Sunday, 14 August 2016


MarjonVillage - our comfortable and convenient accommodation
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I feel like going down memory lane today to where I had studied and lived for 6 years.. with my TESL friends. That was almost 20 years ago. I went to further my tertiary education at College of St Mark & St John which  now goes by the name of University of St Mark & St John. We are known locally as Marjon, the teaching and sports college. The city is Plymouth or Blimiff , if pronounced in the Cornish accent. It is the capital of Devon, a south west county of Great Britain.

Let me introduce my friends first. They come from various states in Malaysia and now hold various positions in the public and private sector:

Yana - Perlis (UITM Dungun lecturer)
Amy - Perak (USM lecturer)
Niza - Perak (teacher in Selangor)
Ija - Perak (Penang Matriculation college lecturer)
Nikki - Kelantan (admission officer at Exeter University)
Zeti - Kelantan (ELS senior manager)
Mas - Pahang (teacher in Sabah)
Kecom - Johor (UKM lecturer)
Tara - Negeri Sembilan (UNITEN lecturer)
Za - Selangor (UPM lecturer)
Jida - KL (consultant for PR agency / Public Mutual)
Siti - KL (head of corporate comm. for the Energy Commision) 
Leen - KL (human resource manager in Mauritius)
Yati - KL (MIA) - Yati, where are you...???
- and myself : Cikgu Midad - Kedah (teacher in Kedah)

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Old Logo from :


We started our journey in Malaysia as a group of 30 young English language teacher trainees  but the other 15 went to Sussex University in Bognor Regis. The only two males in the group also went to Sussex. :P

Then, three new friends from Maldives joined our course at INTEC: Tharu, Iku and Fatmah. Tharu is now living in KL... ;)

Besides them, we were also acquainted with B. Ed seniors, our MA and PHD seniors (Kak Jay!) and our Twinning MPIK friends throughout the six years we were there.

We also formed new friendship with Malaysian students  who were studying at Plymouth University (Jue) and Plymouth College of Further Education. (Kak Ema, Azila, Azaharul, Amir, Saiful, Irman)

During the first year, each of us had to stay with a host family. I experienced a lot of culture shock then, coming from a small town like Kuala Kedah. Thank you Calcidonia Smith and family for the warm hospitality that you had shown me. I hope you can visit my home some day so that I can return the hospitality.

We left Malaysia for England in September 1991 and studied  in Matriculation for two years. Then, we continued  our studies in B.Ed. TESL  before graduating in July 1997. As I recall,  a week after we returned home to Malaysia for good, Princess Diana passed away.  Then it was followed by the death of Mother Theresa. A very eventful July I dare say.

Six years is a long time to spend with someone or a bunch of like-minded friends. Of course there were ups and downs but we survived. The friendship that was formed many years ago is still going strong and close, thanks to Whatsapp and Facebook. We had a few mini gatherings so far but I am still waiting for our mega Reunion, guys...!  :)

A special thank you to our lecturers at INTEC, Marjon. Thank you Steve Phillips @ our Bapak, John Burke, Sarah North, Katie Salisbury, Graeme Burn, Tony Wright, Liz Robbins, Jane Spiro, Mike Scholey, Rod Bolitho, Sue Parker, Jocelyn Porter and Steve Ansell, to name a few. Thank you for guiding us and putting up with our 1001 personalities for six years!   :P

Plymouth Hoe  and Smeaton's Tower, overlooking the English Channel
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*** Stay tune for PART TWO of my BLIMIFF adventure!

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