Uni’s academic honour winners travel all around Asia

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Elephant touring, conservation voluntary work and a regular slice of molten cocoa cake - it’s obvious why 17-year-old Iffat Ahmad names her paid trip to The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus the ‘greatest of her life’.

Iffat was among five students from King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls in Birmingham who won the team prize at the Uni’s School Excellence Rewards for students with ages between sixteen and 19 from Britain’s academy colleges. She was joined by companion secondary school pupils Amanpreet Nandhra, Merunisa Nazam, Hajrah Zafar and Shazia Jehan.

The reward bundled both a thousand pounds and the week getaway. The previous winners were invited to stop by the The Uni of Nottingham Ningbo China.

"Every day was wonderful," stated Iffat. "At some point we went to the wildlife shelter in the morning hours and a tropical rainforest in the afternoon. I did activities I’d never thought I'd be participating in and I found out a lot about elephants from Dr Campos-Arceiz who was quite excited about endangered animals. To paraphrase him, the pachyderms were ‘revoltingly lovable’."

"It was truly stimulating to do environment fieldwork in real life - it helped me grasp the importance of everyone working together to conserve global environments."

The trip was designed to give the successful students a glimpse of customs, schooling and lifestyle in south-east Asia. The students took part in language lessons and experienced a lecture at the University. They also completed an ecology assignment involving wildlife moving and a University endeavour assisting the native tribespeople.

Merunisa, 17 years old, announced: "The overall visit was flawlessly thought out to make certain we enjoyed as many different areas of south-east Asia as was practical."

Merunisa’s time period spent in the ‘Orang Asli’ - ‘initial folk’ - village was a given highlight.

She announced: "They had a quite simple yet happy lifestyle and obviously caused me to treasure what I have. The main element, which I will invariably recall about Malaysia, is how pleasant the folks always were. Everywhere we visited there was always a pleasant, cheerful face to welcome us. I would encourage anyone considering the accolades to enter and just give it a go. This chance has changed me into a focused and careful person and the lessons will stay with me for a lifetime."

Dr. Stephen Doughty, Vice-President for Teaching and Learning at UNMC, proclaimed: "It was a fantastic privilege to have the young ones view the campus and to witness campus life at first hand.

"The best part of the trip was a task performed by the students on self-sufficient ecology. They learned about studies being carried out by Professor Campos-Arceiz at the Malaysia school campus dealing with animal preservation and transfer, and even witnessing some student-managed pursuits assisting marginalised local tribespeople to cultivate vegetables and fruit to create a sustainable income source."

The journey was also a chance for the pupils to observe what life is like at UNMC and to motivate them to contemplate going to University in China or Malaysia.

Professor Sarah O’Hara, the Uni’s Pro-Vice-Executive for Community Engagement and Access, said: "It’s fantastic to know the students completely enjoyed their day at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. We know how wonderful our grounds in China and Malaysia are and the Academy Excellence Honours and this remarkable prize are a good way of proving this, as well as compensate the challenging efforts of pupils at academy colleges.

"Ideally, the journey has demonstrated to the teens that you can join a world renowned uni like Nottingham and also make use of the opportunity to spend time at our schools in China or Malaysia."

The Academy Excellence Honours are financed by the David Ross Foundation and held by the Institution. Nottingham alumnus David Ross (Law 1987), Director of the Charity and Co-President of Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, has at present doanted 2.1 million pounds to fund Nottingham Potential, a pledge to tear down the limitations to higher schooling and a key venture according to the Nurturing Talent idea of the Uni’s strategy.