As a leading global university centred in Asia, NUS has long held a well-deserved reputation for academic excellence and research. At NUS, students are part of a bold and dynamic community which exposes them to a body of world-class expertise, knowledge and insights in a variety of fields. They are given the freedom to develop themselves however they choose, expressing their own distinct individualities in order to achieve their full potential.
NUS Scholarships are awarded to the future movers and shakers of Singapore, giving them the resources they need to excel in life. One such individual is Ritchie Ng, an NUS Global Merit Scholar who is currently pursuing a concurrent degree programme comprising a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master in Public Policy. Another outstanding scholar is Khoo Zi-Yu, a recipient of the NUS Undergraduate (Merit) Scholarship, who is in the midst of a double degree in Chemical Engineering and Economics. We sit down with Ritchie and Zi-Yu to learn more about their brilliant journey as NUS scholars.
The Freedom to Go Beyond
Ritchie was drawn to the flexibility of an NUS Scholarship programme. “I hope to join an investment bank, a hedge fund or a private equity firm when I graduate. The idea of a bond-free scholarship was definitely a determining factor when I was looking at various scholarships,” he recounts.
Beyond the bond-free nature of the scholarship, Ritchie was also attracted by the freedom he would have to pursue his interests at NUS. He has always possessed a keen interest in all things related to banking and finance, a passion that stretches back to his time as a student in Junior College. And as he learnt more about the vast realm of finance, he came to understand its intricate links to the field of public policy.
NUS Undergraduate (Merit) Scholar
Studying: Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering, National University of Singapore
Bachelor of Arts in Economics,
National University of Singapore
At NUS, Ritchie is able to further his interest in both fields concurrently as he pursues his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master in Public Policy. “Looking back, enrolling in NUS was the best decision I have made in my life thus far. I chose NUS over other universities because of its concurrent degree programme. It was something unique across all the universities I had applied for,” Ritchie declares.
On Zi-Yu’s end, she too wanted to leave her future open with a bond-free scholarship. For her, the deciding factor was the ability to reconcile her various interests at NUS. She concurs with Ritchie’s sentiments, telling us, “I have always wanted to study in NUS, but what really sealed the deal for me was being offered the chance to study multiple subjects I was interested in at the same time. As of now, I am doing a double degree in Chemical Engineering and Economics, both of which are subjects I am passionate about. I am also a student of the University Scholars Programme (USP), which exposes me to an even greater range of interdisciplinary subjects.”
A Dynamic Environment
The most striking thing about NUS for Zi-Yu is its vibrant learning culture that encourages students to think outside of the classroom. She says, “The teachers are very focused on preparing us for our careers. In Engineering, lecturers try to bring in external speakers, such as people working in the oil refining industry. They open our eyes to the relevance and real-world applications of the theories and concepts we learn in lectures. There is a very strong focus on being able to apply the things we learn in the classroom to real-world situations.”
Ritchie also notes the prominence of the ‘flipped’ classroom model in NUS, where students are able to peruse their course content online at their own pace and assignments are completed in the classroom through interaction with the teacher. He explains, “The pedagogy at NUS allows me to grasp new academic content at a comfortable pace, master the concepts efficiently and effectively in class and hone my ‘soft’ skills in areas such as presentations and teamwork.”
Learning is not confined to the lecture halls at NUS. Students are able to engage in a range of activities and tap into diverse opportunities for intellectual, professional and personal growth.
Ritchie is also in the USP and has found kindred spirits who share in the joy he derives from scholarly pursuits in the programme. He is able to broaden his horizons by interacting with other students from different walks of life, exposing himself to different points of view that are often new to him. “We are able to engage in dialogue on various topics. We’ve talked about everything under the sun, including things like justice, colonialism, cosmopolitanism, ontology, epistemology and even existentialism, just to name a few,” he shares spiritedly.
Ritchie Ng Zhenghao
NUS Global Merit Scholar
Studying: Bachelor of Business Administration and Master in Public Policy, National University of Singapore
Ritchie’s time at NUS has also cultivated a keen sense of social awareness in him and spurred him on to do his part for the community. He is involved in a collaboration project with Ren Ci Hospital, where he is organising a project to connect the elderly and youths in Singapore. Additionally, he is organising an event to raise awareness for autism in Singapore that will be held in NUS in 2015 during Autism Awareness Month. With this buffet of experiences, he says excitedly, “My journey in NUS has certainly enriched my intellectual, moral and social spheres!”
For Zi-Yu, she is always eager to expose herself to new experiences and enjoys meeting and getting to know new people the most. Her position on the NUS Scholars’ Community (NSC) Committee enables her to meet many NUS Scholars from different disciplines. She was even given the chance to speak to the incoming batch of junior scholars during her second year. “These opportunities let me give back to the NUS community, and best of all, they allow me to expand my horizons by meeting new people,” she shares.
With so many opportunities to be immersed in a diverse student body and gain fresh perspectives, it’s no wonder that Ritchie and Zi-Yu believe that prospective students of NUS should possess an open mind in order to experience the entirety of the benefits that the school has to offer.
Zi-Yu encourages students to step out of their comfort zone in order to meet new people. She says, “While there are many interesting research opportunities for me to pursue, in addition to countless overseas opportunities, I have truly learnt the most through my everyday activities in NUS. For instance, my time playing volleyball in the Inter-Faculty Games allowed me to meet students from varied backgrounds. It is truly eye-opening to listen to the different perspectives that others have regarding the same issues.”
Ritchie agrees, concluding, “There is more to university life than just your grades. Make friends, join a Co-Curricular Activity you like and participate in student-led initiatives. Your life in NUS will be a fruitful adventure. There will be obstacles, but you will grow stronger as you conquer each one!”