The American Degree Transfer Program (ADTP) students - Fong Hui Chi and Abigail Lim Shu Yee - from the Sunway University Centre for American Education (CAE), have managed to make their way to the home of the brave and the land of the free.
The ADTP was developed specifically to allow students to study for the first part of their American degree at Sunway University, and was designed in consultation with American universities to ensure that the students could transfer seamlessly to America to complete their studies. Just like other undergraduate degree programmes in the USA, the Sunway University ADTP provides a mixture of specific subjects and general education, ensuring that students are well prepared for the upper level degree courses for their studies in the USA. Alongside their academic studies, students are encouraged to take part in a range of extracurricular activities, including community services, field trips and sporting events.
"The reason I chose ADTP was because I wanted to have the independence to choose courses and the freedom to plan my graduation track," said Hui Chi, the 21- year-old native of Puchong. "l am a curious child, with a wide range of interest in different fields, and I wanted to have the chance to try them all while I can. Unlike other programmes, the ADTP allowed me to do just that." Having completed her ADTP at Sunway University in March 2014, Hui Chi transferred to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities for a degree in supply chain and operations management in fall of 2014.
Abigail, who is a 19-year-old Kuala Lumpur lass, had a rather different reason for undergoing the ADTP. "Firstly, I'm blessed with parents who love me unconditionally. I'm the third child among four siblings. Both of my elder sisters did the American Degree Programme as well - whereas my younger brother is still in high school. I was already familiar with the programme, and I chose to do it at Sunway University because its location is convenient for me to commute from home."
The engineering student, who cites Haruki Murakami as her favourite author, knew that she wanted to further her studies in America, and that the best option for this path was the ADTP. "This option is more economical as I'll be able to get an exposure of the American educational system. Moreover, the flexibility of taking courses that aren't related to my major is really an aspect that draws me to ADTP and American universities in general." Abigail has since gone off to continue her studies at Cornell University, New York.
"This option is more economical as I'll be able to get an exposure of the American educational system."
For both of them, undertaking the ADTP has been a positive experience. "l made friends with people from all over the world, such as China, Korea, Zimbabwe, and Sri Lanka," Hui Chi explained." I missed arguing (discussing) with these friends over the simplest things that are different in our cultures, while celebrating the similarities that we could find! I loved the fact that the lecturers highly encouraged us to participate in class discussions. In my opinion, the best way to polish an individual's public speaking skills is to speak up in class"
Abigail said that maintaining a good CGPA throughout the course was a challenge. "The subjects offered are both interesting and stimulating at the same time. Another aspect that's challenging is subject enrollment; it's important to pick the right subjects, because the credits of some of these subjects may not be transferrable in certain American universities! Overall, though, I think the programmes structure is well-balanced. The marking scheme of 60% coursework and 40% final exam is really advantageous - in this way, students are encouraged to maintain a consistent performance throughout the semester, and we aren't graded solely on one exam. Instead, we are graded holistically."
Both young ladies are also not just bookworms, but active in extra-curricular activities as well. Abigail was the Head of the Community Department Of the Sunway Student Volunteers (SSV), as well as a member of the CAE Student Committee. Meanwhile, Hui Chi - whose love of all things Korean is especially strong when it comes to its TV and food culture - is currently the President of the Malaysian Student Association at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. It comes as no surprise, then to note that both are recipients of the Tan Sri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah Entrance Scholarship.
For Hui Chi, the biggest take away from ADTP was being independent and being prepared. "My peers in University of Minnesota are at a different level, and I am still lacking, but I am already on the way. The ADTP experience was a great push to get me started on my journey. As described, if I am not prepared, I would be a mouse chasing after a cheetah, and I can imagine that being very difficult. I am responsible for my own graduation plan, my own schedules, and my own performances. ADTP students receive much freedom - but we also receive a similar amount of responsibilities.
"l would recommend the ADTP to others who are keen to study in America, as it's economical and it provides students with a platform to excel academically," Abigail added. "Also, time management is an important skill that every student has to master. We need to have a balance between our studies and personal life." BLAZE