Thursday, July 19, 2012

James Bond.

Education. Opportunities. Educational opportunities. These two have been my favorite subjects over these past few years. Whenever people bring up these topics to me, I immediately light up and feel so eager to engage in the discussion. Tee hee hee. *semangat habis* 

I've got quite a lot of questions from my friends but much to my delight, I've also received Facebook messages from acquaintances asking for information/advice on these things. Admittedly, I only know a tiny little fraction of the gazillion information out there, but when someone sent me a message telling me he got an offer to do PhD and thanked me for the advice/tips I gave him through this little space of mine, I felt really honored. I'm sure he first thanked Allah for He's the one who made it happened, but the fact somebody took my words seriously and gained from it, I couldn't be happier. Alhamdulillah.

So on one fine night (which was tonight), while having shower (if you know me I usually have my Eureka! moments in the shower), I decided to do this more seriously. If one person could benefit from my advice through private Skype sessions or Facebook messages (with my limited experience and knowledge, which may be outdated in certain cases :P), I might as well share it here so that more people could benefit from it, InsyaALLAH.

So let's cut to the chase. 

Where can I find scholarships that are not bonded? (The question was intended for postgraduate studies)

It comes down to where you want to pursue your studies and what level-Master/PhD. 

Master in the US/UK: I do not know that many local sponsors that are not bonded. I believe JPA only offers their ex-degree scholars to do Master under their sponsorship. It's a bit tricky with MARA because they keep changing their policy from year to year, which all comes down to whether they have money or not in that particular year (sort of) :P. With MARA, even though you are not bonded, you have to sort of pay a fraction of the sponsored amount after you finish (have to double check). CIMB offers CIMB Regional Scholarship where you are not bonded with them but as they say in their website 'you must contribute back to the region by working in any ASEAN country for a minimum of three years upon graduation'. As for Yayasan Khazanah, you have to work with Khazanah Nasional/Khazanah Linked companies or Goverment-Linked Companies (GLC) for a duration equal to the length of your study. Another sponsor which I just came to know about when I started my PhD is Islamic Development Bank. They give scholarships to nationals from participating countries (Malaysia included) and you must be attached to some organizations at your home country when you apply and must return home to contribute to your country.  

However, a great way to have a non-bonded scholarship is to secure International Student Scholarship from the university you are applying to. I think this was my biggest mistake. I always thought it's really competitive to get the type of scholarship so I ended up not applying. Well, belum cuba belum tahu. So while you are applying to the uni, might as well check their available funding and apply to the ones that are relevant for you, in most case the International Student Scholarship. 

PhD in the US: Good thing about doing PhD in the US is, the offer normally comes with scholarship, in which they would waive your tuition fee and they would give you annual stipend (for personal expenses). I am pretty sure you will not be bonded in any way with the offer. Murah hati kan diorang? 

PhD in the UK: Well, unfortunately, UK tak semurah hati US. You need to get some sort of funding before they can offer you admission to their PhD programs. Most of UK researches are funded by private organizations and these mostly are exclusive for EU/UK students. Non-EU students like us must find our own funding, and if you look from organizations from Malaysia, most likely it's gonna be bonded scholarships. But again, you can apply to International Student Scholarship from the university like I mentioned above. 

My advice would be to be proactive in looking for potential sponsors. They are a lot of sponsors out there, you just have to be aware of their advertisements and deadlines. Sponsors open their applications at different time of the year and they advertise in different ways (website, newspaper) so you really have to get on top of things. Take it from someone who always check websites just a few days after they close their applications :P.

CIMB, Yayasan Khazanah and Islamic Development Bank offer scholarships for both Master and PhD at top graduate schools.

CIMB Regional Scholarship
Yayasan Khazanah
Islamic Development Bank
Previous post: PhD: The Process

Salam :)


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i found this input very helpful. thanks kak dila! ;)