“It’s okay to not know exactly what you want to study, but if you sort of know the kind of environment that works best for you…it will go a long way in making your study abroad an even better experience.”

Cheryl is about to start her Junior year at NYU this coming Fall. She studies Public Health with a minor in Public and Social Policy. That apart, she will be an Resident Advisor(RA) this coming year and she has very recently joined the Alternative Breaks board as head of International Logistics. She is also research assistant at NYU’s Center for Heath, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies. Fun Facts about Cheryl: She is an incurable caffeine addict and her favorite animal is the platypus.

Check out how Cheryl chose her school in the US and what she is doing in NYU!

A critical piece of advice you would offer a student looking to further his/her studies abroad…

I cannot stress enough how important it is to not only pay attention to the reputation of the school, but also to their expertise in whatever major you’re pursuing. A school can be top ranked, but this does not mean necessarily that it’s the best school for whatever you plan to do. Secondly, what helped me ultimately make what I consider the perfect decision for me in regards to where I study is that I knew what I wanted academically, but I also knew what sort of environment I wanted to be in. I knew that I loved cities, and constant hustle and bustle and I knew it was imperative that I be in a lively atmosphere. When narrowing down the colleges I wanted to go to, I made sure that I also looked at where these colleges were situated. It’s okay to not know exactly what you want to study, but if you sort of know the kind of environment that works best for you, I think it will go a long way in making your study abroad an even better experience.

What was your most memorable experience in your college life so far?

I’m part of the Alternative Breaks program at NYU, which is a service project carried out during winter and spring breaks, sort of as an alternative to the traditional partying it up in Florida. Both my freshmen and sophomore spring breaks, I went to the Dominican Republic for a week to teach English along with 13 other NYU students. I was a participant my freshmen year and I co-site led the trip my sophomore year. It has been quite honestly, the most sobering experience of my life. Education is not a priority in the DR, and school children there attend maybe a third of what a student in the United States does. The environment in the DR is very political and incredibly volatile. The whole experience has made me grateful for the relatively stable environment I have always had, both in Malaysia and in the United States. On a less serious note, the DR is an incredibly beautiful country with people who are far more generous than they should be. I’ve made some of my best friends doing this service project as well as discovered what I truly want to do with my life.