Alum­nus liv­ing his NY dream

New Straits Times - - Excellence In Education -

T’S New York! How many peo­ple get to say that they’ve lived in New York, not for a va­ca­tion, but to build a life in New York? The lo­ca­tion of my uni­ver­sity was a huge fac­tor. The pace for ev­ery­thing in New York is so much faster so I get to learn and grow so much quicker.

“I’ve only lived in New York for nine months, but I feel that I’ve grown so much. Start­ing a whole new life in New York is not easy, but once things fall into place, it is so worth it,” said Liew Khye Borg, an A-Level alum­nus of Sun­way Col­lege on why he chose to fur­ther stud­ies at the New York Uni­ver­sity (NYU).

“NYU Tisch School of the Arts is one of the top per­form­ing arts schools in Amer­ica. Be­ing a big Broad­way and choir geek my­self, I re­ally wanted to be in a uni­ver­sity swarmed with tal­ented per­form­ers and learn humbly along­side them. These are the peo­ple who dedicate their lives to perfect their per­form­ing skills and, thus, get­ting the op­por­tu­nity to per­form with them was in­valu­able,” he said.

Liew is pursuing the Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence with a Ma­jor in Chem­istry at NYU un­der the Pub­lic Ser­vice De­part­ment (JPA) schol­ar­ship and is en­joy­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence there.

Liew, 20, said he was asked on the rea­son he chose to study in the United States in­stead of in the United Kingdom.

“I got ac­cepted into a few UK univer­si­ties, in­clud­ing Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Lon­don (UCL) and King’s Col­lege Lon­don, but I turned down these offers the minute I re­ceived my NYU ac­cep­tance let­ter. At­tend­ing NYU was a gut feel­ing of mine. It just felt right and I felt that I be­longed there.

“How­ever, I will al­ways re­mem­ber not to get car­ried away with Amer­i­can val­ues that might con­tra­dict with the prac­tices of Asian so­ci­ety,” he said.

Liew also made a good friend in an Amer­i­can named Michael Cleary, as NYU has a dorm­ing pol­icy of pair­ing up first-year stu­dents ac­cord­ing to their ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tions.

“It was hard talk­ing to Michael at first be­cause of the lan­guage bar­rier. We had dif­fer­ent ac­cents. He speaks quickly and he was way more pro­fi­cient in English than I was, so it took some time for us to un­der­stand each other. Hav­ing him as my room­mate ac­cel­er­ated my process of ad­just­ing to New York be­cause that was where he grew up in and he pretty much owns the town.”

At NYU, Liew is also in­volved in the choir. “I au­di­tioned for the NYU cho­ral so­ci­ety and got picked into a se­lec­tive choir with 28 mem­bers — Uni­ver­sity Singers. I was over­joyed when I found out I got in be­cause I did not know if I was good enough for them.”

Af­ter com­plet­ing his de­gree, Liew plans to teach and, hope­fully, get into mu­sic de­pend­ing on the op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able.

“I want to be a chem­istry or mu­sic teacher. I can­not imag­ine my­self do­ing any­thing else other than teach­ing.

“I be­lieve I will get the op­por­tu­nity to in­flu­ence the younger gen­er­a­tion with my ideals, which in­clude one must al­ways be­lieve in them­selves, work hard to get what they want and to al­ways be kind to one an­other. See­ing stu­dents grow will be re­ward­ing,” he said.

One of the best things he took away from his stud­ies at Sun­way Col­lege to his life in NYU, he said, was good peo­ple are the ones who would crit­i­cise you in front of you so you that you would know your mis­takes and im­prove.

“Bad peo­ple are the ones who would smile and make small talk but crit­i­cise you be­hind your back. I def­i­nitely ap­pre­ci­ate the good peo­ple be­cause they are will­ing to risk your friend­ship just so they can tell you how they feel and make you a better per­son.”

Liew Khye Borg

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