Dennis Cheah

DennisCheah_square_small
Country of Citizenship: Singapore
Program of Study: Undeclared – Business Seeking

“I had my sights set on leaving Singapore after high school from a very young age and picturesque Colorado seemed like an interesting change from the big city.”

Why did you decide to attend CSU?

Perhaps the biggest reason I have for choosing CSU was because my father used to travel to Fort Collins very often for work back in the 90s. He used to work for Hewlett Packard. As it is my goal to work in the field of IT, CSU and Fort Collins is a great stepping stone into the industry as the biggest few employers in town (after CSU) are all big name IT companies; Intel, HP, and AMD, to name a few. My father was more than supportive of my decision to attend CSU, though he claims he doesn’t recognize the town anymore.

Another reason why I chose CSU was because it is sort of an unspoken tradition in my family to travel overseas for university. Sort of like that thing birds do when they push their young out of the nest. My parents strongly advocate studying abroad and worked hard to grant my brother and me the privilege of traveling abroad for our college educations. I had my sights set on leaving Singapore after high school from a very young age and picturesque Colorado seemed like an interesting change from the big city.

Finally, a significant influence in my decision was actually the admission and information videos CSU frequently posts. In particular, the RamChat videos were packed with so much helpful information that I felt like I knew the campus before I was even there. A well-kept YouTube page may seem like a strange thing to influence a decision, but I was personally impressed by the amount of consistent effort the admissions team made to actively reach out to potential students. Not many other universities I was considering at the time bothered to upload things like dorm tours and live-stream Q&A sessions. Of course, the admissions staff themselves were an invaluable source of information. Whereas I would be waiting several days to receive a response from other universities, I never had to wait more than a day to receive a reply from CSU’s admissions office. I had plenty of reasons prior to choose CSU, but it was the little things that definitely helped turn a “maybe” into a “definitely”.

What types of activities/clubs are you involved in at CSU and in Fort Collins?

I am currently part of the College of Natural Sciences Learning Community. It is a residential community that is open to all students with majors under the natural sciences college/department. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “club”, but if I had to pick a community that defined my experience here, it would definitely be the CNSLC. Put any two of us CNSLC students in a room and it’s almost a guarantee that we’ll have something in common (on an academic-level, at least), as most of us take similar classes. Jumping in to a class you have no background in to fill a science elective requirement may be a little intimidating but having 7 neighbors that major in that subject has proven to be useful, to say the least. In my short time here, I’ve made friends that I know I’ll be keeping in touch with for many years to come.

Apart from that, I also attend meetings at GAIA, which is short for Global Awareness and International Affairs. GAIA is the official student club for International Studies majors. Although I have no affiliation with this major, it is open for all students to join. They frequently hold casual networking sessions where both international and domestic students meet and chat over everything from politics in the Middle East to ethnic food.

Could you tell us more about your experience with selecting a major and being undeclared?

I was originally admitted to CSU under the Applied Computing Technology major, but decided to change my major to Computer Information Systems halfway through the Spring 2016 semester. Changing one’s major may seem like a daunting process, but my entire experience changing majors was A LOT less stressful that I had imagined. I anticipated the entire process taking several weeks, with mountains of paperwork to go through, but in actuality, it really only took me like three minutes. No. Seriously. Three minutes. As I did not initially meet the requirements to directly enter CSU’s business college, students in my situation are listed as “Undeclared – Business Seeking”. My previous advisor in the computer science department referred me to the Center for Advising and Student Achievement, also known as CASA, the department that manages all undeclared students. After meeting with my new advisor it was great to discover that all I really needed to do was sign a piece of paper. With that, my records in the system were changed soon after, and that was the end of it.

What advice would you give to other students who are considering CSU?

I was born and raised in Singapore; it’s almost half way across the globe and getting me home takes at least a solid 30 hours of travelling. Leaving one’s entire life behind is a pretty difficult decision to say the least, but whether you’re coming from out-of-state or out of the country, I’d reckon that the life awaiting you here is well worth the trade. Take the leap of faith. Take the slightest opportunity you might have to step out of your comfort zone, and many years from now, when college is but a distant memory and when you’re an old grandparent rambling to your grandkids about your heyday, you’ll be glad you did.

Oh, and the craft beer here is pretty darn good, too.

What do you want people to know about your home country?

Singapore is a city-state island in South East Asia. Home to 5.5 million people, it is the second most densely populated country in the world after Monaco.

I get asked on an almost daily basis what language we speak in Singapore. The four official languages of Singapore are English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. English is used as the default language of communication in schools and businesses, though there are media outlets for each major language and ethnic group. Anyway, in short: pretty much everybody speaks English. Come visit some time.

Fun fact: Our national animal is the Merlion. A bio-engineered hybrid between a mermaid and a lion.

I’m kidding. That would be weird.

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