learnings from your own experience in hosting an exchange student? I personally would recommend Malaysians to step forward and host an exchange student. Being a host family is a great learning experience for everyone involved.

Some of our best shared practices are that we must be as neutral as possible. Try to accept your host child with an open heart. If they ever do anything wrong, or anything you don’t agree with, try talking to them in a polite way but emphasise on the problems or issues. Do not keep it to yourself. Treat them like your own child and trust me they will love you the same way they love their parents! Hosting is not an easy task, but if you’re planning on hosting, please keep your expectations low because the higher the expectations What made you want to volunteer as a host family are, the more frustrating they can be when the reality for more than one time? is not what you had imagined. Last but not least, enjoy The reason why we’ve hosted more than once is hosting and just have fun! because we just love hosting so much! Hosting is a huge part of our family now, it would feel really weird Currently you are hosting an exchange student to not say “I have four siblings which include a host from Japan. How has that experience been for sister” . There was one time when my mum decided your family? not to host any student, and it felt really strange. The We are currently hosting Natsuho from Japan. For whole house felt “empty”, so that’s when we decided the first few months, we had so much difficulties in to host Jelena Geerardyn from Belgium. conversing with her since she can’t speak English. My parents would google translate everything they want to say to her in Japanese and show it to her. But How does it feel to host an international son/ we never made a huge deal about it. As time passed, daughter in your family? How did you overcome we taught her how to speak Bahasa Melayu and now the cultural differences and challenges? she speaks the language like a true Malay! One more There are times where you would feel extremely thing about her, she is now addicted to spicy food excited and happy having an international sister/ especially my mum’s Sambal Hitam! Overall, I would daughter in our family but of course there are times say it is such a pleasure to be hosting her! where we would argue and feel sad about each other. Obviously, there are challenges but we manage to solve it as a family. Overcoming the cultural


“As time passed, we taught her how to speak Bahasa

Melayu and now she speaks the language like a true Malay! One more thing about her, she is now addicted to spicy food especially my mum’s Sambal Hitam.Overall, I would say it is such a pleasure to be hosting her.” Syahira Aidaa Azman Host Sister

Aidaa Azman recently won the grand prize of #AFSMY Instagram contest. Check out her Instagram entry at http://bit.ly/1HPFN3x


Malaysia Moments

FAY LEE: A Journey

in Diversi

wedding, gone hiking, performed a traditional dance for AFS delegates from all over the world, spent three days in a jungle for the Delayed Orientation and most recently, we went to a food festival. The volunteers are here for us as advisors and as friends. A couple of my favorite experiences are going with my host family to Terengganu for Hari Raya, and living for an entire week with Alex from the US, Andor from Hungary and Lucia from Spain when we were preparing for our dance performance. Some other interesting experiences include fasting with my family during Ramadan and going with them to prayers, seeing the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, going to the KL Eco Film Fest, spontaneously visiting Selangor’s state mosque with a friend from school and spending a day at the beautiful Batu Caves.

With Lucia from Spain and Julie from the US, right before their dance performance at the AFS Gala Dinner.


ello! My name is Fay. I’m 17 years old and from Olympia, WA, USA. Currently, I’m living in the state of Selangor under the AFS Damansara Chapter as a youth ambassador with the YES Abroad program. I ranked Malaysia very high (number two out of 12 country options) because I was intrigued by the diversity of language, religion and culture. Despite the natural challenges that come with being an exchange student, my experience so far has been wonderful, and AFS Malaysia volunteers have really helped me make the most of this journey. Thanks to their efforts, my chapter has participated in a Malay


Malaysia has so much to offer and is quite unique in its geography, natural beauty and of course, language and cultural diversity. There are opportunities for immersion in Chinese, Indian and Malay culture, as well as learning or practicing languages like English, Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and Tamil. I’ve visited Buddhist temples, mosques and Hindu temples, and in Kuala Lumpur there’s a bustling Chinatown and Little India. Although the majority of students at my school by far are Malay, I’ve made amazing Chinese and Indian friends as well as Malay friends. Also, since I’m in a Malay family, AFS Malaysia will arrange three day mini-exchanges for me so I can experience Indian and Chinese culture. For example, I celebrated Diwali with an Indian family and will experience Chinese New Year with a Chinese family. Living in Malaysia and experiencing the multiethnicity as well as the positive and negative impacts of rapid development truly is eye opening. Although everyone has personal preferences, I definitely encourage future AFS participants to consider Malaysia as a destination. I’m just four months into my year-long stay, but already, I feel so lucky to have been placed here and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.


