Feature

Off to see the world, at NTU

Globetrotters Nitya, Guodong and Sabrina have all gone overseas as part of their NTU education. Their global adventures include studying at well-known universities abroad and working at top companies in cosmopolitan hubs around the world

Huang Guodong
Nanyang Business School


I will never forget the five months I spent at Maastricht University in the Netherlands as an exchange student. On my second week there, we had to be on the different side of the fence and “act” as teachers. This was incredibly difficult and challenging.

We had to do the talking throughout our lesson. The teachers, who watched us, were more like mentors, while the students – there were 15 of us in class – took turns to lead the discussion.

We felt pressured to keep talking and asking questions. You cannot be babbling nonsense just to keep talking, so you have to read up before each class and to study each new topic thoroughly in order to participate in class intelligently the next day.

Our mentors, largely postgraduate students, would only interrupt if they found we were heading the wrong way. I must say the teachers, mostly Dutch and German, are excellent. They know their stuff and are able to explain things to you very well.

Our class was like a United Nations, with representatives from countries all over the world. From Asia, there were students from Korea and China. There were also a few of us from Singapore.

What I really enjoyed was the intellectual climate at Maastricht. The students there tended to ask very tough questions, which often reflected their individual outlook. They set me thinking and looking at problems from different perspectives.

A pleasant surprise was that the projects assigned to us at Maastricht were simpler than what we were used to. I guess this balanced the stress of having to be fully prepared to ask and answer questions in class.

I am thankful I was able to hold my own at a foreign university. The interdisciplinary electives I was able to take at NTU have provided me with the ability to think critically. Some of the electives I took were psychology, environmental studies and astronomy. They were stimulating and I don’t regret taking them at all, especially astronomy!

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