There was once a girl who had big dreams. Not big enough to conquer the world, but dreams big enough to get her somewhere. This little girl grew up wanting to learn things she never knew existed, to explore parts of the world that she had never seen before and that chance finally came.
I grew up always wanting to study abroad, not because I thought that Malaysia wasn't good enough for me, but because I felt like the many years of education in Malaysia was confining me and I needed a change of perspective. But I decided to stay back and study in Malaysia , and good thing I did because I would never have made so many great friends and I would not have had the chance to participate in as many programs as I did back at home. However, part of me always questioned what it would be like to study overseas. I always wanted the chance to experience the American style of teaching and somehow I knew that studying abroad was something I wasn't quite ready to give up on just yet.
The chance to study in the U.S. came at a critical moment of my life. I was facing one of my hardest moments emotionally and I knew that I had to take this opportunity to show myself that life wasn't as cloudy as I was feeling at that moment, that there was still so much to look forward too. The program , called the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program is an exchange program fully sponsored by the US Department of State for university students in Malaysia to study in an assigned university in the US.It took me two weeks to get all my recommendation letters from my lecturers (they were sooo slow) and to complete all the forms . I remember not writing my personal statement till the day before the deadline and my mind was all over the place but I took about an hour to write it. It was about my dreams of becoming an environmental engineer and contributing to Malaysia. Apparently, they liked it and I had to fly back to Kuala Lumpur the following week for an interview. Kinda froze when I walked in the room to see so many people looking at me but I took my place at the table and answered the questions with as much confidence as I could muster.
The call came a week later saying that I have been nominated for the one year program (3 students got the one year program, 5 the one semester ) and after much waiting I was finally informed that I was selected to represent Malaysia in the UGRAD program. I was going to study at Florida Gulf Coast university at Fort Myers, Florida and was going to leave from KL on the 15th of August.
I was super excited to go, but left my packing to the last minute as usual (you know me) . Thankfully , I had help .And did I mention great friends?
Anyway I left to the airport at 10pm on Monday, 15th of August, said goodbye to some people who became so important to me the past year (thank you) and boarded the plane to Singapore. Spent the night at the transit hotel then left at 6 am for transit at Japan, Houston and finally , Fort Myers. The whole journey was about 36 hours and I slept through the most part of the 3 plane rides. Yup, I'm good like that.
Arrived at Fort Myers at 10.30 pm on Tuesday night and saw Timothy Gjini from the International Services office holding a sign that said "Welcome, Nasha" . So great to have someone to welcome you at the airport after a long journey. Met Hun Whee from South Korea, the other person from the UGRAD program and we made our way to Florida Gulf Coast University.
So far it's been a good couple of days. It's really beautiful over here and it's hard not to fall in love with Florida. It's really been a dream come true for me to finally be here. I know now that if you work hard enough and trust in God with your whole heart, He'll reward you with so many blessings.
Fort Myers beach at sunset
Thank you God, for giving me what I need and for making my dreams possible. I'm so glad I trusted you when things were tough .
You give and take away. But when You give, You give so much that I can only wonder what did I do to deserve all these blessings.
Enjoying every minute of my time here in sunny Florida.
And thank you for the going away presents everyone ! My lovely korean family for the cards with all the photos , Jerusha for the card and the bookmark and for your company , Sun for the card that made me miss you so much, Yin Leng for the slideshow CD of photos of our course mates (that was seriously touching la when I saw the slideshow I really felt like I have the best course mates in the world ), Fit for the Jewellery box ( its on my table right now) , and Ben for the photos and the letters and the camera (coming soon! )
And also to all my course mates who gave me the really cool bottle that changes colour and the pillow cases.
Sending you all my love from the US !
By: Nasha Lee (UGRAD 2011-2012)