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53 Questions with Emma, Singapore (Yale-NUS)

Gloria Ho

Meet Emma. A current student at Yale-NUS, who is in her 1st year of Bachelor's studies. Prior to entering Yale-NUS, she graduated from Hwa Chong Institution. And she is a local student from Singapore. 


1. What school do you study in? 


2. Do you/others have a nickname for the school? 

Not really.

3. Why did you choose this school? 

I thought it was most in line with my academic interest. 

Scene (Questions that give hints of the school culture) 

4. What is a scene that you often see in the school? 

You would expect to see a lot of mixing and inter mingling between people from different nationalities, as there is a lot of diversity in our student population with about 50% of each cohort being international students. 

5. What is one thing that you wish you knew before enrollment? 

I had a pretty good understanding of how the curriculum will be like in Yale-NUS as I’ve had seniors who were already in the school. Though I do feel that the school may have oversold on their selling points but I think this is a phenomenon across most universities.

6. Your school is great, but if you could change one thing, what would it be? 

The common curriculum. Although having a common curriculum allow you to explore others subjects, it kind of limits the time and exposure you have for trying out modules related to potential majors you may want to go into. 

7.  And if there’s one thing you’d never change? 

The diversity and the fact that it’s a small school so a lot of effort and resources goes into giving students the best opportunities. 

8. The unofficial uniform of your school is? 

I think it varies across faculties but generally I think we dress less casually as compared to other universities that I know of. 

9. When you meet a new friend for the first time and you have to describe your school with one word, what would it be?


10. What is one place in the school that you are proud of? 

Dining Hall. As the food here is generally quite good as compared to other residential colleges. 

11. If you could swap programs for a day, what would it be? 

I most want to try out Sociology, which Yale-NUS doesn’t offer as a major. 

12. What is a common myth of your school? 

That it’s very atas and people here are all snobbish. Also, that we’re a school with very strong party culture though it’s only true to a small extent. I must say though, there’s no social pressure at all to attend these parties, it’s quite chill. 

13. If you ever had to stay in school past 9pm, what would it be because? 

We stay on campus. 

14. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in the school? 

Some people like to walk around without shoes as they say that it makes them feel more connected with the earth. 

15. What is your one guilty pleasure you indulge in in school? 

Free food from the many events hosted in Yale-NUS. 

16. If you were given $5 million dollars to revamp the school, what would you do with it? 

Expand the library.

17. In between classes, where can we find you? 

In the library or in my room. 

53 Questions with Emma, Singapore (Yale-NUS)Library in Yale-NUS

Tips (Info for future students) 

18. What is the best place to be as one with your laptop and lecture recordings? 


53 Questions with Emma, Singapore (Yale-NUS)Interior of the library of Yale-NUS

19. In the occasion that the school has to downsize till only ONE food place remains, what will it be? 

Dining hall as the food is more substantial. 

20. For free electricity in the school, where would you go to? 

Back to my room. 

Programs & Electives

21. What program are you in? 

I have not chosen my major yet but I’m intending to pick Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). 

22. Is this related to your dream job? 

I would say that it’s relevant as I’m more interested in the realm of social impact. 

23. Do you know the actual value of your degree? 

I would rather not share. 

24. Do you think a degree in your course is cost efficient in terms of the quality of education you are receiving versus what you are paying? 


25. In your opinion, how much should a degree in your program cost? 

I would price it above what I’m currently paying as I find that the school is very generous with financial aids and scholarships. If you apply for one, you will mostly likely get it to different extent. This was also a pull factor for many students who are here. 

26. What is the most unforgettable module you have taken? 

I’ve only been here one semester so I don’t have many to pick from but I would say Comparative Social Inquiry, which is somewhat equivalent to a sociology module. 

27. If you could be exempted from any module in your program, what would it be? 

Not really. 

28.What advice would you give to future students about module selection and planning? 

Be prepared that you really don’t get what you want especially if you’re in year 1. It gets better over the years. 

