KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian students wary about pursuing a US education due to shooting incidents at schools and universities there should seek assurances from those who gained a degree there, the United States’ top diplomat here said.
US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir said just talking to friends and family members who had ventured there “will be a great resource”.
Admitting that parents might have concerns about safety, especially in relation to the gun control issues there, she said the overall experience of Malaysian students in the US should be taken into account.
“A lot of Malaysians have studied and returned home. It is a big country and there are so many institutions of higher education. So, some of the things that are reported, they are real, but overall the experience of most students in the US is that it is very safe.
“Like in every country, there is crime, but it is very safe. A lot of students are very comfortable there,” she said after launching the EducationUSA University Fair 2018 at a hotel here yesterday.
Lakhdhir also addressed other factors that could cause parents to be hesitant about sending their children to the US, such as distance and costs involved.
“The world has gotten smaller. It would be easier for you to know what is happening.
“It is far but it’s not that far, and for the quality of education you will be receiving, it is worth it.
“People have this impression that it is prohibitively expensive. It is not. There are ways you can do this; it’s really about working and understanding and talking to the university representatives,” she said.
Citing an Open Doors report 2017 by the Institute of International Education, she said the US had the highest number of international students from around the world.
“More than 8,200 Malaysians now study in the US,” she said, and Malaysian student visas to the US had a 99% approval rating.
“That’s an extraordinarily high number.
“The US has almost 5,000 institutions of higher education, colleges and universities of every kind.
“There is something for everyone, and you do not gain entrance to these schools solely through a single test structure.
“This means that you have the power to pick what you want. You have the power to explore different options.”