Many NUS students look forward to the vast range of opportunities in NUS, such as the Student Exchange Programmes (SEP).
But for Ms Melanis Tai Jing En, an NUS Arts and Social Sciences alumna who graduated in Dec 2021, such enhancements to the NUS experience were initially a distant dream due to the financial difficulties her family faced.
Growing up, Melanis faced the challenge of her family’s financial situation that required her to sacrifice time and energy and compromise on her interests and studies. The oldest daughter of a single mother and cancer survivor who single-handedly raised her three children, Melanis had to play her part in taking care of her younger siblings at home, while juggling part-time jobs like working as a front desk staff at a yoga studio for about three years.
As a result, she sometimes had to stay up late to complete school assignments, and forgo optional school activities.
Opened doors thanks to financial aid
All this changed when Melanis received financial aid in the form of the Chia Siew Wong Bursary during her time at NUS.
More help for students
- Press release on how NUS’ Enhanced Financial Aid Scheme for needy students will help students make the most of their University experience.
- Overview and eligibility criteria of the Scheme and other financial aid avenues.
- Contribute to the NUS legacy of giving by supporting the Enhanced Financial Aid Scheme.
For three academic years, the Bursary helped to offset her tuition fee loan and some of her living expenses, lightening her financial burden. It also opened doors for her, for along with the time freed up from working part-time less, it gave her the opportunity to focus on her studies as well as immerse herself in a diverse range of activities during her three and a half years at NUS.
She took on varied work experiences, such as interning at the Prime Minister’s Office Strategy Group, and many student life experiences made possible by the Bursary.
One of the most memorable experiences that the Bursary empowered her to have during her undergraduate years was the opportunity to take part in the Miss Singapore Beauty Pageant 2019, where she clinched the position of 2nd runner-up.
She then went on to represent Singapore in an international pageant at Jeju Island, South Korea, as World Miss University Singapore 2019.