29. If you had to choose one, would you advise a Singapore Junior College (JC)  or Polytechnic (poly) student to join your program? 

A lot of JC students have feedback that university system in general (not just Yale-NUS) is not easy for them. In JC, students are usually very guided where teachers make it very clear what they want from you in exams, and they even provide past year papers. However, in university, as it’s on a semester basis, it’s not a build up of knowledge like in JC and it’s also not guided. So in that sense, JC students are kind of thrown into the deep to struggle and may fare worse. 

30. In what scenarios will any student be exempted from any modules? 

Not for common curriculum, at least to the best of my knowledge. 

31. Theory vs. Practical. In what ratio would you say your program content is? 

1:1. Classroom teachings are very much theoretical but there’s a team of staff that’s dedicated to providing internship and career advices that are very practical so I put it as 1:1.

32. On a scale of 1 – 10, how employable do you think students from your program are? 

7, as I feel that the school has yet to make a name for itself.

33. Name 3 job fields people from your program go into.


Public Sector

34. Favorite Professor? 

Prof. Lee Wei Lit who teaches Comparative Social Inquiry. 

35. What is one thing that most people don’t know about your program? 

That it’s a mix of humanities and sciences. They do include science and mathematical modules in the common curriculum that is compulsory.

36. Ideal tutorial class size versus reality? 

Current class size at Yale-NUS is quite ideal at about 20-25 students. 

37. Given a chance to go on exchange, which country would you choose? 

Yale University in the United States as the exchange between Yale and us is very strong and there are usually more opportunities to go, about 20-25 slots per semester if I’m not wrong. 

38. Common exam formats include: 

For the more science and mathematical modules, it’s usually multiple-choice questions, but for the humanities modules, it’s usually essay submissions or reports. 

Extra-Curriculum & Other Schools Activities

39. Outside of the curriculum, do you have any other commitments in school? 

I’m involved in environmental based clubs like the conscious living collective. 

40. Would you say that it is difficult to manage both studies and other school activities? 

I think that it’s only as difficult as you make it to be. 

41. In your opinion, are there enough clubs & societies in school for students to choose from? 

Yes, there’s a huge range of clubs and societies for students to choose from and students are encouraged to pursue their own interest. School is supportive in this aspect. 

42. How do you think an Extra-Curriculum Activity add value to a student's overall experience? 

Generally it’s important to find a community of like-minded people. I think it’s especially good for international students who are in a foreign country.

43. The most memorable school event that you have attended would be: 

Orientation. I think that it’s impressive that the school included a consent talk during orientation as I feel that not enough schools do this. This shows a lot of Yale-NUS’ efforts in preventing sexual violence and harassment on campus especially since living on campus is compulsory. 

44. If you had to pay to NOT attend a particular event in school, what will it be? 


45. Is the school doing enough to engage students? 

Yes, there’s a lot avenues that school makes clear you can go to. An example would be the RCA, where a senior is attached to an orientation group for the entire year so you can always go to this someone advices. 


46. Do you stay on-campus? If yes, see below: 

Yes, it’s compulsory to stay on campus. 

47. Which part of campus do you stay at? 

Elm College.

48. Name 5 adjectives about your hall/hostel. 

Centralized, convenient, green, comfortable, near.

49. Would you sacrifice an “A” for one of your core modules to secure a spot at hall/hostel? 

Compulsory to stay on campus. 

50. How would you describe hall life in a phrase? 


51. Are the amenities in the halls comprehensive? 

No, I wish they had pantries or kitchen. There’s the Buttery but you have to go through a lot of trouble to book it. 

52. If you can only bring one electrical appliance to hall, what would it be? 

Mini fridge. 

53. Worst room mate ever? If not best? 

I’ve been lucky with roommates. I have 5 roommates and we’re all pretty similar in terms of living habits, probably due to this survey that we have to all fill out during application.


Works as Marketing Executive at NI Galactica Pte Ltd