With fellow American, Alexandra Jaouiche at Batu Caves Buying food for Iftar at the local Bazaar Ramadan.

Fay with her host family

“Living in Malaysia and

experiencing the multi-ethnicity as well as the positive and negative impacts of rapid development truly is eye opening. Although everyone has personal preferences, I definitely encourage future AFS participants to consider Malaysia as a destination.“

Fay Lee,

Host Student from the USA


Malaysia Moments


Broadening Horizons


y name is Lisa and I am currently a participant on the 18+ Program. I am from Germany and my Community Project Organization is the AFS National Office. I am hosted in Gombak under Ampang Chapter. Before I came to Malaysia, I had met a few South East Asian exchange students and all of them impressed me with their politeness, general happiness and optimism. This made me interested to find out more about the region. Malaysia was my first choice simply because one of my very good friends during my exchange year in the US was a YES student from Malaysia. It was only when I arrived here that I realized the diversity of Malaysian society and its richness in culture and tradition which makes it so attractive for an intercultural exchange.


I have not regretted the decision to come to Malaysia. I am also very lucky that my experience has been

a very positive one. If you want to imagine what my work is like, just think of it as volunteering for AFS‌except it extends to weekends too. My experience living with a Malaysian family has been equally wonderful. I get to eat lots of good food and see many different places. Being able to witness a lot of traditions has broadened my horizon and I am very thankful to my family for all of it. Of course not everything is smooth. One of my challenges was (and still is) learning Bahasa Malaysia. Compared to other foreign languages I have studied, it is a language that is actually quite easy to learn. Ironically, that is what threw me off the first few months. Being used to highly complex grammar in the languages of German, French and Latin, I kept looking for the equivalents in BM. Instead of just seeing the language from a new perspective and trying to understand whatever I hear, I held back on learning it fully.


The fact that I was never a ‘language’-type of person and low-key with my ambitions, also played a part in my reticence. So, after 10 months of being in Malaysia, I usually answer to ‘Boleh cakap Bahasa Malaysia ke?’ with ‘Sikit-sikit, tapi saya faham’, which is a fact. However, I will definitely keep trying to improve my BM, even when I go back to Germany.

festive host families for showing me so much cultural diversity!

I would definitely recommend Malaysia as a hosting country to anyone who is ready for hot weather, spicy food and culture-shock and wants to experience living in a multi-cultural country. At the same time, I would advise them to be equipped with a lot of There are a lot of good memories from my time patience, a very open-mind, a willingness to look into here that I will cherish for a lifetime. This includes and understand new perspectives and the ability to celebrating all the major holidays with my festive adapt their lifestyle. I am glad that I came without host families. I especially appreciate Hari Raya any expectations and was just ready to embrace which comes after a month of fasting (which I mostly everything. My naivety aided me in the adaptation completed by the way!). Never have I appreciated process. It also helps that I am also always surrounded water and food so much as at breaking of fast time. by AFSers who are so understanding of the mistakes During Chinese New Year and Deepavali, I was able and the culture shocks I went through. Thank you all to experience the serenity of the countryside, which for your kindness and patience! showed me a different side of Malaysia, and also new foods I had not tried before. Thank you to all my


School Spotlight

SMK Pasir Gudang 3:

Intercultural Learning Through AFS Clubs


uan Suryati Bt Tikon, Principal of SMK Pasir Gudang recently spared few minutes to have a chat with Budaya Beat about the AFS club the school has recently set up.

