‘Make full use of overseas studies’

National 2 minutes, 56 seconds


STUDENTS travelling to the US for further education were told yesterday to make full use of their opportunity for professional development during a pre-departure orientation hosted by EducationUSA, the US Embassy’s academic advising service.

“The benefits of an international education are incalculable. Students that benefit from that kind of experience grow and develop in exceptional ways. They become global citizens, more aware, more educated and more knowledgeable about how to navigate the world of the 21st century,” said US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Dr Edward Findlay.

The orientation was held at the Collective Makerspace, Gadong, and provided information on visa regulations and application.

There was also a panel discussion by Bruneian students and alumni from American universities regarding safety advices, travel tips and life experiences as well as an American university student and lecturer who talked about how best to make use of the study abroad opportunity.

An alumnus from University of California Farah Nabilah Mohammad Zaidi Davis said that students should not only focus on achieving academic excellence but also to make use of the connection and opportunities to develop themselves professionally.

“Take advantage of all the opportunities there like internship, you can actually go out and be involved in research. I’ve been in two internships and have gained a lot of experience and that helped with my resume for my future,” she added.

Norzaidah Mardani, an alumnus who graduated from Georgetown University, Washington DC, with a Masters in Security Studies advised students to make full use of the different learning environment to learn and develop different ideas for their personal development.

“What I think is more important (than getting good grades) is to participate in classes, engage in opinions with people around you. The (American universities) provide a safe learning environment which emphasises expression and to stand your ground with your beliefs (that helps you grow),” she said.

She pointed out one of the challenges that will be faced by Muslim students was finding halal food.

She said that when she was in the US, she approached the Muslim communities and students in the university which was more familiar with the area. She also mentioned a helpful website called Zabihah.com that contains a database of halal restaurants in various countries.

According to EducationUSA Advisor Mayra Robles, the embassy has registered 15 students that will be travelling to the US to further their education in universities such as Cornell University, The University of Rochester, New York University, Pepperdine University, Purdue University, The Culinary Institute of America and Berklee College of Music among others.

She said many students are currently awaiting their confirmation letters and that this year’s total number of students travelling to the US for education will most likely exceed last year’s figure of 35 students.

During an interview with the students, many expressed excitement at the opportunity.

Gayatri Raj who will be studying at Purdue University said that she was interested in experiencing the “liberal” culture of America and to travel and meet different people.

Honn Wee Son who will be studying at University of California, San Diego, said that he hopes to make many new friends during his study in America.

“For the first time, we’re going to be fully independent. In Brunei, we are quite taken care of so being able to be away from that is something new to experience,” said Hjh 'Azemah Hanim Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Hj Abd Rahman who will be studying at the University of California, Los Angeles

The Brunei Times