Education, Aspiration, and Everyday Diplomacy: An Ethnographic Study of Female Malaysian Muslim Students in the UK
Keywords:aspiration, Bumiputera Malays, diplomacy, education policy, ethnography, Malaysian students
This paper seeks to explore the aspects related to education and aspiration through the on-going experiences of Female Malay Muslim students in UK higher institutions. Building on an ethnographic approach, an in-depth interview with 30 female Malay students, I focus on the various aspects of the students’ lives as scholarship holders, addressing in particular how they handle diplomatic practices in their everyday lives as Malaysian mini ambassadors overseas. The notions of aspiration, well-balanced citizenship and ‘everyday diplomacy’ are deployed in this research to understand the everyday experiences of these students. Hence, it is argued that the privileges in education policy for Bumiputera Malays have shaped the notion of achievement they hold and their attitude towards overseas education as well as their experiences abroad. My research suggests that being a mini diplomat means not only promoting the relationship between different cultures but also contributing to nations abroad through their volunteering work.
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