The AFS Club of SMK Pasir Gudang 3, a schoolbased Intercultural Club that was first set up in April 2015 has now gradually evolved. This club comprises 43 students from the age 15 to 17 and two teacher advisors (Pn. Vasantha and Pn Shoba). The AFS Club is mentored and guided by AFS Malaysia. As an educator herself, Puan Suryati believes that learning is a never ending process. She fully supports the curriculum modules the AFS club has as it helps to enhance the interest of the students on intercultural learning. She sees the interest growing as the number of participants in the club is steadily growing. When asked about the vision she has for the AFS Club, Puan Suriyati said, “The club is very new and still at an infant stage. We hope to slowly grow it to a bigger entity and have more activities organized. We also hope to start including foreign exchange students from all over Malaysia in the club one day.” “It was not very easy to set it up. It was difficult to gain full support from school administrators. We had to be very organized and ensure that the vision and goal of setting up an AFS Club was clear. It was also very important to ensure the evolvement of the club.” As an educator, Puan Suryati strongly believes that school remains the most visible educational


institution, and its role is central to the development of society. She further added, “That is why intercultural understanding through AFS Clubs in school is the most relevant platform in shaping education for the 21st century.” AFS Club at SMK Pasir Gudang 3, comes with a tagline of “Growing. Learning. Changing The World”. Puan Suryati and her two advisors strive to ensure that the setting up of an AFS Club will make a difference in the school community and instil understanding on the importance of global peace in order to make the world a better place to live in. Club members are exposed to various activities including playing intercultural games, getting involved with local crafts and having debates on intercultural topics.

“It was not very easy to

set it up. It was difficult to gain full support from school administrators. We had to be very organized and ensure that the vision and goal of setting up an AFS Club was clear. It was also very important to ensure the evolvement of the club.� Puan Suryati Bt Tikon,

Principal of SMK Pasir Gudang


Returnee Reflections Chan Huey-Shen: Becoming

Stronger Through the AFS Experience M

y name is Chan Huey-Shen, but people know me as Shen. I’m currently studying in Sunway College doing a pre-u course. I finished high school in SMK Convent Ipoh in 2013 and I went to Argentina for my AFS year in March 2014. It was filled with ups and downs, tears and laughter, pain and happiness. I would say the biggest challenge for me was my homestay experience with my host family. My host dad is a doctor and my host mom is a lawyer. They have an only daughter. We were very different in our personalities and I had to adjust and adapt to the different family lifestyle. My favourite moment of my exchange was when i went to Brazil with my classmates. We went sightseeing, partied by the beach and did loads of shopping. I got to bond with my friends and had fun with them. We ventured into street food hunting and ate most of the delicacies there. I even managed to find Maggie Mee, which was a real thrill as I had not had Maggie noodles for almost a year. The AFS experience has impacted me a great deal. It has taught me to get out of my comfort zone and be more independent. Living with people whom you barely know is a big step for anyone. I never thought that I would have made so many friends in that one year. More than anything, I’ve learnt to eat vegetables, something I had disliked since I was young! AFS has boosted up my confidence and allowed me to socialise and not judge people. I find it so much easier now to talk to people of different cultures and background. Another big advantage that was given to me by AFS is being able to speak fluent Spanish. I now can read, write and understand Spanish and I did this all within the first 4 months of my experience. It was difficult at first but when I got the hang of it, I found it more interesting. Being able to speak Spanish now has definitely helped me in my work with Nike, when I had a few customers from Argentina, Venezuela and Mexico. The AFS experience is the best thing any child could ever have. You gain a new family, new friends, new language and a new culture. A most memorable and learning experience indeed!


“The AFS experience

has impacted me a great deal. It has taught me to get out of my comfort zone and be more independent. Living with people whom you barely know is a big step for anyone.�


Alumni in Action

Alumni participating in Level 1 Intercultural Learning Workshop at Grand Dorsett Subang for 3 D 2 N. Host Family, Sending Parents and Volunteers also participated in the workshop as well

Returnees opened up a booth at Intercultural Fair: Passport to the World 2015 at Grand Dorsett Subang. Chairman of AFS Malaysia, Khalilah Talha, YP to Denmark and Ratchana IP to Denmark were on duty to attend to queries


Nurul Huda, USA returnee (far right) performs an Indian dance at the Intercultural Fair with her Ampang chapter volunteers

France returnees engaging with booth visitors and sharing knowledge about France and their AFS experience

Italy returnees promoting the country through foods and coffee



Travel Around the World in Half a Day!


isitors to AFS Malaysia’s Intercultural Fair were treated to a quick trip around the world with the many international booths, games, cultural exhibits and performances at the event. Held in conjunction with AFS Partner Network Meeting 2015, the fair also provided AFS partners with an opportunity to promote their organisation and destinations to a Malaysian audience.

