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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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    Discovering cultural differences, bridging the gaps

    As a testament to the strength of global cooperation, a delegation of seven individuals from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Malaysia’s esteemed partner university, recently embarked on a transformative journey lasting 14 days in mid-February 2024. The program offered a range of enriching experiences covering academia, community engagement, intercultural activities, and cultural immersion. Comprising two lecturers and five students, the delegation departed from KLIA airport on February 20, 2024, eagerly anticipating diverse traditions and perspectives while looking forward to engaging with counterparts at HTW Saar and beyond.

    One notable highlight of their visit involved a touching community project alongside the local community at HTW Saar. This project took place at the AWO Hohenzollern Daycare Center, where the delegation interacted with local children, fostering strong bonds of affection and cultural understanding. During the project, the delegation had the opportunity to teach the children dance routines using Malaysian children’s songs and to engage in coloring activities depicting Malaysia’s iconic landmarks and buildings.

    The entire program was initiated by Prof. Dr. Alexander Pöschl of HTW Saar and made possible through collaboration with and sponsorship from the Hager Group, making the company visit a must-do activity in Saarbrücken. Featuring company tours and sharing sessions between Hager personnel and Nurul Salizawatee Mahpar, an academician from FBM, the experience provided invaluable insights and knowledge.

    Moreover, the delegation took advantage of the chance to introduce the diverse tapestry of Malaysian culture to students at HTW Saar, providing a glimpse into their homeland’s rich heritage and traditions. Talks regarding potential exchange programs were conducted with the International Office of HTW Saar, overseen by Doris Kollman in the presence of the esteemed Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Prof. Dr. Met Malte Beinhauer, indicating a bright future for academic cooperation and student exchange between the two institutions.

    Venturing beyond the borders of Saarbrücken, the Malaysian delegation embarked on an enthralling journey for a cultural immersion experience in neighboring France and Baden-Württemberg, delving into the diverse cultural tapestry of Europe. From the picturesque streets of Paris to the historic charm of Metz and the cosmopolitan allure of Luxembourg, the delegation embraced the essence of these vibrant cities, forging connections and deepening their appreciation for cross-cultural exchange.

    Remarkably, the delegation also had the privilege of gaining firsthand insights into Germany’s industrial prowess through a factory tour of the Hager Group in Blieskastel and a visit to the Völklinger Hütte Ironworks. Complemented by an intercultural workshop with employees, these experiences provided invaluable perspectives on intercultural communication and collaboration in a professional context, enhancing the delegation’s understanding of global business practices.

    As the Malaysian delegation bids farewell to Saarbrücken, they leave behind a legacy of friendship, collaboration, and cultural exchange. Their visit not only strengthens the bonds between UiTM and HTW Saar but also serves as a testament to the transformative power of international cooperation in fostering mutual understanding and building bridges across continents. Most importantly, their expedition serves as an inspiring example for fellow UiTM students, showcasing the enriching encounters and meaningful relationships that await those who engage in global exchange initiatives. We extend our gratitude to each member of the delegation who played a pivotal role in fostering cultural exchange and collaboration during their visit to HTW Saar in Saarbrücken, Germany.