2 Things to Remember If You Really Want to Study Overseas

“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 ease the worry of people, I have two things that I hope people will remember about studying overseas:

Thing #1: To teachers/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.

Thing #2: 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.

The journey I took is best for me, but it might not be best for you.

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.

At the end of the day, success is not determined by where you study. It is determined by you.