Greg from AFS Hungary tries on the warrior look!

Visitors engage in a game of congkak


The highlights of the fair included song and dance performances from Khazakhstan and Ampang Chapter’s Indian dance, traditional costumes and games from several countries and food samplings from different cultures. Returnees from Italy made latte for sale while French desserts were sought after by more than 300 crowd who turned up. Argentina had visitors try their ‘mate’ tea, the exotic and juicy taste of pomelo was sampled at the Perak Chapter booth, liquorice and Danish butter cookies was served at the Denmark booth and nachos and other popular snacks was enjoyed at the USA booth. A wall hanging of 1,000 colorful origami paper birds, painstakingly and lovingly folded over several days by volunteers and office staff, was a favourite photo stop for visitors while a feature wall of ‘Notes to the World’ was another hit with members of the public. School children and students also found the idea of passports to be stamped at selected booths a novel idea and many were seen hurrying

from booth to booth to do just that, especially just before closing time. Even AFS International Chair Christian Werle got into the action and contributed his personal well wishes to the world on the feature wall. Fair Organiser Suyin Chia said, “The objective of the event was to educate Malaysian youths about countries other than Malaysia especially about their society, religion, culture, traditions and opportunities through food, music, games and cultural interests.” “The Fair engaged visitors in an informal experiential learning environment, emphasizing AFS’s belief in out-of–theclassroom experience in personal, interpersonal, cultural and global growth,” Suyin explained. “Through taste, touch, experiments, imitations, games, art and discussions, we can achieve this insight and appreciation of different cultures.

“The Fair engaged

visitors in an informal experiential learning environment, emphasizing AFS’s belief in out-of–theclassroom experience in personal, interpersonal, cultural and global growth,”

Suyin Chia,

Fair Organizer away from home with students and their families,“ said Ratchana., a returnee of the Ranum Efterskole programme, who was dressed in a traditional Danish costume and handing out flyers for AFS Denmark and promotional materials contributed by the Royal Danish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

AFS Malaysia Chair Khalilah Talha hoped such fairs will be organised annually in future. “Based on the success of this event, we are encouraged to organize more intercultural based events that can attract and engage local communities. We believe we can be a leader in developing intercultural awareness beyond the cultural iceberg surface through such activities. By opening up more platforms for our community to talk about cultural differences, the Malaysian identity, and the opportunities found therein, we will be better able to bridge cultures AFS Returnees manning the and respect our differences in the booths also found the experience real sense,” she added. an enriching one. “We had the opportunity to share about our program experience and our home “We also wanted also to emphasize on local diversity, to delegitimize the notion that sovereign nations have only one or a few stereotypical national culture. The variety of booths from AFS Chapters therefore served to represent the sum of Malaysia and its uniqueness in different geographical areas, as well as an opening for Partners to meet with local volunteers, and understand the various exchange realities their students face when on exchange to Malaysia,” she added.

