US Professor Visiting KDU College Empowering Students of American Degree Programme

Ms Heidi Mau sharing her experience and insights of studying in the United States of America with KDU ADP students  Ms Heidi Mau, an Assistant Professor of Communication at the Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Ms Heidi Mau (5th from left) together with KDU ADP students  
What can an American Degree Transfer Program student expect and what are the challenges that they will face once they arrive in the US? Knowing that these are concerns that arise in every ADP students’ minds, the American Degree Transfer Program Centre (ADTP) at KDU College make it a point to organise sharing sessions for their students, with visiting scholars and academics from US universities, to empower students with the most current information they’d need.

In one such recent session, KDU ADP students had the opportunity to meet Ms Heidi Mau, an Assistant Professor of Communication at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Mau, an American with German ancestry with about 14 years teaching experience under her belt, was all praise for the students’ enthusiasm, commenting, “The students were very attentive. They were a little quiet at first, but once they got going, the questions came pouring in. They were very enthusiastic once they opened up and asked many good questions about studying and living in the US.”

Knowing that uncertainties will be aplenty for students who are planning to continue their studies in the US, Mau assured them that they are no different from any other student in the States. “I don’t think Malaysian or international students in the States are much different from any other students in the States. Some US students that I’ve taught come from cities with much smaller population as compared to Kuala Lumpur, so for them, living in another city is also a culture shock.”   

Adjusting to new living and learning environment is common and Mau reminded them, “You might sometimes feel alone because of language and culture barrier, but remember that you are not alone. All you need to do is reach out and speak up about your emotional needs. Universities in the States have very good support systems.”
Sharing her knack on facilitating greater learning experiences, especially for international students, Mau said, “One way to encourage communication in the class is by building a community in the classroom. By encouraging the students to talk, speak up and share, they are able to get to know each other better and feel comfortable in the group. An American education is very liberal. Students are encouraged to share their thoughts and be vocal. In this aspect, Asian students are slight more reserved, and by building a community, the international students will have support from the whole group and they can share experiences. Ultimately, it is not just about students learning from me, but learning from each other.”

KDU ADP students also raised some questions on the options of pursuing major and minor studies. Mau advised, “I will encourage students to focus on one major and one degree, instead of a double major. The importance is what you do for that particular degree or major, be it the grades you attain, the portfolio you develop or the experience of the programme that you can show. Do it well, instead of splitting up your focus on a double major or double degree.”

“In America, having a Master degree on top of a Bachelor degree have become more popular than a double major, because you can focus on the area of specialisation. When everyone have a degree, you have to go one up!” Mau continued.

Reflecting on her academic specialty in the ever-changing digital world and film industry, Mau concluded, as things and times are changing, lecturers in the US are not only dedicated to educating students, but also helping them to adapt into new situations, to continue evolve forward for better work preparation in any kind of job environment, especially for jobs that may not even be in existence yet! “It’s the kind of education where you are able to take the foundation of what you have learned here and shift into what is new.”