The term "alma mater", in these times, refers to an allegorical phrase that describes a university, college or school which an individual has attended. Made up of two root words in latin - alma("nourishing/kind"), and mater("mother") - the usage of the term in the modern era stems from the University of Bologn, which is said to be the oldest university in the Western world in continuous operation. Founded in 1088, the motto of the University is Alma Mater Studiorum ("Nurturing Mother of Studies").
And although it is usually mother who understandaby gets the credit for the develpment of children, the role of fathers is hardly less improtant. In the case of Alya Riad, Sunway University and the Centre for American Education (CAE) can be actually said to be her alma pater- because her father Riad Asmat went through the same programme that she did. BLAZE got hold of the Naza Corp Director of Strategy and his actuarial science offspring, and they kindly share their story with us.
Hello! My name is Alya Riad, and I am 19. I come fron an average family of five, where I am the eldest of three kids. Although we are originally from Petaling Jaya, my family actually moved to England ins 2012, where we spent two-years-plus before coming back to Malaysia. It was an extraordinary family experience, and I went to the City of Norwich School in Norwich. At the school, I managed to win a Certificate of Excellent Conscientious Attitude for Englisht, the Form Tutor Award, and a Progree Award for Business!
Just like many people, I love attending gigs, baking, blogging. I also play the piani. Reading is another go-to-hobby, and I was hooked on The Curious Incident of the Don in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It's a gripping story about how and autistic teen goes about his bonormal daily life. The different layers of the main character are depicted so well by Haddon's impercable writing - so I expereince an emotional rollercoaster. My favorite author, though, is Stepehen Chbosky.
What made me chooase to the ADTP at Sunway University? It was familiar to my dad, so I had confidence in him sending me to Sunway, haha! After studying in England, I knew that I wanted to go to America for university. My dat took that account, and led me to Sunway, as he had already experience the twinning programme back in the day.
I love the ADTP programme. I love all the different people that I've had the pleasure of becoming friends with. It's not just us Malaysians in this environment - we've got poeple from all corners of the wolrd as well. The most challenging things was getting used to the courseworke weight-age, as I've always been educated in a system where final exams are most important. I must say, it's a fairly well thought out programme. Students are inclined to put in effort throughout the entire semester (from courseork to quizzes) - and by the end, they would already know how to go about their final exams, instead of only working hard when final exams come up (which is very daunting).
For me, the best thing that I took away from ADTP ws the friends. I know that the friends I made in ADTP will be friends I choose to be my bridesmaids/godparents of my future children, because we've been through so much together - from assignments to personal issues - in the last year and a half. Other tha academic life, I was Head of Marketing in the Centre for American Education (CAE) Student Committee.
I am pursuing an undergraduate degree in Actuarial Science, under Purdue University's College of Science, which is in West Lafeayette, Indiana. I love math, and I love business - so, why not put the two together and strive to come out with a commendable degree? After finishing the programe, I will hopefully go on to do my Master's. If not, a job in America or England would have to be my post-graduation goal.
I'm Riad, a local boy who was born and bred in Petaling Jaya. I went through the Government School system right up till Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) — yes, it was called SPM then; I am not sure what it is now, ha ha! Upon finishing school and getting my results, my parents and I looked at the options: between local institutions, and — possibly — foreign-linked ones.
The final decision we made was for me to go to Sunway College, which had then only established the Twinning Programme to the US with Western Michigan University (WMU). I was part of one of the earliest groupings (Group 5); we were pioneers of sorts, but we always thought of ourselves as guinea pigs too, as we were prepared to head to Kalamazoo. (Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo.)
Education in Malaysia at the New Town Campus was good and qualitative, preparing us for what was to come. We were guided by a Resident Director of sorts from WMU, who assured us of the correct guidance and advice throughout our programme here. No queries went unanswered, and — more importantly — genuine advice was always given; this was not only on academic issues, also on expectations of life over there. Bear in mind that, at that time, we were naive kids, averaging an age of 18 years — so yes, I was most appreciative of the set-up that was done for us all.
There was not that we much did to be active students at Sunway back then — remember, pioneers! For us, it was really studying and trying to get ourselves out there at the soonest. All factors — including the economics of it all, i.e. costs and timeliness — were priorities. The College then didn't offer much in terms of extra curricular activities — but we students enjoyed the experience in our own ways. For example, we parked at the side streets, and stayed in line to get the most limited car passes to park in that little campus site. Yes, we had to pay for it too — if we were lucky to get one! In summary, it was — for me — a brilliant experience, and I would wish for it to happen
For anyone that gets such an opportunity. Also, I recommend that you join a fraternity, if you can. Mine was Sigma Lambda Beta — and we played in the WMU rugby team and the Kalamazoo Rugby Football Team. Our meeting base was at the Up N Under Pub!
When choosing Sunway for Alya, I will admit that a bit of my alumnus spirit kicked in there! Her experience at Sunway now is probably different, honestly. I am very glad that she has pulled through with help from her (older and wiser) friends, with her future likely chosen to be in Purdue next year. As for my time at Sunway College, the camaraderie of us all coming from Malaysia heading to the same place was a nice experience to go through. We had each other's backs, and all that. Most of us went our own ways when we were there — but we still ended up as friends for life. We meet often enough to rekindle our memories — and I think we're quite proud of what we've achieved since the days of the College in New Town.
If there was one word I would use to describe Sunway College, it would be "port". A place to learn and experience - a future "port" of sorts for anyone wanting to achieve something. Especially with the huge campus now! What would I say to this generation of students? No clichés - because you are students, and studying comes as a qualifying factor. Well, someone's paying for it, right? So, you have to do it, regardless! Ha ha ha! But more importantly, embrace the opportunity to learn, and live it! It is the total experience that counts, and it will make one a better person in life. Simple. BLAZE