The Desire to Study Overseas

Photo by Sean MacEntee

"How did you get to go to Canada?"

"Why Canada?"

"What scholarship are you under?"

Many asked me those questions and I think many more are wondering about the same things. Let me try to answer all in one go. Bismillah.

After I received my SPM results, I applied for JPA scholarship for oversea studies and my application was accepted. I attended the interview that JPA appointed me. The interview was done in groups and we had to discuss an issue. I passed the interview. I chose the field that I wanted to study in and JPA chose the country that I will go to. JPA chose Canada.

JPA enrolled me in Taylor's University College, Subang Jaya in a Canadian university preparation program called the International Canadian Pre-University (ICPU). Now, it's called Canadian Pre-University (CPU). There are two requirements that I have to fulfill: requirements of the program to graduate and the requirements of JPA to qualify me to go to Canada. Those two may and may not overlap each other.

I needed at least an average of 80% in ICPU and at least a 6.5 in IELTS (an English proficiency test) in order to quality for a seat to go to Canada. I applied for student visa from the Canadian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. I applied for university myself. I can choose at least 5 universities and rank them according to my preference. Out of the five, JPA chose the one that I will go to and JPA chose University of Toronto (coincidentally, my first choice).

I passed ICPU and IELTS, got my admission letter from University of Toronto, and a flight ticket to Toronto, Canada.

Complicated? Good! Now ignore for a moment about what I just wrote and focus on what I'm about to write:

I understand that SPM students and SPM leavers are worried about this stuff. I was too. Some worried more than others. But when you get to my age, you'll look back and realize that your worry is out of proportion from the actual seriousness of the situation. It's not life or death, so chill out a bit.

To teachers (and parents), please please please don't freak out your students/children. They are already freaking out as they are. I hear some teachers say stuff like, "SPM is not everything, but everything starts with SPM". That's a good twist of lines but what you're essentially saying is this: SPM IS EVERYTHING! (yes, with all caps and exclamation mark at the end).

SPM is not everything. Stop define success and future success by how many As students get on tests, or you might lose a lot of young, talented, and gifted people whose true potential can't be quantified with a bunch of numbers and letters. Grades don't measure a person's self-worth and value to the community.

I love my teachers and I respect them very much. I still visit my teachers every once in a while. But when it comes to this issue, I am putting my foot down.

To students, don't worry about the whole thing. You can't swallow a whole chicken. Take it one bite at a time. It is awesome that you want to go overseas and I highly recommend it. There's so much that you can learn inside the classes and outside of them.

But if, for some reason, you don't make it overseas, that's okay. There is more than one way to go overseas. Trust me on that. You're probably introduced to a few of them and thinking that they are the only ways for you to go overseas. That is false! There are more ways than you can even imagine. When one door closes, another one opens. Find the one that opens and stop staring at the one that closes. How I got to where I am right now is just one of the many possible doors out there.

I want to close with this mental note: be grateful with what you do have. Stop torturing yourself with all the things that you don't have. If you want something, then try your best to get it. If you don't get it, be grateful that you tried, look at what you already have in your hands, and move on.

In the end, Allah knows best.


  1. My parents kept pestering me to go overseas. I want to make them proud by studying overseas but I just dont have the confidence. I cant speak english spontaneously but I can write well. Im not good in making friends and socializing. Im worried cant I survive overseas with all these weakness I have. But I really do want to make my parents proud because I've disappointed them for so long.....

    1. Assalamualaikum dear,if you think u can't succeed or u think u can succeed,well,u are correct.You are what u think. think positive. appreciate yourself more. If you think positive, u'll attract positive things such as getting positive impression on u and vice versa.

      It's good to admit ur weakness but knowing that, do research and experiment any self improvement method.don't hesitate in taking opportunities.Just do it. And,as a muslim,i recommend u to do solat tahajjud.tahajjud had great impact on lower my stress enzym,and somehow Allah guide me how to have good talk. plus reminding/stopping me from saying useless things.

      embrace Islam tightly,so that u n people around u will feel the ukhuwah fillah with u.i recommend usrah for a firm start.

      to be truth,when u started to live in english-spoken environment, u'll get used to it. my experience: 2 weeks.don't b afraid of making grammar mistake, because by doing mistakes u learn n gain experience.

      try reading books like '7 habits of highly effective people ' / 'universal attraction' / neurolinguistic programme(NLP)/ the secret.(

      If you ain't seeing any waves(change),means u ain't kicking harder.break a leg, girl.

      p/s:i am an engineering student and was an outcast since kindergarten but alhamdulillah, i'm just feeling great now,with Allah permission.

