Clarrie Ng, from Singapore, is studying at the University of Washington Bothell, which is located just north of Seattle. She is a junior, majoring in Media and Communications and minoring in Law, Societies and Justice.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I wanted a college education that allowed me choose the classes that I prefer. I think USA has that liberal approach towards learning that I really like.
Why did you choose the University of Washington Bothell?
I really like University of Washington Bothell. It is one of the three campuses of the University of Washington. I enrolled into the Bothell campus because of the small-size classes of not more than 30 students. I like that approach. I can talk to my professors and get to know more of their research and experience. It also allows me to take cross campus classes.
I think the location is very suitable for me. I really like Seattle a lot.
What do you like best?
I really like how I get to carve my own degree. I’m not required to take certain courses that I do not see necessary; I get to choose the classes. I really like the interdisciplinary approach towards students’ education. I am interested in media and law. Even though my major is media and communications, I dabbled with a few laws classes. The classes have really enriched my experience as a student and made me surer of where I will be heading with my degree.
What do you miss most?
I miss my family and the food. I do Skype with my mum from time to time. The food in USA is good, but I really miss local delicacies.
What was your biggest surprise?
My biggest surprise was how friendly U.S. people are and how environmental-friendly they are as a community. I learned a lot from that. U.S. education surprised me because students talk more than the professors.
... your biggest disappointment?
My biggest disappointment would be … I don’t exactly have one because I am enjoying myself a lot here.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
I don’t have much of a problem with language differences because in Singapore our first language is English. However, there were some variations because I had to get used to the American slang and some of the words. Otherwise, I do not have any difficulty. As a matter of fact, I’m learning two more languages in USA.
I had a hard time managing my finance because I had to do a lot of independent budgeting. In the U.S., I had rent, insurance, school fees and daily spending to think of; I have to be more careful with how I spend my money.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
The first week was awkward because I was not used to how outspoken everyone was. However, by the second week, I was almost like any other local student, mainly because I enjoy the classes and the different educational system. This allowed me to explore a different side of myself.
What are your activities?
I joined a few clubs: soccer club and United Students Against Sweatshops. I also do freelance writing for the school’s publication.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
It might be awkward initially, especially when you are the new kid. I got by just fine. I was more outspoken and extroverted so it was easy to make friends.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I have plans to continue with my master’s degree. I envision myself working with international media and policy related work, which could be based in Singapore, in order to build the ties with other countries.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
If you have the opportunity, just give it a shot! You will not regret it. Be prepared to face unfamiliar situations, but it is always fun to step out of our comfort zone and experience something different. Let the experience be yours.