Allan Wu is all for his children studying abroad, Latest Others News - The New Paper

Allan Wu is all for his children studying abroad

Actor Allan Wu, 50, has been busy filming in Sweden, Australia and Switzerland, but the most special trip he took this year was with his two children to the United States to scope out potential universities.

They visited several universities, including Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Brown.

Wu says his children, having grown up hearing stories of his own time at the University of California, Berkeley, have always been “dead set” on studying overseas too, aspiring to attend one of the top Ivy League institutions.

Since the trip, his 18-year-old daughter who had previously dreamt of attending Stanford, now has her eyes set on Princeton University for Economics and Environmental Science.

Wu told TNP in a video interview on July 26: “I'm totally biased (in favour of) studying in the US because I went to Berkeley. It's just a completely different experience.”

He added that it goes beyond academic education.

For instance, there is access to professional basketball games, and his daughter is an avid basketball player.

There are fraternities, and he says studying overseas allows one to interact with students from different races and religions.

“And on top of that, you're being taught by Nobel laureates and some of the top professors in the entire world at an Ivy League university,” he said.


But between his million-and-one projects, including filming for Channel U’s upcoming travel programme and managing his live streaming company Real Live Go, Wu is stretched for time, and cannot do much to help prepare his kids for the highly competitive university admission process.

So he has turned to an admissions consulting service called Crimson Education.

It specialises in individualised university application support, from strategising university selection, test preparation and personal essay support, to extracurricular mentoring and even interview practice.

Wu said: “I could help them myself, but I haven't been in university now for over 20 years. It's changed a lot.”

The students face more pressure now. He said: “It's… more competitive, more complicated now that you have the pandemic throwing a major curveball…”

Wu advises parents to start prepping their children for university no later than age 17, with both his children joining Crimson’s consulting programme around that age.

He admitted that he is intimidated at times by the price tags that come with overseas university tuition and admissions consulting - upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.

For parents struggling to provide their children with an overseas education, he encouraged looking into scholarships and financial aid packages by universities, or even overseas exchange programs by local schools.

Ms Quinn Koh, 33, Crimson Education’s regional manager in South-east Asia, added that the company provides many free resources, such as digital books and weekly webinars, and hopes students will not let finances completely deter them from aiming for their dream universities.


Wu acknowledged that there isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to preparing children for the future, reminding parents that some children may have aspirations that do not involve a traditional tertiary education.

While there was a time when he believed everyone should get a university degree, he has since learnt to trust in the younger generation’s instincts and support them in exploring different paths for themselves.

He said: “I think as parents our biggest responsibility is to understand our children are not all the same and they have different dreams.”

It may be difficult to let go of the reins at times, but he advises parents not to push their children into directions they are not interested in as it is hard for the child and adds friction into the relationship.

“It's about knowing how much pressure to apply to keep them moving forward towards their own goals, and equipping them with that sense of responsibility where they will thrive independently,” he told TNP.

Much of this wisdom comes from his own relationship with his parents, who placed immense academic pressure on him despite his lack of interest in his studies.

“I was good at it, but only because it was something I had to do. I think if I had known earlier that I could do what I do now, I would have pursued it much sooner,” he said.

But despite having a completely different career now, Wu still looks back on his days studying Pre-Medicine and Integrative Biology at Berkeley as the happiest years of his life.

He said: “I grew up so much, not just academically, but as a person. I saw that there was so much I could do that I didn’t realise before, and that was very empowering.”

He wishes his children can experience this too.

“I think the greatest gift we give our children is that sense that you can do anything you want if you believe in yourself and work hard,” he said.