Friday, June 09, 2006

Erasmus Mundus Scholarship

After 4 years of anticipation and looking towards the Lord, I'm gonna get the chance to do my masters! Thanks to the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship program. More importantly, thanks to the many many prayers that I've been getting from my friends! By God's grace, I'll be leaving this September and will be spending 2 years in Europe studying Net-Centric Informatics.

The Journey

I first heard of this Erasmus Mundus program when it came out in newspapers August 2005, I think. What really caught my eye was that it was gonna offer at least 40 places to Malaysians in 2006. And so with great anticipation, I went to the Erasmus website for Malaysia. I was not disappointed. They outlined very clearly how much they were gonna spend in 2006 and years to come. This program is really amazing. Every year each student will be given €21,000 as living and traveling fees besides the opportunity to really experience the European education system thoroughly.

They have several courses available. The application is sent directly the respective instituitions and I chose to apply for the European Masters in Informatics (EuMI) program, which was being driven by 3 very prestigious universities, University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Aachen University in Germany and University of Truento, Italy. Since it's a two year program, I get to choose 2 universities out of the 3 to study in. I chose Edinburgh as my main university as I've always wanted to take up my masters in the UK and Aachen as the partnering university (because I've heard great things about this university from an engineer from Sun Microsystems who came to Malaysia few months before and also because the opportunity to try out the Autobahn:P).

Everything was done online. I had to scan my certs and upload them to the server and sent hard copies via post later on. I've also applied for the British Council Chevening Scholarship as well but I guess competition for that was just too great and I didnt make the cut. But no matter, because in April 2006, I got news from EuMI that I've been tentatively selected for the program and my fundings are pending approval from the European Commission.
And finally on May 30th, I received this short email from EuMI:

Subject: European Commission - decision (they don even wanna give you any hint as you first open your email)

Dear Students,

this e-mail is to inform you that the European Commission has approved your names for the scholarships for attending the Erasmus Mundus Master Course in informatics. In the next days we will contact you in order to give you more information about the program (mobility plan, curricular, information about the visa procedures and ecc.).

Best regards EuMi school

Less than 50 words and yet it meant the world of difference to so many people. And so, I'll be going to Europe with 65 other Malaysians (65 because out of the 85 places mentioned in the article, 20 were for last year and the rest for this year. I know because I immediately emailed the EC delegate to Malaysia for clarification after reading that article:P) to pursue our dreams in various fields. I know at least one more Malaysian who is going on the same program as me. And so another phase of my life journey begins September 2006. I must admit that I have mixed feelings now. On 1 hand, I feel very elated at the opportunity of experiencing the European education system. On the other hand, I cant bear leaving my parents, family, friends, church members, colleagues in Shell (whom I've just begun to build up strong relationships) ,old colleagues from Open Source Systems and the work I'm currently doing in Shell.

But I do know I will be leaving with all my loved ones' blessings in my heart and that for me, is such an amazing feeling!

[update] Just received an email with finally some details. It came attached with an acceptance letter which I am supposed to sign and fax back to EuMI. Excerpts from the letter:

accepts the Erasmus-Mundus scholarship for the Academic Year 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. The beneficiary is aware of the fact that the Erasmus Mundus scholarship consists of 16.000,00 € (a monthly instalment of 1600,00 will be transferred for a period of 10 months), plus 5000,00 € as partial reimbursement of travel expenses and fees, for a total of 21.000,00 € per each academic year (total amount for two academic years is 42.000,00 )."

Most important statement, without which, everything would come undone:)

"accepts the curriculum in: Net-Centric/Media Informatics
and the mobility scheme which foresees period in:
University of Edinburgh (September 2006 – May 2007)
RWTH (June 2007 – July 2008)
<-- (Aachen, Germany)
University of Edinburgh (August 2008 – September 2008

Oh cool, I thought I was going to Germany first since in the previous email, they put the mobility as Germany and Scotland. Or maybe they've just changed their minds. No matter:)

"The beneficiary is also aware of the fact that the tuition fees for the Master’s Programme are 6000,00 € for the first year; the amount for the second year could be increased in relation to the current inflation rate." Reminding me not to spend all my allowances and keep 600a month for fees:P

[End of update]


Shirley Ong said...

Yay! Praise the Lord! He makes all things good in His time!

Ariel said...

Congrats! So happy for ya!

casey said...

My friend, well done, i may b visiting u. heheheheh

ngyahloon said...

Thanks dudes and dudettes! Very Encouraging words at such an appropriate time!

shawnchin said...

Make sure u bring your golf eq. ;)

Anonymous said...

hey, ur pc wanna sell or not? :P

chuan said...

the anonymous guy sounds like leng chye... hehehe

Kian Ming said...

Congrats Alan, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time in Europe. All the best and God bless.

Awesome You Lord! said...

Hope this comment is not too late
but still!! God is Awesome ^__^
Good LUCk

sad said...

I claim this testimony as i prepare to apply for this prestigious scholarship for the 2008/2010 academic session. Congrats, all things work together for good to those that love the Lord.