Last summer, I had a great opportunity to have a meeting with the university admission officer, Mrs. Kristin Teng, of the National University of Singapore. Immediately after last summer break started, I traveled to Singapore and spent a few days experiencing Singapore’s culture. I visited the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Yale-National University of Singapore. Before the school tour began, I met Mrs. Kristin Teng and listened to a summary of NUS’ policies on education, housing, admission, etc. After the trip, when I was coming back to South Korea, I had a set goal in my heart. I want to go to NUS so I will study as hard as I can to go to NUS. And luckily, I had another wonderful opportunity to meet a graduate from NUS and have an interview with him.
First, I met with Mrs. Kristin Teng in the admission room. She gave us a summary of the school. She gave us information about the history of NUS, some diverse cultures in NUS, education programs of NUS, and lastly the admission requirements for NUS. NUS established in 1980, is one of the top universities in Asia.
The government of Singapore strongly supported NUS, and brought in many good professors and students from abroad, and introduced more academic majors in NUS. There are two types of classes: tutorial and lecture. A tutorial class has around 20~40 students, and a lecture class has 100~300 students.
For admissions, there is no specific set of admission requirements. There is no fixed number of APs or SAT II exams, but more of them were overtly better. All the admissions are need- blinded. Interestingly, extra-curricular activities and interviews are as important as the SAT II or AP exams. Lastly, there are many cultures in NUS. There are huge festivals and clubs where they can develop their hobbies and abilities.
|(Listening to Mrs. Kristin Teng in the admission room)
Secondly, after we finished listening in the admissions, Mrs. Kristin Yang guided around the campus. The campus is extremely huge. There are four huge sections, and each section has different faculties. The campus is so huge that we had to ride buses to travel around the different sections or faculties. Also, many of the students didn’t know the other sections of the school. After we looked at some faculties such as science and business, we had lunch.
|(A picture of the NUS campus from the admission office)
Around the campus, there are huge cafeterias in various locations. There are Korean, Chinese, Western, and traditional restaurants. Also, McDonalds and Starbucks are in many buildings. Interestingly, out of all the luxurious restaurants, Mrs. Kristin Yang led us to some food booth, where they sold some specific dishes from many countries. Mrs. Kristin said we could have some quick and light meal of our choice, so she recommended the place to us.
|(A picture of the food booth)
When I was back in South Korea after the trip, I had wonderful opportunity to interview a graduate from NUS, D.K Kim. He is currently an architectural designer in South Korea, and he studied in NUS from 1994 to 2001. I asked him some questions to get some more information about the school from the perspective of a student.
|(A picture during the interview with D.K. Kim)
1. Why did you choose NUS?
Mainly, there are three main reasons for me to study in NUS. First, I was already working in Singapore, and there were only three universities at that time. Second, my company gave the scholarship to study in NUS, so I decided to study in NUS. Lastly, I could have chosen other universities, but I specifically wanted to improve my management skills, so I chose to study in NUS with the best management department out of all schools in Singapore.
2. Do you recommend this school to your child?
Of course! Currently, this school is very popular around the world, and the quality of education is very high.
3. Would you recommend the South Korean government to make international schools like NUS?
No, I don’t think the South Korean government could support the universities well. In Singapore, the government considers the STOW - Strength, Threat, Opportunity, and Weakness. But, in South Korea, the government only looks at TW - Threats and Weaknesses. In Singapore, they look at the strengths and improve on it, remove threats, give opportunities, and decrease weaknesses. However, in South Korea, they look at TW, and they don’t look at the opportunities. Therefore, even though South Korea has money, they can’t make a school like NUS.
4. What is one culture of NUS during your time?
There was one culture where around 20~22 groups of students are met every week, make conclusions on their given topics and take action about them. Usually, in South Korea, they only make discussions and arguments, but they don’t make conclusions. Therefore, this was a unique culture in NUS.
In conclusion, I liked this university especially after the interview with D.K. Kim and my tour to NUS. I want to go there and study in this school in the future. During the interview, there was a very memorable quote by D.K. Kim. He said, “NUS is made as NUS nowadays, by the good and influential students who worked together to make the school better.” After I heard him say this, I wanted to be the good and influential student not only in NUS but the whole world.
Korea International School Jeju
Dongki Kim firstname.lastname@example.org
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