24 March 2017: Yale-NUS students head for public service careers after graduation

By Daryl Yang | Image provided by Joyan Tan

While many of the graduating Yale-NUS students are in the thick of exploring their post-graduation options, some have their immediate career paths mapped out as they will be fulfilling their bond requirements from government scholarships they received prior to entering Yale-NUS College.

Joyan Tan (Class of 2017) will head off to teach at a local secondary school, before continuing her studies at the National Institute of Education (NIE) in December for a Postgraduate Diploma in Education Programmes. As a scholar with the Ministry of Education, Joyan will be serving a four-year bond with the Ministry as a teacher after completing her postgraduate diploma at NIE.

“After a one and a half-year stint in NIE, I’ll be deployed to a local secondary school to teach. My two teaching subjects are History and Social Studies, in that order,” she shared. Joyan is majoring in History at Yale-NUS College.

Her college experience has been influential in shaping how Joyan sees her future role as a teacher.

“The best thing I think Yale-NUS has done for me is to expose me to a wide variety of experiences, and taught me to focus on doing what I enjoy as well as I can, rather than let myself be caught up in a rat race of grades—an attitude I hope I can bring to my school and students in future,” she shared.

Another student who will also be serving his scholarship bond is Hamid Roslan (Class of 2017). A scholar with the National Arts Council, Hamid will contribute to nurturing the arts landscape in Singapore.

“I took the scholarship because I wanted to contribute to the arts scene in Singapore, and I felt that the best place I could affect change in a positive way was through working at the National Arts Council. The other reason is more practical: I needed a way to pay for my college education that wouldn’t involve student debt, and being bonded to the NAC seemed a more financially sound decision than to take out a student loan, since it guaranteed employment in a field that I was interested to work in,” he explained.

As part of his scholarship programme with the NAC, Hamid also went on an internship stint with its Strategic Planning department, where he conducted research on cultural policies.

“I think the most important thing I took away from my internship was another perspective on the challenges of developing the arts scene in Singapore. There are many moving parts to the arts ecosystem which comprises many stakeholders with equally compelling ideas of what the arts in Singapore should look like and how it should proliferate,” Hamid reflected.

“This doesn’t only involve questions of taste, but also questions of money and sustainability, which are often neglected because of the misconception that art and art-making must necessarily avail themselves from caring about market forces. I think being aware of these complexities will serve me well in the Council,” he noted.

A crucial aspect of Hamid’s college experience has been the “painstaking process of trying to build a community”. As part of the pioneer class, Hamid was involved in co-founding The G Spot, the College’s gender and sexuality alliance.

“I think all of us genuinely believe in our ideas of what the Yale-NUS community looks like, but what we don’t realise is that these visions often compete. What happens, then, is that we have to negotiate with each other how best to create a community that can be as inclusive as possible, to the widest swath of people,” he reflected.

Rachel Ong (Class of 2017) is currently majoring in Global Affairs and a recipient of the Defence Merit Scholarship administered by Singapore’s Ministry of Defence.

Rachel had taken up the scholarship because she “wanted to give back to Singapore for the privileges I’ve enjoyed as a citizen”.

“Having grown up here, I have certainly received many benefits in my public education from primary school to junior college. As such, I felt compelled to serve my country for having given me the wonderful opportunities over the years.”

Rachel feels well-prepared for her career by her college experiences. Reflecting on her experiences, she shared: “As a Global Affairs major, I have enjoyed a wonderful selection of electives that has given me a keen perspective of world issues today.”

“What really sets Yale-NUS apart is the quality professors and students bring to each lecture and seminar. The community of learning here, with its bold curiosity and commitment to academic rigour, has helped me to gain and articulate perspectives that are far beyond my own reach and at the same time, hone my hard research skills.”

As for what she is looking forward to after graduation, Rachel is excited about working in policymaking in the defence arena.

“The work will be fast-paced and demanding, but I am excited for the challenge. Above all, being able to serve by protecting and improving my nation’s security drives me forward.”

As a member of the pioneering class, Joyan also offered some advice for her younger peers: “Try new things and go with your instincts! Some of my best experiences have come from jumping into things I’d never tried before, and just fumbling around till I got the hang of it.”