Think prestigious university in Singapore and anyone from anywhere in the world will think of the National University of Singapore (NUS). NUS is more than just a landmark and a name recognised far and wide – it is a University that remains committed to excellence and raising its high standards.
Housing 17 faculties, the university offers a range of programmes for undergraduates looking to receive a top-notch education in their field of interest. Today, we hear from two students who have chosen an NUS education in different fields. Life Sciences student Phillina Phua and Social Work student Tok Kheng Leng offer us a glimpse into student life at NUS and share some advice to prospective students.
Tok Kheng Leng
Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Social Work
Why did you choose NUS?
Phillina Phua: One of the key factors I took into consideration when choosing a university was its academic standing and presence in the world – attributes that NUS has excelled in, even coming up as the top university in Asia.
Tok Kheng Leng: My main reason for choosing NUS was because I wanted to study Social Work. NUS was the only local university offering a full-time Social Work programme at that time. With the intention of eventually serving the local community, I thought it was important to pursue my degree locally instead of overseas and learn about Social Work in the Singapore context.
Tell us about your decision to pursue Life Sciences (Phillina) and Social Work (Kheng Leng).
Phillina: I have always been interested in learning about the world around us and the processes that help us function. Life Sciences is, to me, a unique field encompassing many different areas of study such as Ecology, Genetics and Microbiology and many more!
Kheng Leng: While I was in Polytechnic, I did an overseas community service project in which my team and I debated extensively about how we can best serve a community. The best way I could help was to gain relevant professional skills to help people – the reason I chose to study Social Work.
Phillina Phua Yihui
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Life Sciences
What are some learning opportunities you have enjoyed or look forward to?
Phillina: I went on an internship last semester at the Go-To-Markets department of a science-based MNC. I thought it was a good opportunity to venture into something outside of my degree yet still gaining experience within the industry.
I will also be going for an exchange programme next semester to the UK. I’m excited to see what it is like studying in a foreign university, and how different the university is from NUS!
Kheng Leng: During my four and a half years at NUS, I am fortunate to have been accepted into the NUS Overseas College in Shanghai. I spent one year in Shanghai learning about start-ups. It gave me a taste of starting my own business and a peek into the internet marketing world. Under the University Scholars Programme (USP), I also went on a two-month internship to Mumbai. I worked at a non-profit organisation that teaches social work and financial literacy to children. On top of these, I have also attended various workshops including the significant Future Ready Leader programme, which allowed participants to be aware of the limiting beliefs that we have.
Describe the culture and campus life at NUS.
Phillina: NUS has a vibrant campus life and its range of activities and CCAs will leave you spoilt for choice. There are also many student-run events we can enjoy, such as the occasional open-air concert held at University Town or themed fairs at the faculty level. As the exams draw near, there will also be welfare initiatives carried out by fellow students which help to brighten our day after long mugging sessions.
Kheng Leng: NUS nurtures a very supportive culture. While I may not be as active in the Residential College (RC) and spend more time developing skills outside of school, my RC mates never fail to support me and are of great help to my studies. My foundation in English is not as strong and they are always willing to help me in proofreading my papers.
What advice do you have for poly students thinking of pursuing their degree in NUS?
Phillina: Manage your time well and make the most out of your experience! University is a completely different ball game from polytechnic so adapt to the differences and embrace them. Your undergraduate years is the best time for you to experience completely new and unfamiliar things and find out more about yourself before work life begins.
Kheng Leng: Pursue something that you are interested in. Personally, I had a huge culture shock when I entered NUS. I was not mentally prepared for a rigorous academic journey. However, my interest in the subject helped me stay grounded and persist through the difficulties. It is also important to adopt an open mindset. You will meet different people from all walks of life and they will teach you a lot if only you allow them to.