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International Student of the Month - October 2013 Stephen Liew

Each month, Office of International Students and Scholars introduces one international student by highlighting their cultural background, personal experience in both home country and U.S. It is our hope that this mini introduction will help Lehigh community to have a better understanding of the international students and scholars on campus. We encourage every student to participate in this activity. If you would like to be featured, send your message to intnl@lehigh.edu.

This month, OISS Graduate Assistant, Amanda Shao, interviewed Stephen Liew, an exchange student from Malaysia. The following is the interview and pictures that Stephen shared with us.


Q: So tell me a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from, what you’re studying at Lehigh and when you’ll graduate.

A: I’m Stephen Liew and I’m from Malaysia. In Malaysia, I study at UTP, Universiti Teknologi Petronas, which is a partner of Lehigh. I’ll be here for one semester studying chemical engineering and minoring in business engineering. I’m in my third year there at UTP. So I will graduate after I complete my internship.

Q: So far, what do you think about Lehigh? Do you like the campus, the dorms, and the courses?

A: Yes. Definitely. I’m loving this place. From the facilities and the hospital, the people, the office spaces, we just got here and everything got taken care of. I don’t get that back in Malaysia.

Q: So in this short new journey of discovering America in terms of the culture, language, ideals, and traditions, what have you discovered or learned about the American culture?

A: Everyone seems to be very friendly here. It’s different from Malaysia but I don’t seem to have a word to describe it.

People like chilling out in the house. Hang out at the bar. It’s a lot of parties here. But the thing is, regardless, they all keep up with their studies. My roommates are on their Xboxes everyday and they still manage with their schoolwork. The way the system and courses work are completely different. If you have this kind of habit in Malaysia, you would definitely fail all your courses by the end of the year.

Oh and I met two people who did internships in Malaysia this past summer. It just makes the world seem so much smaller.

Q: What’s the most obvious difference between Lehigh and your home universities?

A: Definitely the style of teaching and lectures. Here is more to discussion and class participation. Back in Malaysia, they just keep feeding you information. Everything they do here is more spread out. It’s nice definitely makes me want to go to classes.

Q: Describe what daily life is like for you in your home country?

A: Wake Up. Cook on my own. Class, after class is soccer or xBox. Events at night are great too.

Q: What do you miss most about your home country?

A: The food. Favorite dishes? Chow Kueh Teow – fried rice noodles with soy sauce, shrimp, chicken, eggs.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: Mixture of everything. Process Design, Marketing, Management…it’s so diverse. Environment Engineering. Japanese. There not so much of freedom choosing your classes in Malaysia because there is structure you have to follow.

I used to have 8 in the morning classes and all the way till 7pm with only like an hour break. I like the class schedules here in the US more.

I would love to stay here for my internship. In my university, we have to do 8 months of internship. We get no breaks, sometimes we get one or two weeks of breaks but school and internships are critical during the last two year of studies.

Q: If someone was going to visit your home country, what would you tell them to do there?

A: Go to the beaches or island hoping like to Pulau Langkawi, Redang, or visit East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak)

Q: What side are you on? Are you modern or traditional?

A: Modern, I’m really into to technology. Not really into culture and much anymore, and I’m also not that religious.

Q: Is there anything else you would like everyone to know?

A: Come to Malaysia for Holidays!

Office of International Students and Scholars • Lehigh University • 32 Sayre Drive, Coxe Hall, Bethlehem, PA 18015 • 610-758-4859 • Fax: 610-758-5156 • intnl@lehigh.edu
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