KOTA KINABALU: University of Hamburg exchange student Lukas Tretau who had first-hand experience of Sabah’s hospitality when he was here for two semesters described the culture in the state as super diverse.
Lukas, who enrolled for Nature Parks and Recreation programme at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), quickly made lots of local friends at the university who didn’t waste any time to bring him around the city and beyond.
“We went to experience the chilly weather in Kundasang and the ice cream from Desa Cattle – it was amazing, felt like home with all the cows and the cool wind,” he joked.
He also mentioned another trip whereby he was brought by his group of friends to the Pantai Rang Bulan in Kota Belud.
Describing the beach as beautiful and lonely, he enjoyed exploring the area on a boat.
“I was very lucky to meet so many open-minded and open-hearted people just after my arrival, still being a total stranger. Nowhere else have I experienced such a welcoming atmosphere,” said Lukas.
“Whether we just went out for lepak-lepak (seriously, I still do not understand how Malaysian people can stay up that long at night and wake up again early in the morning) or Karaoke (that was a surprise and not a nice one, I am a really bad singer!), to visit the Sabah Tea Garden or Kudat; everyone was determined to include and integrate me to make me feel home. Now I can say that Sabah and KK especially feel like my second home,” he added.
He also shared the various experience he went through during his stay in Sabah.
“During my time in Sabah I experienced a lot. Local Muslim wedding, numerous sport events, local traditional cultural events in Membakut and also festivities like Japanese Cultural Night within UMS called ‘Bon Odori’.
Unfortunately, I did not get to experience Kaamatan and Hari Raya. Sabah’s culture is super diverse: it does not matter where you are from. You are here and you are welcome. Many countries in Europe can learn from that,” he said.
He added that his field of study also allowed him to discover more about Sabah.
“As a ‘Geography International’ student from Germany I enrolled in the HG20 programme, Nature Parks & Recreation. Awesome choice! A great class, very sporting lecturers and super enjoyable field trips to places throughout Sabah!”
“After I studied one semester in UMS in the forestry faculty, I started my internship at Sabah Parks. Working in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, I had to go to the islands sometimes because I did a small research study on the crowding there. Asking tourists of their opinions about the islands, and after that went sunbathing and swimming during lunch time, such a hard life, kan?” he said.
He said that since he missed climbing Mount Kinabalu and also didn’t make it to Pulau Tiga during his stay here, he will definitely come back again to the State.