Why the US? – Edrea Lee (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor ‘20)


“It is not enough to dream. We need to live the dream.”

This is the motto that I live by now, having studied in the U.S. for 3 years and counting. Prior to coming to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (UMich), I could only dream of heading projects and initiatives to tackle social issues that I am passionate about. I thought to myself, “I don’t know that much to do anything. I don’t think I can take the pressure. I don’t believe I can be the ‘one.’”

If there is anything that I learned in the U.S., it is that everyone can make a difference. My school holds on to the belief that every student can change the world. No matter how small or how big your hopes and dreams are, everyone can and deserves to work towards it. UMich invests in student projects and the growth of its student leaders by rolling out monetary grants and providing personal mentoring from university alumni. My school’s commitment to experiential learning has empowered me to step out of my comfort zone and engage with these resources to realize my goals and dreams. I was inspired to ask myself, “Why not me?”

In these past years, I have led my classmates in restructuring the online training platform for my university’s dining hall operator, organized events for the Malaysian community at my school, and this year, I will be co-organizing USAPPS, an initiative which I have been a part of since 2016. Three years ago, I would have never imagined that I was capable of being at the forefront of these initiatives and efforts to strengthen and make our society a better place. Today, I am ready to give back and take the lead whenever the opportunity arises. 

One of my greatest hopes is that I can share this aspect of the U.S. college education with Malaysian students of all backgrounds back home. I hope to be a resource and inspire students to live their dream of pursuing their studies in the U.S. Catch me at USAPPS 2019 as you ask yourself, “Why not me?”