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BUBA UK Higher Education Fair: The Event

Greetings Readers! This afternoon I attended the British Universities Brunei Association (BUBA) Higher Education Fair today at the Rizqun International Hotel. The afternoon saw hundreds of students and their parents mingling with representatives from 11 universities and one college from the UK. As I walked around the hall, I was brought back to the time I attended an Australian education fair which eventually landed me an offer to study in Australia. My guess is that most of the students present were between the ages of 17 and 19. I am no mind reader but I am sure many were wondering "which university should I apply to?", "should I go to the UK?", "what course do I enroll into?" and the parents on deck were probably wondering "how much?"

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The event started with an address by Mr Charlie Carter, the Chair of the BUBA who recognised His Excellency Rob Fenn's (British High Commissioner) foresight in engaging with UK universities who had close links with Brunei even before his tenure in Brunei began. Mr Carter also highlighted that "the Brunei students who come to UK universities are a credit to (our) nation" and that there are frequent reports of how well Bruneian students integrate into local communities. His Excellency Rob Fenn then announced that the British High Commission would be again hosting the Digital Scrap Book from October 2011.

I spoke to some of the students, parents and representatives.

Nadiah was waiting to speak to the University of Southampton and is keen to pursue a degree in Fine Arts. Nadiah said that studying in the UK appealed to her because she wanted to experience living and studying in the UK. Marwan is a final year Mechanical Engineering student from Loughborough University. Marwan said that his parents are UK alumni which was a factor in his education there. Hamiz wants to study in the UK because of the experience and exposure it would offer him; he is keen to pursue a degree in Politics.

Nadiah with Cousin Dennis

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Hamiz and Marwan

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Shafiq and his daughter

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Bing and Didi

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Photograph with Mr Charlie Carter

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Shafiq was there because his daughter is keen to study in the UK. Shafiq shared his concerns about his daughter's welfare being in a new place without any family or friends and the new circles she would be exposed to, however recognised that this was part of the journey of growing up. Bing was representing Bangor University and spoke with pride as he shared about the excellence and history of his university. Bing also spoke about the high living quality and affordable cost of living in Bangor.

There are many who select colleges and universities based on familial links, rank of excellence, academic costs, etc and then there are those who rely heavily on these types of events which make them so valuable. Many students between the ages of 17 and 19 do not yet know what they want to be when they 'grow up'. I know I did not. For many Bruneians, the decision to study abroad is often a family decision. These decisions are influenced by a number of factors, perhaps most directly by the initial point of contact between student and guardian to the representative. And what an important decision this is.

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The following institutions were represented this afternoon: Bangor University, University of Bristol, University of East Anglia, University of Glamorgan, University of Liverpool, Loughborough College, Loughborough University, The University of Manchester, The University of Nottingham, University of Southampton, University of Wales Institute (Cardiff), and University of the West of England.

About BUBA: The British Universities Brunei Association (BUBA) is an association of 40+ UK Universities who each have a strong interest and history of working with the country of Brunei and its students. The aim of the organisation is to promote relationships and develop understanding between British Universities and all Brunei students or organisations who are interested in UK Higher Education. The BUBA can provide students information regarding the differences between UK Universities, the locations of UK Universities, the Brunei student communities at the different UK Universities, how to apply to UK Universities, how to contact your University of choice and how to meet staff from your University of choice (in Brunei).

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