Text and image by Courtney Carter
This semester, 20 exchange students, who hail from 11 universities and colleges located in seven countries around the world, joined Yale-NUS College. These universities include Bocconi University, Leiden University, Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), Paris-Sorbonne University, Swarthmore College, University College Roosevelt, University of Freiburg, Utrecht University, Vassar College, Waseda University, and Yonsei University.
The College’s exchange programme provides opportunities for students from international universities to experience the uniquely multicultural curriculum and tightly-knit residential living and learning community at Yale-NUS. Doug Leonard, an exchange student from Swarthmore College in the US, shared why he chose to study abroad at Yale-NUS, “I like the idea of continuing my liberal arts education abroad. In a liberal arts environment, there is room for critical inquiry, and I hope living and studying at Yale-NUS would be an interesting way to engage with a new country and new people in an intellectually engaging environment”.
Exchange students at Yale-NUS also have the opportunity to take advantage of the academic and experiential learning opportunities offered to all students at the College. Trishala Suresh, an exchange student from Sciences Po in France, has greatly enjoyed the opportunity to take modules across all majors and disciplines, especially modules specific to Southeast Asian politics that are not available at her home institution. She shared, “My understanding of Asia up to this point has been only India. I hope that at the end of this year, I will gain a much more nuanced understanding of Southeast Asia, the educational and political systems at work, and its varying cultures”.
Trishala is interested in pursuing a career in international politics, especially between Europe and Asia. In addition to academic modules, Trishala has been able to attend leadership workshops led by the Centre for International & Professional Experience to help her build skills to accomplish her professional goals.
Some of these talented and passionate students will be joining the College for one semester, and some for the entire year. No matter the length of their stay at the College, there are many opportunities for new students to integrate into the community and feel at home, according to exchange student Ingrid Saito from Waseda University in Japan.
Coming from a large, non-residential, international university, Ingrid wanted to experience the home away from home environment that a liberal arts college like Yale-NUS provides. She shared, “I am inspired by students, faculty and staff to make the most of my year here. Everyone is dedicated to cultivating community inside and outside the classroom, and so I am motivated to invest myself in the Yale-NUS community as well”.
Ingrid shared an anecdote about the first time she experienced the immersive learning environment at Yale-NUS in action. At the end of an evening lecture, her professor graciously invited his entire seminar class to dinner at his on-campus apartment. Ingrid said, “Inviting us into his home for a meal cultivated relationships between professor and students inside and outside the classroom. This created an informal opportunity to let intellectual conversations to keep flowing at the dinner table”.
Exchange students are also encouraged to go outside of their comfort zone to get involved in student organisations and participate in student life on campus. Beyond that, there are also intentional events to connect exchange students with their Yale-NUS peers. For example, one of the Residential College butteries hosted an event at the start of the semester, complete with pancakes and bubble tea, to introduce the exchange students and their peers to one another.
With the inclusion of these exchange students to the diverse community at Yale-NUS, the rich conversations and sharing of experiences will certainly flourish on-campus, creating more opportunities to learn from one another.
Learn more about the student exchange programme at Yale-NUS here.