17 September 2014: A weekend for family at Yale-NUS

Written by Clare Isabel Ee and Jacqueline Su | Image by David Chia 

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With two batches of students enrolled at Yale-NUS and a fully residential living and learning model of education, most family members are curious about what goes on at Yale-NUS College. What facilities do students have? How much interaction is there with the community? And perhaps for international students, how much do they get to explore the streets of Singapore?

The College opens its doors every year to the families of Yale-NUS students for one weekend packed with activities: a variety of tours, lectures, sports activities and meals. This year, Family Weekend was held from 5 to 7 September 2014, and attracted over 100 guests – some of whom had flown in to Singapore specially to visit the College.

“We enjoyed Family Weekend,” said Mr Darcy Buryn, who had flown in with his 15-year-old son from Canada to visit his daughter, Jillane Katherine Buryn (Class of 2018). “It was good to see how excited all the staff are about the opportunity to build something new, how much support there is for the students from the faculty and administration, how well the students seemed to have bonded with each other so quickly and how well cared for my daughter was by the school and her friends.”

Jillane was overjoyed that her family could come and visit the campus. “I was so happy to be able to show them what I was doing, and the fact that they liked it here made it so much more worth it for me.”

For Aaron Ong Chong Shi (Class of 2018), Family Weekend is a great idea that he would definitely like to see carried on as a tradition. “Since College started, I’ve found little time to spend with my parents… Family Weekend provided a good avenue for me to show appreciation for and to spend time with my parents,”Aaron shared.

Family Weekend features aspects of the Yale-NUS curriculum and co-curriculum that students are exposed to. Family members were invited to sit in for a Scientific Inquiry lecture, so that they got a glimpse into one of the modules in the Common Curriculum that explores the fundamental way in which science functions as a mode of inquiry. They were also invited to a talk by the Centre for International and Professional Experience (CIPE) on Learning Across Boundaries (LABs), a staple co-curricular programme at Yale-NUS that promotes experiential learning in global contexts.

The guests had to chance to explore the nooks and crannies of the temporary campus at Residential College 4, which included the Writers Centre and Yale-NUS Library, as well as residential facilities. Four sophomores, who call themselves the Chakrayan Chums, gave a presentation on their CIPE-funded student initiative carried out in June and July this year – a highly eventful and colourful trip from Singapore to Hanoi, Vietnam, by bicycles.

But the highlight of the weekend was Student Snapshots, a performing arts showcase that featured the talents of Yale-NUS College, from dancers to singers, and improv comedians.

Tamara Burgos (Class of 2018), found that being part of this student production as an emcee was an enriching and fulfilling experience. “Every person involved puts in so much effort and enthusiasm to make it as best as possible,” she shared, “and it was great to have everyone from Yale-NUS as an audience – we even got to make inside jokes!”

“My parents came for the Family Weekend,” she added happily. “They had an amazing time. They came here eager to see how I was doing and experience a little bit of how life in Singapore and at Yale-NUS is. They have certainly gone back home very satisfied, seeing me as part of this extraordinary community with remarkable people and opportunities.”