Dulio of AFS Portugal leaves his message to the world

Mr. Khoo of AFS Negeri Sembilan explains to AFS International Chair Christian Werle about bamboo blowpipes

A family successfully completes the ‘Røde Grøde Med Fløde’ challenge

Ranum Efterskole returnee Irina explains to visitors about her Danish experience


Travel Tales - Domestic

LEGOLAND: Merasai Dunia Fantas B

agi yang meminati permainan Lego, Legoland Pengunjung boleh meneroka Lego City, Land of di Nusajaya, Johor adalah tempat percutian yang Adventure, Imagination, Miniland, Lego Kingdoms sesuai untuk anda sekeluarga. dan Lego Technic. Jika dibandingkan dengan Universal Studios Singapore, Legoland adalah lebih sesuai untuk kanak-kanak di mana kebanyakan permainan di sini lebih mesra untuk mereka. Namun begitu, ia turut menyediakan sesuatu yang istimewa untuk semua peringkat umur. Legoland berasal dari Denmark dan perkataan Lego itu sendiri bermaksud “main� (leje). Taman Legoland yang pertama didirikan di Billund tetapi Legoland hanya berkembang di beberapa negara lain setelah Merlin Entertainments dari UK membeli syarikat asal itu. Secara ringkasnya, Legoland terbahagi kepada beberapa segmen. Setiap segmen pula menyajikan 3 atau 4 permainan yang tersendiri. Konsep Legoland menekankan aspek pembelajaran, pemahaman dan epistemology.


Ketika bercuti hujung tahun bersama keluarga nanti, pastikan lawatan ke Johor dan Legoland termasuk di dalam perancangan tersebut! Tips:1. Minum air yang banyak kerana kawasan sekitar Legoland agak berbahang dan panas 2. Bawa payung atau pakai topi 3. Kepada yang membawa bayi atau anak-anak kecil, anda boleh menyewa ‘stroller’ di sini 4. Sekiranya anda datang dari utara, terus ke Legoland menerusi susur keluar Senai Utara. Ikut papantanda dan anda akan terus ke Legoland kira-kira 20-30 minit 5. Sebaik sampai di Legoland, rebut peluang untuk menaiki keretapi Legoland Express terlebih dahulu kerana ia memudahkan anda memilih segmen mana yang anda perlu terokai dan lebih menarik bagi anda sekeluarga


Legoland Malaysia juga menyasarkan 1.5 juta pengunjung menjelang pembukaannya dan menjana lebih daripada RM 100 juta pada tahun pertama operasinya.


Bangunan Stesen Keretapi Sultan Abdul Samad

Replika Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru dibina menggunakan lego


“The Dragon roller coaster� me

enjadi tumpuan utama di Legoland

Patung comel pelbagai aksi dipaparkan

Mercu tanda Malaysia turut dicipta di Legoland


Travel Tales - International - International

Aalborg Adventure R

anum Efterskole is one of the Intensive Programmes offered by AFS Malaysia where students get to stay in a boarding facility located in picturesque natural surroundings and open fields. Ranum was established around the year 1100 and has been an attractive village throughout the last millennium, famous for its educational heritage with the first teaching college established in 1848. Although Ranum is quaint, the nearest city to Ranum about 45km away offers more for the visitor. Aalborg is Denmark’s fourth-largest city, situated in an area that has attracted settlements as far back as the Iron Age leading to a thriving Viking community until around the year 1000. On Lindholm Høje, a hill overlooking the city, the sites of what were two Viking settlements and a burial ground can be seen. Traditionally Aalborg was ignored by foreign travellers, but there are enough diversions here to occupy a day or two for most visitors.

Then there is Aalborg’s old city hall, built in 1762. Designed in the Late Baroque style, the building with its black-glazed tile roof consists of two stories and a cellar. Another old building of note is the halftimbered Håndværkerhuset which in 1625 housed a number of warehouses. It is now used as a centre for arts and crafts. The noted architect Jørn Utzon, famous for his design of the Sydney Opera House, has a centre dedicated in his honor in this city. Born in Copenhagen, Utzon grew up in Aalborg. The Utzon Centre contains an exhibition on Utzon’s work as well as educational displays on architecture and design.