    2. About speaking English spontaneously, it might as well be that you just never try it enough. It was the same for me. Going to public school for all my school years (until SPM) made sure that speaking English fluently was the least of my concern. I was never that exposed to the environment of students aiming to go overseas or even achieving straight As. I had pretty laidback school years and I applied for JPA on a whim. Being in preparatory program exposed me to a different environment of constantly speaking in English and that was how I learn to speak. If you have good enough vocabs and grammar in you head I'm sure you can get used to speaking in some time. Presentations do wonders in improving confidence. Just get involved with good audience and try to approach native English speaker. If these people can understand you, then everyone can.

  2. Speaking of going overseas, currently I am doing A-levels. It is not that I am not trying my best. I really really want to study abroad if I will be given the chance. But then I have to spend too much(for me it is too much) just to apply for certain courses. Have to attend about 3 or 4 external exams and all of it are very costly. My family members are not really funded. So I am unsure with the decision of spending so much just for some applications while I can just further my study in local along with a scholarship.

  3. I missed my chance to study overseas as I'm the only daughter and my dad didn't allowed me to go although I got the offer. It took me one year to get over it, and I was kinda frustrated with my father but not anymore. Alhamdulillah, I'm thankful for where I am now. Yes, I believe Allah grant our wishes in such an unexpected way sometimes even better than what we wish for :).

  4. i have a desire to study oversea too.. but i found more than that.. not for study but to travel the country.. i see my friend update their lives study in oversea with a variety of places.. different of style that killing me and hardly die me to go there too.. every sem.. my result cannot be proud of.. so it's just a desire in a dream.. my english also was not so good.. either in writing or speaking.. can you please give me tips to study..

    1. My dear, In my point of view, don't feel inferior with yourself...take it as this way...sometimes we have to work harder to gain certain knowledge in life...however,as we go along the way, I think I couldn't agree less with aiman quoting " we should be grateful for what we have now..." Well, to be frankly, I don't even gain the chance to study abroad after my SPM like others who are more likely to have the chance...But, I did move on and I'm determining to try another door instead...I'm currently on my way preparing for the student exchange program (well profoundly because I'm studying at one of our own local university).well, I guess there is no doubt that if we learn the virtue of syukur, Allah will gives as more rezki and prosperity in a way that we one would even expect!

      Oh! before I lose the thoughts to myself, to improve your english language,there are definitely plenty of ways to do so. You could start be simple ways like watching English movies without any subtitles (It could help you to enhance your learning skills in english languange, InshaAllah) or read english magazines or newspaper everyday.Put more effort in increasing your vocab...By then inshaAllah your grammar will improve as well. Well, I'm quite a learner myself in English language as you do, but InshaAllah it'll work.
      Lastly, heads up, my dear! don't lose yourself and don't be afraid to fall in order to equire knowledge. Learning is part of jihad. InshaAllah He is definitely with us ^_^.

  5. I wish I could go there somewhere.. I mean overseas. At first I was like..why must students go to overseas? because in Malaysia already have so many opportunities. Students will not suffer from anything..good food, near with friends and families, and can even save money from costly fees. Some of my lecturers even said it's no use to study abroad..but then again I began to think, there are a lot of advantages when studying abroad..and more importantly, the costly fees can be settled with a little help from scholarships.

    Pray for me. I really want to go to UK one day..but have to finish some of my papers first. Currently I'm doing ACCA.

  6. i am one of the mental-sufferer who is forced to further my studies overseas even though i haven't finished school yet. I'm sitting for spm this year, and gosh, my parents and teachers put high expectations on me. its making me stressful. My parents even prepared the money for me to go overseas. i'm taking accountancy and addmaths and i have no confidence on scoring A's for the subjects. my parents puts me in a boarding school so that i can focus on studying. but i keep on failing the subjects! hostel life doesn't help at all! sometimes i hope i would just vanish into thin air and live quietly.

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  8. name is nasrul...i'm just 17 years old...i'm planning to go to overseas...but how if my spm result got many B but my english A??.can i apply for jpa?


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