Why the US? – Brendan Yap (New York University ’21)


Before I left for the US, I thought to myself – am I going to be one of those Malaysians that only hangs out with other Malaysians, or am I going to be those who completely “forget” my Malaysian roots, speak in a weird accent all the time (oops actually I do this sometimes), and spend my time only with non-Malaysians? Indeed, I thought I only had 2 choices. It seemed to me, after all, that everyone I knew who studied abroad ended up being one or the other anyway.

How wrong I was. As weird as it sounds, studying in the US both allowed me to surround myself in a global community (NYU plugin here, you can’t get a more diverse community than New York City) while strengthening my Malaysian roots. With NYU having one of the tiniest Malaysian populations amongst American colleges, I had no choice but to step out of my comfort zone. But boy, it is well worth it. From attending free Broadway shows with classmates (perks of going to school in New York City again!) to joining the NYU Quidditch team (yes, we’re a real thing! Join your school’s Quidditch team for a great time!!), I love every moment I get to immerse myself in American culture. At the same time, my fondness for Malaysia grew ever stronger as I realize how much I actually missed home. I am actively involved in a plethora of Malaysia-based student organizations as it gives me an opportunity to connect with fellow Malaysians in the US.

Studying abroad is truly unique in the sense that it allows you to enjoy the very best of both worlds.