We must dare to think 'unthinkable' thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world.
- James William Fulbright
Associate Professor Anne Pakir
International Relations Office
NUS has come far in achieving its vision to be a leading global university centred in Asia. Yet, as NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan expressed in his State of the University address, to remain relevant as we continue to build our global stature will mean focusing more on the transformational aspect of the NUS education, which aspires to influence the future.
To achieve this, one of the key pillars will be ensuring our graduates are future-ready – meaning that they are prepared for a volatile and uncertain future. IRO supports NUS in this endeavour through our wide-ranging global programmes. We provide students with unique learning adventures to experience different cultures of the world, engage in self-discovery, and develop the necessary academic, professional and personal skills that will take them successfully into the future.
Our flagship Student Exchange Programme (SEP) remains our largest programme, providing opportunities for NUS students to spend a semester or two at one of our over 300 partner universities in 50 countries around the world while earning credits towards their degree. In AY2014/15, a total of 1,922 NUS undergraduates ventured abroad on exchange, while in return, 1,965 international students immersed themselves in the NUS campus for a semester or more.
Besides SEP, NUS students participated in some 132 international summer programmes, research attachments and internships in 35 countries during the academic year in review. Among these were a number of new summer programmes forged through partnerships with outstanding institutions in exciting new destinations, including Boğaziçi University and Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey, and Ben- Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.
In addition, we were able to offer students a host of new international internship options in new corners of the world with partners such as Conservation International (Timor-Leste), Ashinaga (Japan/Uganda) and Que Holdings (Myanmar), among others. For the almost 100 students who embarked on such internships, it was a valuable opportunity to gain professional work experience within a multi-cultural environment – a distinct advantage in today’s highly competitive globalised world.
Adding to the myriad of short-term programmes, the international research attachment programmes provided our students the opportunity to gain hands-on lab experience in a world-class research environment. Through generous funding from Banco Santander of Spain, students were able to participate in research attachments at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tsinghua University, Brown University and University of Oxford, Department of Engineering Science.
The NUS Study Trips for Engagement and EnRichment (STEER) programme presented students with the opportunity to learn more about the social, cultural and economic environment of emerging markets. The programme now provides experiential and immersive opportunities in countries across Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Our IRO Sparklers exemplify our ongoing commitment to service excellence and I am delighted to share that seven IRO Sparklers have been presented the NUS Quality Service Award in recognition of delivering excellence in all aspects of service.
NUS students today can look forward to numerous opportunities that expand their horizons and inspire them to dream big. For that, I wish to extend IRO’s sincere gratitude to all our stakeholders, our collaborative partners, as well as to our many generous donors and the NUS Awards for Study Abroad (NASA), without whose support many of these journeys would not be possible.
We thank you for your unwavering support as we continue to provide NUS students an exciting world of learning adventures designed to spark their growth into graduates who are world-savvy and future-ready!