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USAPPS 2023: Klang Valley
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Humans of USAPPS
Read what current Malaysian students in US Colleges have to say about their experiences and what tips they have!
7 Aug 2020
- Life After College
Fast forward 5 years, I find myself staring at the glistening water of the San Francisco Bay at Coyote Point, at once in awe of how quickly the past half-decade flew by and how slowly time seems to be moving as we enter month #4 of shelter-in-place. Overhead, an Alaska Airlines aircraft with the iconic Eskimo emblazoned across its rudder descends into SFO as air traffic slows to a trickle, a far cry from the millions of passengers that it served during normal times.
It’s been slightly over 3 years since I graduated from Stanford and started my next chapter here in the US. I still vividly remember the weird sense of déjà vu as the euphoria and trepidation in the days leading up to Commencement began to really set in, bringing me back to the very first time I set foot on the hallowed grounds of Stanford. I spent many a balmy summer evening on a lawn along Mayfield Avenue with friends, attempting to distill the myriad of experiences and lessons we’ve gleaned over our undergraduate days, unabashed by the mistakes, trials and tribulations we’ve endured, grateful for the deep relationships we’ve forged and excited by what the future holds as we continue to paint the canvas that is our lives.
As this chapter continues to unfold, I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to start and continue building my career within the burgeoning technology ecosystem that is Silicon Valley, first as an investment banker and now as a venture capitalist, all while being a stone’s throw away from Stanford, where it all began. Would I do it all over again? Certainly, without a shred of doubt.
7 Aug 2020
- Why the US?
The summer after graduating from school, although excited, I was terrified to go to the US – I was a relatively sheltered kid who had never lived outside Kuala Lumpur. Realising that I would soon be moving to the other side of the world on my own and not knowing anyone there made me extremely anxious. I was so scared that I wouldn’t make any friends, that I wouldn’t be able to adapt to the American education system, and that I’d just want to come back home.
But I was very soon proven wrong. I was taken aback by how welcoming, kind, and understanding Brown’s community was – they made me feel at home almost instantly. It is such a privilege to be surrounded by such a diverse, intellectually curious, and passionate group of people, where even casual conversations can be so thought-provoking. Brown has the reputation of being the most “liberal” and “social” Ivy, and this is certainly evident on campus – there’s a very strong “work hard, play hard” culture.
Academically, Brown’s liberal arts education and ‘Open Curriculum’ is one of a kind. It allows me to experiment with my education and shape my curriculum to reflect my own interests and aspirations. Whether it be understanding the science behind modern physics theories or learning about the history of the world’s refugees, each class brings together aspects from different disciplines. Bringing current global issues into class discussions has really helped me look at the world through multiple perspectives.
Sure, I’ve experienced my share of homesickness and imposter syndrome. But every time I walk around campus, I think about how surreal it is that I’m actually here. I can easily say that my first year at Brown has been the best year of my life.
7 Aug 2020
- Why the US?
Choosing to study in the US was not easy. I had my mind set on the UK and my father thought (and still thinks) that “the US is very dangerous”. Even after I was offered a full scholarship from Wesleyan University, I still had doubts: Can I survive winter? Will I miss home? What if Americans are really weird? But I took a leap of faith and committed to Wesleyan.
Attending Wesleyan has allowed me to stretch my academic interests to unimaginable places. What I value the most about a liberal arts education is the intention to draw connections between disciplines. Be it choreographing socially-aware dances, debating the merits of Marxist analysis or learning the semantics of Mandarin Chinese, class discussions often intersect with ideas of religion, class, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity. This intersectionality bleeds into everyday conversation on campus in the dining hall, and even the laundry room. At first, it was stressful to ensure I always said the ‘smart’ thing. But I soon realised that, at Wes, saying the ‘smart’ thing wasn’t important, being open-minded was.
Culturally, Wesleyan is unmatched. Wes has a hyper-political culture which I first found overwhelming but I have come to appreciate, knowing that my encounter with intensely passionate people is a rare experience. The visual/performing arts scene on campus is spectacular. Whether I am watching a friend performing in a student-run production or a classmate presenting their creative work, I am constantly inspired by the talent and creativity of my peers.
The unofficial motto of the school is “Keep Wes Weird”, and I believe this common appreciation for individuality and quirkiness creates a space for people to hone their skills, try new things and thrive in an accepting, caring community.
My decision to go to the US was not an easy decision, but it was the right decision.