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"Penang has been an amazing experience".

What better way to enjoy a trip overseas, in a foreign country that you have never been to, than immersion into their unique culture! Our first trip to Penang has been filled with the great amazing race around Georgetown, Penang, indulging in authentic local food and experiencing the unfamiliar road rules with our taxi driver Ganesh.

The amazing race was a day of fun and excitement where each team got to walk around and discover the many street arts located around Georgetown. Drawn by the amazing artist Ernest Zacharevic we were able to locate boy on chair, the cat and Bruce Lee and many more. The emotion shown on their faces, particularly the little children on a bicycle, gives you a sense of happiness and enjoyment. I also liked how much of the street art was interactive like the brother and sister on a swing. It was fun posing for a photo with the paintings.

While in Penang, we had a wide range of amazing culinary delights to feast upon and discover. Some of this food included local Malaysian delights such as Nasi Lemak and Roti Canai, along with Indian curries and Chinese dishes. During our time at the office, we further immersed ourselves in the local culture by buying our lunch from a local stall near the CREST organisation and having our local lunches delivered to us at the offices of CREST. The food ranged from local favourites such as Nasi Ayam to more familiar Western foods such as sandwiches, which allowed us to get adventurous with our tastes.

Ganesh has been our team’s taxi driver from day one. He made us feel welcome in Penang and definitely made our trips to work at CREST enjoyable. In relation to the driving I know each one of us most certainly won’t be attempting to drive around Penang after seeing how different the traffic is compared to Melbourne! The drivers drove on the opposite side of the road and there were not only cars but bikes sharing the roads as well. Swerving from lane to lane inches away from each other I do not know how they do it!

Overall, delving into the culture of Penang has been an amazing experience undeniably one that will not be forgotten.

Written by Farhat Atef, Silma Haveric, Nicholas Decleva and Andrew Burgemeister.

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The students participating in the Malaysia Team Internship were supported via the New Colombo Plan. The New Colombo Plan mobility program is open to Australian Undergraduate students who wish to undertake work-based experiences in the Indo-Pacific region. The Program is part of the Australian Government’s aim to facilitate young people’s engagement in the region.

If you would like to learn more about the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program, visit the Department of Foreign Affairs website.