Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Silicon Valley

p.s. Yes, Michelle, Stanford IS beautiful! I was so awed when I was there that I thought aloud to my Hub, "Hey, if I could live my life over, I'd want to study hard enough to get into Stanford!" To my surprise, Hub said he would too, and that most people never thought of reaching higher because of fear and ignorance. That made me think of all the brilliant kids I know who ended up studying in Australia, because that's the closest place where tertiary education is reasonably good. But do you know, Australian tuition fees for foreign students are the highest among the traditional western countries such as England, Canada and the US? The average tuition fees per year for foreign sutdents in American state universities (not the Ivy League or Stanford or U Berk) are about USD9,000 and about USD35,000 for private universities, USD40,000 in top private universities. The average tuition fees for foreign students in Australian universities ranges from AUD14,000 to AUD35,000 per year, 9000 pounds and above in the UK. U Berk, the top public university in the US, only charges about USD14,000 per year! Tuition fees for undergrad studies at Stanford, among the top 5 best universities in the world, is about USD40,000 per year depending on which courses (not sure about foreign students) whereas University Of Melbourne, among the top 3 in Australia and among top 20 in the world, charges fees of about AUD35,000 for foreign students. Exchange rate is about the same, only the standards are different...When you compare living costs, it's eye-opening too. The average cost of living per month for American university students--rent, food and utilities--is about USD700 to 1000 per month. In Melbourne, just a room will cost you AUD1000 per month. What is my advice? Malaysians should shake off their colonial biasness towards traditional English and Australian universities, many of which are obscure universities (just as many American universities are too), and fear about American education and crime rates (our media hypes up everything bad). Education should not be just about grades. Innovativeness, team work, initiative, responsibility, ability to self-improve and many other qualities are just as important. The question now is whether Malaysians are good enough for good American universities, given the falling standards of education in Malaysia. More and more Singaporeans are accepted into American universities and that is telling about their standards. The Chinese, Indians and Taiwanese covet an American education and American campuses are teeming with them.

If you have it, reach for Stanford! Yale! Harvard! Princeton! Cornell! MIT! Caltech! Northwestern! Wellesley!Brown! Duke!Tufts! However, you better not just have the grades, you must have the other things they look for too because, for example, Stanford only takes in about 7000 new students each year. Think BIG.

Rodin's interpretation of life as a student in Stanford?

April 16, 2012

We were invited by K to stay a couple of days so that they can show us the Silicon Valley, the place where all the Internet, the dot-coms and the high tech industry started and are still being developed.



The freshest and juiciest oranges and tangerines for breakfast. It was such a privilege to stay with friends because we got to see and learn more than we would have on our own.

Apple Headquarters


K's hubby, FC, took us to the Apple headquarters in Cupertino but we didn't know anyone there so we weren't allowed into the offices. The Apple Company Store is open to the public though, and it is different from other Apple stores because although Apple products such as iPhones and computers are on display, they are not for sale. It is the only place where you can buy Apple T-shirts, caps and accessories so I grabbed a couple of caps and T-shirts before we left for the next Internet wonder, Google. Again, we didn't know anyone there and I stayed in the car while the rest of us walked around the grounds of the 'campus'. Google has many offices here and there but I think the headquarters is Googleplex. I would have loved to visit Google because I think I can live without Facebook but not Google.

Btw, and I don't know if it's a fact, I was told that Steve Jobs named his company 'Apple' because Santa Clara (where the Silicon Valley is) where he grew up in, was a fruit farming (apples included) area. 


Lunch was seafood and steaks but I've lost all my photos. I found the food rather greasy.

After lunch, it was Stanford University, the most awesome university I've been to. Its architecture is very Californian and I was reminded of  The University Of San Diego. Stanford is huge (3,300 ha), very well-kept (no graffiti or cigarette butts), very pleasant and has this utterly awesome (again) academic vibe. It felt more serious than U Berk, and the students were noticeably more preppy than U Berk's. The academic tension was definitely palpable and I'd like to be there to see Stanford (and Harvard) students do their 'Primal Scream' at midnight during the final exam week, howling out their dorm windows in unison to relieve their stress. My university had a couple of naked runs and once a year a naked Lady Godiva with long blonde hair rode through campus on a white horse (am not sure if this is still practiced) although I don't think it was to relieve stress.

At the entrance of Stanford, thrilled.


Past the entrance, there is a big church. It is beautiful inside.




Those are statues by Auguste Rodin.

Of course the computer science building has to be named after Bill Gates.

When you think of it, it's no wonder that the Silicon Valley is the leading center for high-tech innovation and development, since some of the countries' best universities, Stanford in particular, are in the state. That, plus the fact that American is quick to recognise and accept innovations and creativity. Another factor is the tremendous amount of funds they have. I've forgotten the figure but research studies in the medical department recently received funds amounting to tens of billions.

So big there's a golf course.

We spent a couple of minutes on top of a hill to check out the San Andreas Fault, which runs under the valley in between the hills in the photo below. There is a beautiful house built smack right on the faultline (not in picture). That's either true faith or blind faith.




We ended the day at the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately, the fog rolled in and we couldn't get good photos. It was also the coldest night I've ever had in SF so it wasn't exactly the best time to be up in the mountains where it was windy but Hub was leaving the next day, and I wanted him to see as much of SF as possible. Dinner was at Grant Place in Chinatown. It was very yummy but I've lost all my photos.

A delicious taro cream cake that K had ordered to celebrate Yi's e.g. presentation.

Thanks, FC and K, if you are reading this, for being the best hosts ever. Our memories of SF are made even more special because of you.


Michelle Chin said...

wow stanford is beautiful!

terri@adailyobsession said...

it is:)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures Terri!!
Stanford looks really nice!


Chocolate, Cookies & Candies said...

My hubby is forever going on and on about Stanford, Yale, Harvard...etc etc. I adore San Fran. It's the one place I'd gladly live but getting a green card proves to be difficult for most Malaysians.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

You got to go to Stanford! In all the years we lived in the Bay Area, we never went. And it was only 40 minutes away.

An omission I must rectify.

terri@adailyobsession said...

laubao: it is:)

ccc: but u r not malaysian so tt shd not be a problem. seriously though, melbourne is a nice place to live. not too big not too small. just hv to get used to not being so international but tt shd be ok:)

nate: what? lived in the bay area n nvr went for a walk at stanford? aiya.

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