Under the guidance of Prof. Parthiban Muniandy at Sarah Lawrence College, Consortium students will have the opportunity to visit Malaysia for an intensive 4-week summer semester abroad in Malaysia. The semester abroad will be primarily based in Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Georgetown, Penang. Students will have the opportunity to meet and learn from local organizations such as the Penang Peace Learning Center (informal school for Rohingya refugee children), Institut Pondok Perancis, Taylor’s University College and Tenaganita, as well as other organizations that work with migrants’ rights advocacy and activism.
The goal of the study abroad in Malaysia program is to offer students the opportunity to learn from local organizers, experts and communities about the experiences of migrants, refugees and stateless populations in this region. As a major destination and hub for transnational migration, Malaysia attracts a wide-range of people from across socio-economic, national and ethnic backgrounds. Students will gain a better understanding of non-traditional destinations outside of the North American and Western European context, to see how different experiences are shaped in the context of one of Asia’s ‘global cities’.
Students and faculty will travel from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Pulau Langkawi via domestic flight, where they will be provided an orientation and training for conducting ethnographic research in Malaysia. The group will then travel to Georgetown, Penang, where they will spend two weeks in hostels/homestay. Students will meet with the faculty every day in the morning before travelling as a group to different sites in Penang Island, including the Penang Peace School for Rohingya children. In KL, they will be attending workshops and collaborative ethnographic writing exercises with UnRepresented KL, a writer’s group, and Pondok Perancis, a knowledge and research exchange center for the purposes of intellectual exchange, research and translation work. Pondok Perancis will be organizing a ‘Methodological Summer School’ designed for junior students and researchers engaged in discussions of ASEAN norms, values and politics in historic Ipoh. Consortium students will be able to participate in workshops and knowledge-sharing opportunities as part of the summer school.
As a signature project of a four-college Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement and Education (CFDME), the Malaysia program offers undergraduate students from across Consortium colleges to visit and learn about issues and challenges facing marginalized and displaced communities outside of a Western context. Students will also be expected to present and share their work as part of the Consortium’s Annual Teaching Labs at one of the campuses (Vassar College, Bard College, Sarah Lawrence College and Bennington College).