First Orang Asli to graduate with first-class bachelor’s degree pursuing studies to become town planner


IPOH: Having created history as the first Orang Asli to graduate with first-class honours from the prestigious University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom, Susherrie Suki, now aspires to be a licensed town planner in Perak.

An image of her in a convocation robe and posing in front of the university with her family and friends was viraled on social media for making the Orang Asli community proud.

Susherrie Suki the first Orang Asli to graduate with first-class honours from the prestigious University College London (UCL), United Kingdom.

Susherrie, 23, of Ipoh, graduated with a first-class Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Planning and Real Estate from UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning.

She is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Design and Urban Planning at the same university, which will be for a year.

“After completing Form Five at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Ave Maria Convent, I went to do my A-Level studies at Kolej MARA Seremban and then got an offer from UCL for a Bachelor’s degree for three years.

“I jumped with happiness when I first got the news of being awarded a degree with first-class honours and immediately called my sister to tell her about it to share the good news because for me, it is not something that is easy to achieve,” she said when contacted by Bernama via video call from the United Kingdom here today.

The third of four siblings, Susherrie, who is from the Semai tribe, said she chose to continue her studies in Design and Urban Planning because of her love for building and urban architecture.

On the challenges she faced when she first stepped foot at UCL, she said it was communication and that pushed her to work harder and made her more determined to succeed, especially in a foreign land with students from all over the world.

“I had problems writing essays for the academic writing subject that I managed to get marks of only between 40 and 40.

“So, I joined the English Language classes and also worked part-time at the student cafe to improve my understanding of the language and to speak better.

“Imagine, when my friends made a joke, I don’t even understand and even stopped the conversation and asked for them to explain,” she said.

Meanwhile, her sister, Susieleen Suki, 31 said Susherrie was a bookworm since she was a child.

“She always had a book in her hands where we went.

“Susherrie is an active person who likes to read. Her study table is full of thick books and it is not a surprise for the family when she told us that she was awarded a first-class degree because she really deserved it.

“We are very happy and proud of her achievement because since she was a child she had always performed well in school, obtaining 8As for the Form Three Assessment (PT3), 10As in her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination and was the best student for the economics subject when she was in Mara College,” she said.

Susieleen said although distance kept her apart from Susherrie, they kept in touch through video calls almost every week.

Susheerie’s achievement also got the attention of Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz and former Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

Both of them congratulated her through postings on their respective Twitter pages.

UCL is one of the leading universities in the world. It is ranked eighth in QS World University Ranking 2023. – BERNAMA

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