Lakshila Wanigasinghe joined ANC in fall 2013 right after her A Levels completed at Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo. She had already developed a growth mindset as she had learned how to find a healthy balance between academics and extracurricular activities: she had been a senior prefect and the secretary of the Interact Club. Above all, she had been very particular about her academic pursuits and looking forward to an experience that prepares her for the world.
Lakshila is grateful to ANC for giving her the “opportunity” to pursue her higher education dreams in America: she’s another beneficiary of ANC’s US Transfer Program, which enabled her to transfer to Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIUC), where she has completed her bachelor’s degree in Economics with cum laude honors.
She has been named the Outstanding Senior in Economics twice in 2016 and 2017. She’s also received a number of scholarships in recognition of her exceptional academic career.
The academic climate at SIUC has encouraged her to continue her postgraduate studies there: she currently is reading for her Master’s degree in Economics. Lakshila hopes to return to Sri Lanka one day to “give back to (her) Mother Lanka.” ANC wishes her continued success!
Excerpts from the interview with Lakshila:
Q: Why did you decide to join ANC? There are a number of education institutes offering international qualifications.
A: Yes, there are a lot of places affiliated to educational institutes abroad, but ANC has an enviable reputation as the only institute in Sri Lanka to offer authentic US qualifications. ANC is the only institute that paves the way for a local student to transfer to a US university upon successful completion of the required number of academic credits, which get transferred easily to a university of one’s choice.
I had always wanted to pursue my higher studies in the U.S.A. Thanks to ANC, I graduated from SIUC with cum laude honors, and I have already enrolled in the Master’s in Economics program there.
Q: How do you describe your experience at ANC?
A: It was at ANC I completed my general Education requirements: US universities require every undergraduate to take classes in several subjects , such as Math, English Composition, History, Social Sciences, etc. before concentrating on one’s major, so by the time I was prepared to transfer, I had already been exposed to the US education system, learned about their culture, and improved several skills including writing and presentation skills, IT skills, and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in a US college. Our classes were very interactive, with a lot of activities. ANC faculty members are either US qualified or working under close supervision of US partner universities, so we had access to the same standard of education as practiced in America. Also, they go out of their way to ensure the success of every student.
The experiences ANC students have outside of the classroom are also wonderful. We could join several clubs and societies. Each club would organize various activities throughout the year. It’s a good opportunity for students to bond with one another.
ANC students are caring, welcoming, and fun; even though more emphasis is placed on academics, we all were encouraged to take part in numerous activities that inspire and guide students on more important things in life- integrity, self-confidence, tolerance, etc. we also used to study in groups.
The friends I made at ANC are some of my very close friends today. During semester breaks I’ve met some of my friends who transferred to different parts of the U.S. with me. Together we have visited many places while making memories along the way.
Q: How was the transition from ANC to SIUC?
A: As I have already mentioned, we had already been exposed to the US education system through general education classes. As far as the transfer process is concerned, it’s at the freshman orientation Ms Manouri, the Head of US/ Canada University Placement Program starts educating us on the transfer options available, US education system, visa guidance etc. They also arrange one-on-one meetings with parents and nearly 15 meetings with the student until he/she is accepted by a university.
ANC also arranged one-on-one discussions with US university representatives and visa advisory sessions by the US embassy. They also attend to college and visa applications, liaise with the universities for a positive acceptance, coach for visa, and conduct mock visa interviews etc. All the documents were sent and the essential steps were taken in order for my transfer to be completed smoothly. I cannot praise them highly enough.
Q: Why did you choose SIUC?
A: SIUC offered me the “High Achievers Tuition Rate” which is based on merit and awarded to international students with a transferable GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from the previous college attended. It allowed me to receive in-state tuition, and it equates to a savings of more than $12,000 USD per year. This was a big plus. Also, SIUC’s College of Business is among the top five percent of business schools in the world.
I majored in Economics, and our Economics department is also highly regarded in US university system. This encouraged me to start my Master’s in Economics, which would definitely enhance my career opportunities. My aunt also lives about 35 minutes away from campus. This too motivated me in choosing SIUC because it’s always good to stay close to family.
Q: How is your student life like at SIUC?
A: It was a smooth transfer, but at the beginning I was feeling homesick as it was for the first time I was away from my family and friends for an extended period of time. Another big thing that I missed was the Sri Lankan food! However, after sometime you get used to the busy lifestyle and adjust accordingly.
SIUC is a great place for any student: the Centre for International Education gives every student plenty of support and nurturing. They help us with everything from arrival assistance to graduation and beyond.
Majority of our professors are well-known for their research contributions. They take an active role in our education: we are not hand-held or told what to do; they encourage independent thinking, but they are more than happy to help us out whenever we need their guidance.
Above all, SIUC recognizes students for their dedication and hard work: I have received a number of scholarships including the International Undergraduate Tuition award and Thomas and Chany Chung Scholarship besides Academic Honors. I was also given the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant, peer tutor, academic coach, and test proctor.
Extracurricular programs also make our college life memorable. It’s indeed a great chance to be working with culturally diverse students. I was a senator in the Undergraduate Student Government representing international students in addition to being a member of the Economics Club, so it’s a world of opportunities available for any student looking forward to continue his/her education in America.
Q: What’s your advice for prospective students?
A: Having a dream is not enough; we have to stick to it until we achieve it. I remember discussing this in Composition classes at ANC. According to Malcom Gladwell, “success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.”
Any student can trust ANC with their higher education dreams without any hesitation. ANC offers many great opportunities for its students. It’s up to you to get the best out of them.
Contact 0777449955 or visit us at http://www.ancedu.com/ No. 308, R.A. De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 3. for more information.