Class of 2014: Khairul Kamarulzaman sees college through a unique lens

Khairul Kamarulzaman has taken advantage of semester and holiday breaks at Vanderbilt to travel east and west, north and south across the United States.

An eye-popping short video that features some of his adventures captured’s grand prize—worth $4,000—as well as a $1,000 viewer’s choice award in the website’s 2013 travel video contest.

“I love photography and I always carry a camera with me,” the mechanical engineering senior said. He is from Kota Bharu, Kelatan, in northeastern Malaysia, near the border with Thailand. “[rquote]I’ve spent the last three years traveling as much as possible, and I’ve appreciated every moment.[/rquote]

“Well, the six hours climbing up and down in Yosemite with a lot of equipment was tiring,” he said.

In his award-winning video, Postcard, Kamarulzaman shares his experience as a Malaysian student studying abroad and traveling with friends to Texas and through several states to the West Coast. It also introduced his plan for two final excursions before graduation.

“I asked Malaysian kids to send me photos of themselves, which I carried with me to New York City and Cancun, Mexico. Then, I took a picture of a local citizen holding a kid’s photo. I turned each of my photos into postcards, wrote some inspiring words to encourage the kids to study abroad, and sent them back home,” he said.

Khairul Kamarulzaman (photo courtesy of Khairul Kamarulzaman)

Kamarulzaman is a self-taught videographer who started at 14 by watching video tutorials offered on YouTube. He now uses a Nikon D7000 and has added a stabilizer, glider, shotgun mics and more.

“I’ll save most of the award money for expenses after graduation,” said Kamarulzaman, who plans to return to Malaysia and seek a job as an engineer.