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Friday, October 8, 2010

Two weeks with UniSA students, a great opportunity

1-  Introduction

USM and UniSA students 
The opportunity of meeting and having a project with foreign students is a great opportunity to improve the academic knowledge and the social skills of us by the interaction with those students.
In the case of UniSA students, the experience for me was more than what I expected due to the verity of topics which had been taken and the desire of all the students to give the best in this event and the ability to mix with them in short time gave us the chance to learn more about them socially.

My report will follow the stages of the interaction between us "USM students and me as one of them" and the "UniSA students"

2-  UniSA students first meeting
I was a member of the group of "Urban Design 2" which includes 4 students from USM and 3 students from UniSA one of them only a master student. I noticed from the first meeting in the hotel that the master student "Alison" she was more serious and wanted to start the work form the first time even before we know the names of each other, however the other two students were more relax.  
First day we spent together with other groups around Penang from the spicy garden to Batu Freengi beach then Rfile Range housing area to finally the Galaxy Temple. This trip helped us to mix with the students of other groups and knew the members of our group better. We had open discussions, take pictures so the first stress has been broken which is importance to start improving our friendship.   

3-  Looking for a case of study
The group of urban design is different from other groups in terms of need to start with a case of study instead of collecting literature information which the other groups started to do it first. The discussion about the case of study started as I mentioned before from the first moment even before we know the names of each other.
At the hotel, Alison suggested that the Pandang can be a good case of study then she asked me to give my suggestion which was the Little India but during the first trip around Penang our ideas had been changed to take a more challenge case of study which is Rile Range housing area.
We chose this area and we know that the project will not be easy in terms of collecting data, and giving solutions. But there was a felling between the group members to get more challenging by study this project "let us do it".
For me even I have been in Penang for more than 1 year but I had not known about Rile Range and this was for me the first visiting. Between the surprising of this huge housing area and the low level of facilities and management, it was a great experience to match with those people and to know what they need and want the situation in the ground is!
Even after the final presentation, until now I still thinking about this project because I fell that this project changed some of my ideas about the high rise housing and I hope it is improved to the right side. The high rise housing is not a simple project like building a house but it is a long term project needs a high quality of buildings in terms of structure that able in the future for modifying it to match the changing of people needs and a good management, to keep the project going well.
Moreover, the main point in the high rise housing area is the social problems and the harmony between people. These issues are not easy to solve but by looking on projects like Rile Range we can learn many things after 41 years of doing this project to help us in the future housing projects.    

4- Group Meeting and work preparation
The UniSA students were very kind to understand our situation "USM students" that we have other courses during the week so they decided to meet us in the studio of MSC2 almost each two days to have discussions, and prepare the work for presentations.
In other hand, we divided ourselves to three small groups and divided the work based on these groups. UniSA students were a group of collecting data and doing the power point, I and Wong were the architectural group "our background architecture" so we were asked to prepare alternative solutions of the Rile Range problems in terms of design, Amar and Azlan were asked to collected data from the local council and prepare some maps of the project. 
This arrangement of the time and place of meeting, and divided the work on three groups helped us to go faster in the project and better so after two weeks we can say strongly that we achieved what we planned to do.   
5-  Understand each other and achieve what we plan to do
Even we are from different cultural academic backgrounds but we tried to work internationally but giving each one the right to give high point and discuss it in the group then the specialize from us in the field will give the final decision. For example in terms of governments policy we were always asking the third group "Amar and Azlan" because they know about these policies much better than us or in terms of design we were asked the architectural group "Me and Wong" or in the data collection and management we were always follow the UniSA group and especially Alison because she is the older and doing a master program.
That helped us so much to plan clearly the path of our project works and to achieve this plan in the end of final presentation. The academic level is not the main point that can give the advance to score any project but the management it is the main point to be sure that what we have we can use it better by avoided the conflict and prepare a friendly environment and this is what we need in the high rise housing area, not a very expensive building and facilities but a qualify management.  

6- Bye UniSA students

It was great opportunity for me and one of the best times in my life to be in this event with those people from the UniSA students, USM students and give a high respect to our lecturers form USM "Dr. lee and Dr. Hassim" for all what they did for us to get the chance and the UniSA lecturers especially Dr. Matthew and we hope that we can get another opportunity next semester in Australia.

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