“Peas in a PODz” : Taylor’s Offers Peer Support & Learning Initiatives to help International Students Settle Into Campus Life

Settling into student life in a foreign country can be challenging. Taylor’s Hostel Management provides comprehensive Resident Welfare Support that focuses on not only the Physical Wellbeing of students but also their Emotional Wellbeing through activities such as PODz.

Taylor’s Students at a PODz Session

has recently welcomed ninety-nine new international residents from a wide range of countries - such as China, S. Korea, Pakistan and Indonesia amongst others. Ms Rani Kaur, Manager of Resident Relations & Development, points out that their mission is to create a safe and holistic living experience through leadership development, personal empowerment and cultural diversity. This is achieved via the Resident Welfare Support programme which addresses their individual Emotional Wellbeing as well as their Physical Wellbeing. “We are committed to supporting our residents throughout their studies here at Taylor’s by helping them adapt into a new living environment, and reduce their anxiety and homesickness.

More importantly, we provide a space where they can meet new friends and build self-confidence”, she said. “We guide these new residents through our Orientation programme, and introduce them to our International Buddy System and our Peer Support & Learning Initiative, better known as PODz”, adding that “PODz is a programme specifically-designed to help these individual personalities settle in to their new living environment as well as educate them on how to manage personal challenges”. The PODz programme has not only benefited local Malaysians but also residents from Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Brunei and even the USA. The programme helps residents address personal challenges and concerns in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality. Each PODz session is moderated, and consists of 6-10 residents.

These sessions develop communication to build trust and eventually evolve into self-sustaining peer support groups. Reflecting on their PoDz experience, Ibrahim Muan, who is from the Maldives and studying at the Taylor’s Business School, said that this was “A completely new and amazing experience for me. It allowed me to explore and understand myself from a perspective I never had before. This self-actualization helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses and in turn, helped me to use them to my advantage and for me to work on my weaknesses to reach my true potential”. In addition, Qamarul Arifin, who is from Singapore and studying in the Faculty of Hospitality, Food and Leisure said that “The sessions helped me understand and be aware of my emotional strength and capabilities. The sessions also encouraged me to empower my inner strength in order to face challenges in the near future. The affirmation session allowed me to recognise what I needed to work on immediately. With this support, I hope to overcome it as I think it will be really hard to do on my own”.