Another must-see is the Nordkraft, a cultural centre placed inside a former power plant near the harbour. It has theatres, a cinema, and concert facilities. Kunsthal Nord, established in the centre in 2009, arranges up to five exhibitions a year of all forms of contemporary art, especially of local origin but also Those more historically inclined would find the from other parts of Denmark and beyond. architecture around the city impressive. Jens Bang’s House on Østerågade near the old town hall, is one of Aalborg’s ‘lifestyle attractions’ (shopping and Denmark’s best examples of 17th-century domestic dining), and indeed its restaurants are one of the architecture. For over 300 years, it has housed the city’s best features. Jomfru Ane Gade is the most city’s oldest pharmacy. famous street in Aalborg if not in Denmark. Popular for its cafés and restaurants during the day, it is even Jørgen Olufsen’s House is Denmark’s best preserved busier at night with its clubs, discos and bars. During merchant’s mansion in the Renaissance style. Built the 1990s, the street was infamously a ‘hang out’ of mainly of sandstone in 1616, it also has a half- two biker gangs who were at war for some years all timbered section. Olufsen, Jens Bang’s half- brother, over Scandinavia but as the bikers disappeared, it was not only a successful merchant but also mayor became increasingly popular for people of all ages. of Aalborg. Every year in the last weekend of May, Aalborg gears No Danish city would be complete without a castle up to receive more than 100,000 visitors to its city and Aalborghus Castle (Aalborghus Slot), built in for the Aalborg Carnival, the biggest in Scandinavia the mid-16th century by King Christian III for his and one of the largest in northern Europe. It consists vassals who collected taxes, is the only remaining of three events: the children’s carnival, the battle of example of its kind in the country. The park, dungeon carnival bands, and the carnival proper, to cater to all and casemates, but not the castle itself, are open to ages and tastes. the public in the summer months.


A well-preserved 17th Century timbered mansion, one of many historical buildings in downtown Aalborg




mfru Ane Gade is the city’s popular nightlife and entertainment street

Lindholm Hoje- remains of a viking settlement

The annual week-long Aalborg Carnival involves a Grand Parade that attracts about 100,000 people on the streets of the city


Social Media Buzz Here are some highlights from our various Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts over the past months. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram and Like us on Facebook! @AFSMalaysia

AFS Malaysia

Facebook highlights

AFS Malaysia’s Facebook activities have been receiving a lot of likes and these are some of our most liked posts! We organized an Instagram Contest, featured a few of our events like Level W Workshops and we even posted our new office at Kelana Jaya when we got excited over a clear blue sky after weeks of hazy days! One of the biggest hits post was when we asked our AFSers to sum up their AFS experience in 5 emojis!



Twitter Talk

We increased our Twitter followers to more than 500! Some of the favourite tweets were when we posted about our BFM radio interviews, featured AFS Malaysia’s orientation activities and shared an info graphic on volunteerism!

Instagram Insights

A main highlight for Instagram was of course the contest itself! Some of our most beloved photos were Deepavali festival photos, AFS celebrating Youth day and the Intercultural Fair 2015. Don’t forget to follow us #afsmalaysia on Instagram!



Around the World of AFS OCTOBER 2015

International Workshop for Peace Ambassadors

This one day event shares the story of the great works of Mahatma Gandhi and share experiences, values and actions to foster peace. Date: October 3 Venue: Penang Gandhi Peace Centre (PGPC) NOVEMBER 2015

Spastic Annual Charity Fund Walk

As usual SCI KL joins Spastic Selangor and FT for their Annual Charity Fund. Part of the collection goes to support our Community, Charity, Voluntary Projects and Activities. Date: November 8 Venue: Padang Merbok DECEMBER 2015

3-in-1: No Hate Speech Workshop + APM / ICM + Work camp Service Civil International, Sri Lanka 2-20 December 2015

Human Rights Day - Capturing - issues relating to Human Right ... and what’s not right over here in our beloved Malaysia Taman Zooview, Kuala Lumpur 10 December 2015

Group Workcamp - SCI Malaysia and SCI HK

Hosting a group workcamp with Yayasan Salam, Malaysia + SCI Hong Kong + the Orang Asli Community at Kg Pertak Kg. Pertak, Kuala Kubu Baru 29 December 2015 FEBRUARY 2016

2016 AFS Academy

European Youth Centre, Budapest, Hungary: 10-20 February 2016 APRIL

India Study Tour Delhi, India 26-29 April 2016


Life Quotes AFSers, whether Board Members, Staff, Returnees or Volunteers, share quotes that they live by.




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