Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies International Institutes

Chean Sweet Chiao

From 7 – 22 August 2017, five students from Kolej Yayasan Saad participated in the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies International Institutes organised by Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies (SPCS) in Stanford University, San Francisco. According to Times Higher Education, Stanford University is ranked 1st in the US and 3rd in the world. Some of the notable alumni of Stanford University include America’s 31st President, Herbert Hoover; Sally Ride, the first American woman to go into space, as well as founders and co-founders of Google, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, Netflix, Instagram, Snapchat, Paypal, Tesla and Yahoo!

The five KYS participants posing with those from other schools. The writer is in the front row (middle)

Through this trip, we aim to establish a connection between Stanford University and Kolej Yayasan Saad in hopes of providing opportunities for academically-talented students in Malaysia to experience the academics and culture in an American college. The International Institutes encourages its participants to engage their thinking in a wide range of topics by participating in workshops; thus building our critical thinking, leadership and decision making skills. Most excitingly, we got to meet and interact with peers from all around the world. It was truly a culturally-enriching experience.

The team accompanied by their teacher, Mdm. Fadzlyaton

In general, our schedule for each day was quite rigid, with classes starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. as well as a very strict curfew and lights off rule at 11 p.m. every night. During our stay at Stanford University, we also had a few field trips during the weekend where we visited famous spots in the San Francisco bay area. Besides that, we also had a tour of Levi’s Stadium located in the city of Santa Clara. For your information, Levi’s Stadium was opened in 2014 and prides itself as a leading example to other stadiums as it is one of the first stadiums to generate its own energy using a green roof and solar panels. Besides, the stadium operates on a strict no-paper system, where all food menus and tickets are accessed through customers’ mobile devices. Lastly, Levi’s Stadium does not sell any frozen food. They obtain all their food sources from local farms, helping to drive the economy of Santa Clara.

Not to mention, Stanford University itself is a very popular tourist spot for visitors in San Francisco. Our program was held around the central campus, consisting of buildings such as the Main Quad, Memorial Church and Tresidder Union. Fortunately for our beloved chaperone, Cikgu Fazlyaton, there are several art galleries in the university, namely the Cantor Arts Center and Stanford Arts Gallery. We managed to have a scavenger hunt on our last day, where we got to visit all these spots. Lastly, for an anatomy workshop, we also visited the Center of Clinical Sciences Research where we got to hold real organs in our own hands!

The highlights of this programme are definitely the Multicultural Exhibition and the Global Solutions Project presentation. In the Multicultural Exhibition, we not only showcased the specialities of Malaysia, but also learnt about the wonderful quirks of other countries like Kazakhstan and Colombia. The Global Solutions Project presentation was a grand finale to a project that all the participants had to work on in groups consisting of members of various ages and nationalities. These groups will meet up to discuss solutions to issues that may happen in the country each group has made up for themselves. It felt like we were a group of governors for our very own country. It was a fun experience coming up with our own country’s identity and legend. Most importantly, we were exposed to different perspectives and views from young people of various backgrounds.

All in all, it was a truly memorable trip for the five of us. We sincerely hope that more students will be able to have this experience in the coming years. We also thank everyone who assisted us in completing this journey directly and indirectly.

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