I never believed this moment will ever come. At least, not at this particular juncture of life. What timing! It seems so weird. Yet, it's indescribably satisfying.
A distant dream packaged in a 5 copy thick envelope, chillingly congratulative phone calls by the ever elegant Ms.Kalis, swooshed through an interview by a bunch of smart-looking Caucasian executives and baam!...the dreams became reality and off you go for an adventure of a lifetime, all expenses paid.
Yes, I am flying to the United States of America! *Coca-Cola Cheers, Ronald McDonald high-fives, Lady Gaga hits on the background!*
So what if it's for one semester only? It's a golden chance to get a taste of the much-hyped American Dream. The baseball-burgers-Greek party culture! Seriously, America didn't came on top of my list after high school. Simply because the top 2 choices of my profession were coincidentally law and medicine; both which are post-graduate studies there. As I finally narrowed down to law, only British castles and sunny Australia beaches cropped across my mind.
I definitely felt relieved after making a decision to accept the offer. It wasn't exactly an easy choice to make. Yes, it's extremely tempting but I guess the things which are pulling me back are the plans, hopes and promises which I vowed to pursue during my 2nd year at the university. There were just so many things which I have promised to do: getting down and dirty in civil society campaigns, being committed to the ALSA organizing commitee, a few tournaments here and there, the much-anticipated faculty orientation....
But I'm glad those nasty clouds of confusion are over. I'm amazed at the level of support and encouragement I receive from lecturers, friends and coursemates alike. Rest assured, I'll make the very best of my 4 months at the other half of the world. Many discoveries await and I'll keep y'all on constant annoying update!
We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.
~Robert J. McCracken
This might sounds overly dramatic, but the sentiments of immigrants who set sail from all across the world to bask at the symbolic Statue of Liberty are somewhat similar to mine now. Beyond the culture, cuisine and places I intend to travel, what I wanted to discover most in the "Land of the Free" are the values which Americans uphold so proudly: Jeffersonian democracy. True freedom of religion. Active freedom of expression. Equality of opportunities. Most of which are entombed in the famous US Bill of Rights.
However, I think we all know that things aren't as optimistic as it looks at the world's superpower. As Uncle Sam faces the dangerous economic turmoil it has gotten itself into, a deadlock of political will between the Democrats and Republicans at Congress and an unprecedented waning of global influence due to China's rise, it is indeed a very interesting time to learn first hand on how Americans whip the old man in shape in light of these 21st century challenges.
And if I'm lucky enough, maybe the "law student" in me will find the time to read and discuss upon several famous American court cases that shaped the nation. Switching the dynamic Lord Denning for an equally controversial Antonin Scalia! Yipee!
Maybe I should stop now. Wouldn't want to get my hopes so high and all, right? I'll just go with the flow. But I'm sure an extremely new world awaits me. Excitement is in the air.
A few shots (thanks to Wilson's camera) at the Malaysian American Centre of Educational Exchange (MACEE), the nexus of our exchange program management.
Global Ugrad grantees and future scholars! I am very thankful for the seniors who shared their amazing experiences at the US. You guys have inspired me and the others so much, especially with all the great adventures you have captured on camera. I wish I could have a blast there too!
Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that is the way I know I am an American. America is the only idealistic nation in the world. ~Woodrow Wilson
For the first few weeks upon hearing that I am awarded this wonderful opportunity, it really meant a lot to me. For all the past scars that remind me very much about how brutally realistic and dirty both people as well as the nation can go in awarding opportunities to its young talent, I am thankful that there are people who still cherish everything an idealistic (possibly naive?) boy stands for: honesty, integrity and sincerity.
Therefore, a big thank you to MACEE, the US Department of State, University of Malaya, the law faculty, Ugrad seniors, friends and families.
Now, it's time to *Partaaay in the USA!*
By: Lim Wei Jiet (UGRAD 2011-2012)
Wei Jiet is humbled to be a Global Undergraduate Exchange Program scholar under the United States Department of State. He will be spending a semester at the United States to study International Relations/Political Science at a private liberal arts college at South Dakota. The West Coast, Washington DC and Florida are on his travel plans already!