The Faculty of Hotel and Tourism Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA Pulau Pinang Branch has successfully co-organised a Research Study Abroad Program 2023 (initial site visit) for Iowa State University, United States of America, together with other higher education institutions such as the Faculty of Hotel and Tourism Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA Selangor Branch, the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, the Faculty of Food Science and Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, and the School of Hospitality and Service Management, Sunway University.
Associate Professor Dr. SoJung Lee, Director of Graduate Education for Hospitality Management and Associate Professor Dr. EunHa Jeong, from Iowa State University, United States of America, proposed including Malaysia as a new destination for their study abroad program. The purpose of this seven-day site visit, from 10th September until 18th September 2023, focused on developing a study abroad program that will provide undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to strengthen their research abilities and build academic connections through conference presentations, industry visits, and cultural visits in Malaysia. The program aims to attract various backgrounds of students interested in research development and travel to Malaysia. Some site visit activities include institutional visits such as campus tours, discussions with the management, conference participation, and visits to business entities and cultural attractions in Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, and Putrajaya.
For Iowa State University, the research study abroad program, which will tentatively take place in 2024, is expected to help students (a) gain deeper understanding and knowledge about cultures in Malaysia, (b) learn different perspectives about other nations through their experience while visiting Malaysia, (c) develop academic connections with colleagues and institutions in Malaysia, and (d) gain a global perspective while earning credits towards their degree. Additionally, this program is believed to help international students learn various opportunities to engage with institutions, culture and environment in Malaysia. For UiTM, this high-impact program will help the university achieve various performance indicators as stated in the UiTM 2025 strategic planning regarding the number of inbound students, the number of international programmes and activities for active MoU for the current year, and many more.