Malaysia popular among Saudi students

Updated 23 April 2013
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Malaysia popular among Saudi students

More than 30 leading universities and educational institutions from Malaysia participated in the two-day Malaysian higher education fair at the Malaysian Consulate in Jeddah, which took off Sunday.
The fair aimed to showcase the opportunities of studying in Malaysia for Saudis and expats in the Kingdom.
“We are offering a lifelong learning curve for students. There are also opportunities for advanced courses, such as Master's and Ph.D. programs,” said Ahmed Razal Chan, who works for the fair organizer Rexpo.
He said engineering, medicine and information technology (IT) are popular areas of expertise in Malaysia.
“Last year, almost 4,000 people visited the fair in two days, and we are expecting the same this year,” said Chan.
Mohammed Khalid Abbasi Abdul Razak, Malaysian consul general, said: “The universities in Malaysia are cheap in comparison to the universities in the UK and the US, but the quality is the same. Moreover, Malaysia is a Muslim country so we have halal food. We arranged a small food festival at the fair so the students can familiarize themselves with Malaysian cuisine.”
Out of a total of 80,000 students in Malaysia, almost 2,000 are Saudi and 30,000 are from other countries. Malaysian universities follow the British curriculum and are recognized worldwide. “Our target is to get more than 100,000 students in 2013,” said Razak.
He said Malaysia is a tourist country and a major educational hub with quality education in Asia.
Ali Ahmed Ali, a Yemeni national, said he was looking for information about the University of Technology, Malaysia and Malaysia University of Science to continue his education in mechanical engineering.
“My two older brothers are already studying in Malaysia so I want to complete my education there as well. I have already been to Malaysia for educational purposes, so I believe a Malaysian university would be the best,” he said.
Another student, Ahmed Al-Sayed, said he wanted to join the Malaysian University for his career in information technology (IT).


The mussels from Brussels: 48 hours in Belgium’s classy capital

City Square in Brussels. (Shutterstock)
Updated 05 November 2018
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The mussels from Brussels: 48 hours in Belgium’s classy capital

  • A quick guide to the Belgian capital, Brussels
  • Not the first destination that comes to mind for a European mini-break, but Brussels turned out to be quite the surprise

LONDON: It’s not the first destination that comes to mind for a European mini-break, but Brussels turned out to be quite the surprise.
With a couple of days to spare in the UK, my travel partner and I decided to find the quickest — and most affordable — trip, and our search took us to the Belgian capital.
Tickets and hotel booked, we jetted off with little expectations except wanting to find the perfect waffle.
Landing in Brussels at noon, we headed straight to our hotel to drop off our bags, and were delighted it was a 12-minute drive from the airport. Our temporary home of choice was the ultra-affordable ($96 per night) Aloft Brussels Schuman in Place Jean Rey, a fuss-free four-star establishment that impressed with its laidback atmosphere and street-art-inspired rooms.

A main street in Brussels. (Shutterstock)

We began our sightseeing at the European Parliament Hemicycle — the main office of the members of the European Parliament. It certainly offered a great insight into the world’s largest transnational parliament’s role and powers. Entry is free, but you’ll need ID.
After that, we headed to one of the city’s most famous landmarks: Grand Place. Breathtakingly beautiful is an understatement; this UNESCO World Heritage Site — home to the city’s Town Hall and main museum — is so impressive it’s hard to take in its true scale.
A few blocks away is the Manneken Pis, a bronze statue that’s too cheeky to feature a picture of, but is so well-known we had to include it in our tour. The sculpture is said to be the best-known symbol of the people of Brussels, representing their “sense of humor and independence of mind.”
You could spend hours exploring this area. We stumbled upon Comic Strip Route, a trail featuring 50-odd colorful murals that represent the city’s comics heritage (Brussels is the birthplace of The Smurfs and Tintin, among others).

It was time to find a snack, and during our walk we passed by a tearoom that had a long queue outside. Surely a good sign? Turns out we were at Maison Dandoy, a Belgian institution dating back to 1829, known for its speculoos and waffles.
It was worth the wait. We had the best waffle we’ve ever eaten: freshly cooked, crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. The addition of speculoos-flavoured ice-cream was delightful.
Later we made a final stop at Frit Flagey for a cone of Belgian frites — another oh-so-tasty local delicacy.

On our second day, we headed to the Atomium, an iconic building built in 1958 and renovated at a cost of €26 million in 2006. It’s certainly peculiar; but it’s the only place that offers a 360-degree view of Brussels. Strike it lucky with clear skies, and you’ll get a great experience.
Next to it is the mildly amusing Mini-Europe, a park that displays, you guessed it, mini replicas of monuments in the European Union, at a scale of 1:25. Cool spots were Big Ben — let’s face it, it will probably be demolished post-Brexit next year — and a real piece of the Berlin Wall.
A short walk away is the Brussels Expo. We came across a “Star Wars: Identities” exhibition that appealed to our inner nerd. Upcoming events include “Walking with Dinosaurs” and the Brussels Motor Show.
With the end of our trip fast approaching, there was just time for an early dinner. We saved the best dining experience to last. Mussels are a must-have, and we couldn’t have found a better place than Le Zinneke, a charming bistro serving up over 69 mussel dishes. We opted for the signature Fisherman’s Style — a delightful pot served in a vegetable and herb mix, with a side of Belgian fries. Each pot contains over a kilogram of mussels and, although the friendly staff may advise you take one each, we’d suggest sharing.
Brussels and its friendly people were a pleasant surprise, and we’d definitely return. And with its most famous foods being waffles, chocolate, fries and mussels, it’s the perfect stop for a halal break.