A match made in Dundee - Malaysian student finds both love and her vocation

Published on 21 October 2020

When Sze San Ngu left Kuching in Malaysia for Scotland 15 years ago, she could not have imagined how the move would transform her life

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Sze San Ngu initially moved to Dundee to study for a Master’s degree in Engineering - with the full intention of returning to Malaysia at the end of her year-long course.

Fast forward to today, however, and Sze San is not only still living in Dundee but is also married to a Scotsman and, after a dramatic career change, is working as a dentist in the city.

How did she come to find both love and her vocation in a Scottish city she had barely heard of?

“I knew almost nothing about Scotland before I came to Dundee and I never expected I would make my life here,” she admitted.

“I came over with one suitcase and I remember it was raining when I landed at Edinburgh Airport. I wasn’t sure how I would cope with the weather but I very quickly got used to it. I was so excited to see snow for the first time!

“I did my Master’s degree in Engineering and embarked on a PhD before I realised it wasn’t for me and started to think what I really wanted to do. By this point I had come to like Scotland and Dundee so much it made sense to stay here. Thankfully I was accepted to the dentistry course at the University of Dundee.”

Upon completing her degree, Sze San was soon offered a job in the Dundee area and, with a strong network of friends now established locally, she once more chose to extend her stay in Scotland. It was perhaps this decision which would have the biggest impact on her life and those of others.

Sze San met her husband, Calum, who is a senior student recruitment officer at the University, on a night out in Dundee four years ago. They married in October 2018 in a ceremony in Spain, with family and friends from both Malaysia and Scotland joining the happy couple for their big day.

Sze San is not the only member of her family to have fallen in love with, and in, Scotland. Her sister Sze Ting also attended university in Scotland, married a Scot and settled in the country. They live only about 100km away from Dundee and Sze San also visits her family in Malaysia as often as possible.

Sze San and Calum have embraced each other’s cultures and, with the couple sharing cooking duties, enjoy both western and Chinese food at home. There is also an active and growing Malaysian community in Dundee helping students and other new arrivals to settle in.

As a senior student recruitment officer at the University, Calum spends his days advising students from around the world to come to Dundee. And in his wife, he has proof of the University’s power to transform lives locally and globally, and enable students to unleash their potential.


Press Office, University of Dundee

Story category Alumni, Student experience