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By Ong Zhi Yang
First year, Chemical Engineering, Global Engineering Programme
MEETING WITH INDUSTRY LEADER: GEP students at a chit-chat session with Keppel Corporation CEO Mr Choo Chiau Beng (far centre, in black coat)
BONDING BETWEEN MENTORS, SENIORS & JUNIORS: At one of the gatherings organised by GEP students. Among the group was (second from left) Prof Quek Ser Tong, Chairman of the GEP Committee and Vice Dean (Graduate Studies), NUS Faculty of Engineering, and (fifth from left, in pink T-shirt) Zhi Yang
I was offered to join the Global Engineering Programme (GEP) a year before I entered NUS. I was attracted to the prospect of getting a Bachelor’s degree by my third year, and an overseas Master’s degree in the fourth year. I jumped at the chance. While I have yet to complete my first year of study, the GEP has already provided much enrichment and presented many challenges to my university life.
The GEP is a fast-paced experience. Before our first semester began, we were already juggling holiday jobs with preparations for the Advanced Placement Tests. When the first semester began, most of us took on six or more modules. The heavier workload forced us to become more focused and efficient in our studies. However, we still found time for other pursuits, such as club activities, community service and sports. I was able to pursue my interest in taiji, as well as take part in several ad-hoc projects along the way.
Throughout the year, we get constant opportunities to interact with companies and important people in the engineering sector. Last year, we had the opportunity of meeting the Chief Executive Officer of Keppel Corporation as well as personnel from ST Engineering, the Economic Development Board and SPRING Singapore.
These informal chit-chat sessions opened our eyes to the wide spectrum of jobs available to engineers, as well as the real world problems that engineers face. We also had excursions to workplaces such as Keppel’s NEWater plant, which gave us a glimpse into an engineer’s daily life at work. These experiences provided a bigger context to our university learning. It gave me a better idea as well of what I would like to do in the future.
Another perk of being in the GEP is the guidance we receive from our mentors. Our mentors’ tips on module planning and student exchange have proved invaluable to us.
However, the greatest takeaway for me so far has to be the friendships I have gained through the GEP. Our accelerated curriculum means that most of us study alongside people of other faculties and of different years. This has allowed me to widen my circle of friends considerably.
The GEP itself is a closely knit family, and our seniors are ever willing to dispense good advice. While we may come from different branches of engineering, we get together for outings quite often. All these experiences have made my first semester in the programme a unique and fulfilling one. With the lessons learnt and friends gained along the way, I am definitely looking forward to another exciting year ahead in GEP.
1 February 2011