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Going places

What can you expect from NTU’s global programmes that now cover new destinations in South Africa, Russia, the US, Canada and China, among others? Students who have stepped out of their comfort zones in some of these places spill the beans
by Kayce Teo

Nur Eliqah Binte Mohd Ali

  • NTU student on exchange in South Africa
  • NTU student on exchange in South Africa
  • NTU student with other international students in Russia
  • NTU student posing with other international students in winter

  • Final-year Linguistics and Multilingual Studies student
  • Summer exchange in Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Winter exchange in Tomsk State University, Russia

“Zero expectations, two suitcases and 22 hours of travel – that was on my plate as I embarked on my solo trip and summer exchange to Stellenbosch University. There, with 120 students from all over the world, I attended lessons in a local beer factory and at Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned. I even trekked up Coetzenburg Mountain, which was just outside the campus, and learnt a new word, ubuntu, which refers to the universal bond of sharing that connects everyone – that, in fact, pretty much sums up my experience.

Russia also beckoned, so I braved snowstorms to get to class, waded through thigh-high snow to visit Siberian huskies in a village, experienced temperatures as low as -35°C and ice-skated at the largest ice rink in Tomsk on Mavlyukeevskoe Lake, near my hall of residence. The bitter cold was offset by the intense professors in my Russian classes and the warm and welcoming attitude of the students and faculty. My Russian pal, who was assigned to be my guide, even cried when my exchange came to an end.”

Kelmond Ang

Group of colleagues posing for a shot

  • Final-year Accountancy undergraduate
  • 12-week internship at a multinational company; spent eight weeks in Wuxi, China, and four weeks in Singapore

“The total immersion in a different culture and work environment made me pick up the Chinese language so fast, I think I learnt more than from all my Chinese classes in primary and secondary school combined. Once, my team stayed up till 4am to complete our work – despite the CFO urging us to go back and rest. The camaraderie I experienced – both at work and hanging out with my colleagues – is something I’ll never forget.”

Erickson Tjoa

  • NTU student on exchange at the Peter Russell Rock Garden in Canada during winter
  • NTU student on exchange in Canada at the University of Waterloo
  • NTU student on exchange in Canada at the University of Waterloo
  • NTU student on exchange in Canada at the University of Waterloo

  • Final-year CN Yang Scholar studying Physics and Mathematics
  • Did an eight-month full-time Final Year Project (FYP) at the University of Waterloo, Canada

“I was an undergrad living the life of a postgrad. Besides co-authoring papers, I had the rare chance to present my work at a conference to an international audience. I lived and breathed theoretical physics research, discussing ideas and thinking through interesting and profound concepts with my friends, sometimes even over coffee or lunch. Visiting my supervisor’s cottage in Manitoulin Island, which is on a lake bigger than Singapore, and seeing the Milky Way with my own eyes were experiences to remember. And spending the entire year in Canada – I went to the University of Toronto for my exchange right before this FYP – was icing on the cake!”

Jonathan Tan

NTU students on exchange at the Northwestern Technological Institute

  • Third-year Renaissance Engineering Programme (REP) undergrad
  • Currently at Northwestern University, USA, for a year of studies as part of the REP curriculum

“Northwestern University is a foodie heaven – my residential community has an event called Hot Chocolate Tuesdays, where we serve the drink and chocolate treats to anyone who comes by. Once, we even had lobster dinners at all the six dining halls, each known for its quirks. Academics-wise, many of our projects cover concepts not taught in class, which is great training for us to be more perceptive and adaptable. There’s a small student-to-faculty ratio and a diverse mix of students from different demographics, so we get to hear very different views and perspectives.

The professors – many of whom are investors and entrepreneurs themselves – are very open-minded, even to mistakes. I was presenting on Dropbox at an entrepreneurship class, but could not remember some of the facts and figures, so I made them up along the way! I was ‘caught’, but the professors said they liked how I persevered. And the bonus is how Chicago’s entrepreneurship scene spills over to the Northwestern campus, with many meet-ups and events happening here.”

Exciting new destinations for students

Apart from exchange programmes that last five months or more, NTU students can this year head to South America, South Africa, Russia, Israel or the Middle East for short-term overseas programmes like executive business and cultural seminars, as well as language proficiency training.

Students in NTU’s University Scholars Programme have five new destinations to choose from for their semester abroad – University of Edinburgh and King’s College London in the UK, University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College in the US and Australian National University.

For the first time, Renaissance Engineering Programme students have the option of spending their third year of studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

In addition, NTU’s expanded list of more than 400 partner universities includes seven new hot spots. Students can look forward to attending summer classes at these universities introduced this year:

  • Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
  • Ostrava International Summer School Czech Republic
  • University of Glasgow UK
  • University of Victoria Canada
  • University of California, Santa Cruz USA
  • Beihang University China
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology Japan