Next semester, four Yale-NUS sophomores will arrive on Yale College’s campus to debut the new exchange program between the two institutions.
Planning for the semester-long exchange program has been in the works since early 2013, months before Yale-NUS opened its doors in August of last year. Though Yale College is hosting Yale-NUS students this spring, Yale-NUS will not be hosting Yale College students until the opening of its new campus in 2015. While Yale-NUS President Pericles Lewis did not provide details about the program’s future, he said there will be further collaboration between Yale College and Yale-NUS to accommodate Yale College students who may want to study abroad at Yale-NUS.
“Launching this program speaks to the importance of the ties between our two institutions. In addition to the great collaborations already in place between our faculty and staff, student exchanges are one of the best ways for our two institutions to better understand each other and build lasting ties,” said Yale-NUS Dean of International and Professional Experience Anastasia Vrachnos.
Adrian Stymne NUS ’17, who will be coming to Yale College in January as an exchange student, said he was attracted to the exchange program because he wanted to explore a broad range of courses before he declared his major and gain exposure to Yale College’s extracurriculars.
Though Stymne said he is more excited than worried about his upcoming semester in New Haven, he said he is nervous about making the transition from Yale-NUS’s small college setting to a large research university setting like Yale College’s.
“Here at Yale-NUS we’re a small enough community that people have clear roles, people notice when you’re missing and everyone knows everyone. I can imagine myself getting lost at such a large institution [like Yale College],” Stymne said.
Stymne said he hopes to avoid total anonymity at Yale by making friends with current Yale College students in the dining halls and getting to know other exchange students.
The exchange program is an extension of Yale’s Visiting International Students Program, which has been in existence for four years, Yale College Director of Study Abroad Tina Kirk said.
Vrachnos said for Yale-NUS students, a big draw to the program has been the opportunity it offers to engage in Yale’s academic and extracurricular activities.
But Kirk noted that it may be difficult for students to begin engaging in extracurriculars halfway through the school year, despite efforts on the part of Yale’s administration to orient the new exchange students.
Joe English ’17 also said it might be difficult for new students to adjust to the extracurricular culture, because of the timeline of these activities.
“So much for extracurriculars happens during fall semester. It might be difficult for [the exchange students] to integrate into clubs and activities and sports if they want to do those,” English said. “[Extracurriculars are] a huge part of Yale life, so it’s a shame that they’ll miss out on that.”
Kirk said there will be an orientation program for the exchange students to help them get acclimated to the Yale College environment. During orientation, the Yale-NUS students will be introduced to the full-year international students, along with faculty members and administrators.
Christopher Tee NUS ’17, who is considering applying to a study abroad program this spring in London, said he has had difficulty choosing between the study abroad experience and staying in Singapore to continue his education at Yale-NUS.
“There’s also a part of me that wants to stay and build the new and small community that is Yale-NUS. Building a school community is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I feel very attached to my new family,” Tee wrote in an email.
There are 320 students currently enrolled at Yale-NUS.