National University of Singapore
Feature | Further Education

A University
of Possibilities

National University of Singapore
A scholarship from the National University of Singapore (NUS) is more than just a way to finance your studies – it is a mark of distinction for individuals who demonstrate outstanding capabilities in academia, co-curricular activities, and leadership. Two recipients of the university’s scholarships tell us more about their experiences at NUS.

A s the premier university centred in Asia, NUS has long held a well-deserved reputation for academic excellence and research. Through a wide range of research, internship, community involvement, and overseas opportunities, students at NUS are given the freedom to explore their interests and discover themselves.

Meet Edwin Chan Khai Ern and Chong Fui Jin, two undergraduates who have received the NUS Merit Scholarship and the NUS Sports Scholarship respectively. They brim with enthusiasm as they regale us with tales of their scholarship journeys with NUS.

The School of Choice

To Edwin, who is currently in the school’s University Scholars Programme and studying Life Sciences and Physics, choosing to enrol in NUS was an easy decision to make – the prestige and quality of an NUS education were just too good to pass up. He tells us, “I’m a pragmatic person, so one of my priorities was to join a university with a strong academic foundation which was also recognised globally. I wanted to get rigorous training in my field of expertise, as well as a degree that would be relevant even on the world stage. NUS offers all of that.

“Furthermore, I like NUS’s liberal and self-directed philosophy of learning. Students can shape their education based on their interests through the university’s flexible modular system. You can have a degree in both Life Sciences and English Literature, or maybe Computer Sciences and Philosophy. I am pursuing a degree in Life Sciences and Physics myself. If you are looking for a school that really allows you to pursue your passions, then NUS is the place for you.”

Chong Fui Jin, NUS Sports Scholar

Chong Fui Jin
NUS Sports Scholar

“I get to meet other interesting scholars. Before school started, a 5D4N camp in Malaysia was organised for us to bond with each other.”

As for Fui Jin, a student in the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme, the colourful and vibrant student life at NUS was the main drawing point. She excitedly exclaims, “There are many events that take place on campus such as the NUSSU Rag and Flag, the annual Inter-Faculty Games, RUNNUS, and SunNUS. I just wanted to be a part of such an invigorating and energising learning environment!”

The top-notch facilities were yet another factor that contributed to Fui Jin’s decision to study at NUS. “I will freely admit that I fell head over heels in love with the grass patch at UTown when I came for the NUS Open Day. Along with the air-conditioned study pods, multiple gyms, eateries, and many other things, it is safe to say that NUS is second to none in terms of facilities,” she says with pride.

A Scholarship of Opportunity

NUS Scholars are groomed to become well-rounded and globally-oriented graduates. With a scholarship from the university, students get to participate in experiences that other students can only dream about.

From Fui Jin’s perspective, she has received a huge boon with her scholarship. “My school fees are paid for which helps quite a lot because medical school fees are not cheap. It relieves the financial burden on myself and my family, allowing me to focus my energy on my studies,” she explains.

There is more to a scholarship at NUS than financial perks. She tells us, “I am also given many opportunities to grow holistically as a person. For example, I get to meet other interesting scholars. Before school started, a 5D4N camp in Malaysia was organised for us to bond with each other.”

“What’s more, I get the chance to do interviews and photoshoots like this!” Fui Jin adds jokingly.

Edwin Chan Khai Ern, NUS Merit Scholar

Edwin Chan Khai Ern
NUS Merit Scholar

“I think it takes a while to finally decide on what you want to do with the rest of your life, and an NUS Scholarship offers you the freedom to explore before making a decision.”

Another aspect of an NUS Scholarship is the freedom it provides. As a scholarship without a bond, the appeal was definitely there for Edwin. He tells us, “Part of the reason I took up the scholarship was because I was not too sure of my career path. I wanted to be able to enter university and get some exposure first with a few internships and research projects.

“I think it takes a while to finally decide on what you want to do with the rest of your life, and an NUS Scholarship offers you the freedom to explore before making a decision.”

Enriching Experiences

Education at NUS goes beyond the confines of the lecture halls. Edwin testifies to the fact, telling us about his fulfilling internship experience. “I worked as an intern at the Institute of Water Policy (IWP) during one of my semester breaks. There, I helped in two research projects – the first project was on quantifying urban water security, and the second was developing benchmarks for hotel water consumption.

“Working at IWP was quite an experience for me. I felt like I was actually creating something of value in society. Working with top researchers in their respective fields really made me feel that I am contributing new ways and perspectives to analyse public policy issues.”

On the other hand, Fui Jin is living the dream by taking part in the school’s many sporting activities. She says, “I have the privilege of playing singles for the NUS varsity badminton team. The girls’ team recently brought back our third consecutive gold medal at the Singapore University Games, something which I am very proud of.”

What the Future Holds

When asked about his career plans, Edwin tells us that he wishes to make a difference by joining the public service. He says, “My internship at the IWP has helped me realise the importance of good policy making in helping a nation succeed and prosper. I myself have benefitted a great deal as a Singaporean, from the education system to the peace that we enjoy here. Thus, I really hope to contribute to the nation and give back all that I have been given.”

As for Fui Jin, the future is not yet set in stone for her. “I have nothing concrete planned as of now. I am still in my preclinical years, so ask me again in a few years and I will be able to give you a better answer,” she tells us with a laugh. “Concrete plans aside, I do know that I want to be a doctor whom my patients can trust and feel at ease with.”

She concludes with some sage advice for aspiring NUS Scholars. She exclaims, “Go for it! Don’t be shy and believe in yourself. Know yourself before going for the interview, and just set yourself free. Speak freely and give the interviewers the chance to get to know who you are. Most importantly, smile and let your personality shine through.”