One of the many reasons Singapore has a footprint on the global map is the National University of Singapore (NUS). NUS has been consistently ranked as one of the world’s top universities and is arguably the best in Asia. Students from across Asia and the world look towards the University for top-notch educational opportunities and the platform to develop into multi-faceted, future-ready individuals.
For Yukie Yokoyama and Jeanette De Silva, NUS was their University of choice for obvious reasons. It offered them the course of study that was in line with their interests and allowed them the space to grow their talents outside of the classroom. Yukie, an Environmental Studies student, is a national sailor with 11 years of sailing experience under her belt, while Arts student Jeanette is an exceptional dancer in her own right. Their academic and non-academic abilities have also earned them their respective NUS Scholarships.
Clarity of Goals
Yukie has always been one with nature and the environment – she fondly remembers a childhood well-spent at the park or the beach on most days. Her youth has also seen her volunteering for NParks on school vacations, where she engages in stream restoration activities and monitors animal population numbers in Pulau Ubin. It’s no wonder the nature lover chose to study Environmental Studies for a chance to shape tomorrow’s natural resources.
On the other hand, Jeanette’s passion in the arts developed when she picked up ballet as a 4-year-old. Although a science stream student in Junior College (JC), Jeanette never lost sight of her aptitude in performing arts, moving on to the dance scene in contemporary and hip-hop genres in her youth. “Upon the realisation that a university education requires not just competency but interest, I decided that I would embark on an arts education,” she tells us. “I was willing to take on the risk of doing this in spite of not having explored the field as extensively as my arts peers in JC.”
By being in a University that values passion towards chosen fields and well-roundedness, Yukie and Jeanette have been awarded the NUS Global Merit Scholarship and the NUS Performing and Visual Arts Scholarship respectively. Both scholarships provide them with financial assistance and the guaranteed opportunity to complete a Student Exchange Programme at one of NUS’ overseas partner universities. Yukie tells us, “I may not be certain of the University I will go to for my exchange programme, but I am pinning my hopes on universities in the US or Australia. I know universities there will offer me enriching modules such as Marine Biology and Forestry.”
As for Jeanette, she appreciates that her scholarship gives her the avenue to contribute actively to NUS’ performing arts scene. “As a Performing & Visual Arts scholar, more attention is given to me by the NUS Centre for the Arts (CFA). They help guide me on the right track in developing myself as an effective member of the arts scene in NUS. I work closely with CFA to develop a work plan for myself that emphasises growth in different pillars including leadership in arts, arts business, arts and the community, and technical artistic development,” she shares.
Elisa Yukie Yokoyama
NUS Global Merit Scholar
Bachelor of Environmental Studies student
Clarity of Goals
Both scholars have a clear vision of the path towards their career plans. Yukie hopes to work for a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and is not restricting herself to Singapore. “My plan is to work within the Coral Triangle in Southeast Asia such as Philippines, Indonesia or Malaysia,” she shares. In fact, she has already secured an internship next year in a Malaysian NGO called ForeverSabah. She adds, “I will be focusing on the ecotourism sector in my role there. My responsibilities will include engaging the community to opt for eco-friendlier objectives instead of depleting the wildlife in biodiversity-rich areas. I hope to transfer the skills gained during my Sabah experiences over to my future career.”
On Jeanette’s part, she hopes to join the social enterprise sector, following her interest in the concept of using commercial models to improve human welfare. She tells us, “Studying social sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) allows me to hone my understanding of society and individuals, giving me a greater vantage point of what can be done as a social entrepreneur. The demands of being a scholar and dancer also train me to be disciplined and passionate about what I do, an essential work quality for any profession.”
Jeanette Mae De Silva
NUS Performing & Visual Arts Scholar
Bachelor of Arts student
A Complete Student Life
Yukie’s extensive commitment in sailing, school and volunteer efforts leads us to wonder: How does one squeeze so many activities into their schedule? Yukie tells us light-heartedly, “Perhaps I have more drive and urgency to get work done because I don’t have much time for each activity! This realisation does help to boost my productivity.”
Although she is only in her first year, she sees great enjoyment in being part of a community of like-minded individuals. “It’s interesting to learn with people who are interested in different sectors of the environment. There are people who like forestry, some who appreciate marine life, and others who are interested in urban planning. These may all seem like different areas but they all make up our environment,” she explains.
In closing, Jeanette offers a few words for those choosing their courses of study. She ends off, “As much as your competency in your course of study is important, you should consider your interest first before anything else. This is because no matter how talented you are in a particular field, a lack of motivation will make learning dry and tedious. Only when we are interested in what we do, can we find the drive to pursue it vigorously.”