SINGAPORE — The addition of two new study abroad programs and the introduction of a petition process by the Centre for International and Professional Experience at Yale-NUS have made it easier for the college’s first few classes of students to study abroad. Precisely where they may study, however, remains uncertain, owing in part to conflicting statements from Yale’s CIPE office and its counterpart in Singapore.
During an information session on Feb. 10, Yale-NUS CIPE announced its new offerings: the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Pitt in the Himalayas, a program offered through the University of Pittsburgh. CIPE also advertised Yale, among other colleges, as an option for study abroad next semester. CIPE’s website states that the number of students who can study at Yale next semester has yet to be determined, leading some to believe that there will be at least some spots available.
Yet this may not be the case. Jane Edwards, dean of international and professional experience at Yale, said in an interview that there would be no study abroad spots at Yale for Yale-NUS students in the coming semester.
“We are likely to stay with the model of having a single semester for Yale-NUS students which is the spring,” she said.
When asked to confirm Edwards’s statements, Lindsay Allen, associate director of International Programs, did not comment specifically but said in an email interview, “We are working closely with our colleagues at Yale CIPE and plan to provide ongoing opportunities for study abroad between Yale-NUS and Yale.”
The current collaboration between Yale CIPE and Yale-NUS CIPE can be traced back to the founding days of Yale-NUS CIPE.
“It’s not a particularly common model [to have] study abroad and career services and so on in a single student-focused operation,” Edwards said. “I guess … my colleagues at Yale-NUS liked the idea.”
Through Yale-NUS CIPE, students currently enjoy a host of opportunities at Yale and its overseas programs, including Yale Summer Session. Four sophomores are also currently enrolled at Yale for the spring semester.
One of them, Joan Danielle Ongchoco YNUS ’17, said she hopes her term abroad will crystallize her academic interests and help her decide what to focus on back in Singapore.
“Going back home, I hope I’ll have a clearer idea of the questions I want to ask and the methods through which I want to pursue them,” she said.
The sheer size differential between the two schools has required her to adjust, Ongchoco said. At Yale, she said, there is a premium on tradition and camaraderie — a spirit she hopes to bring back to Yale-NUS.
Tiffany Sin YNUS ’17 said the size of the other universities in Yale-NUS’s study abroad offerings make them attractive options for overseas experience.
“I can’t study all the things that I want to study here, so I want to go over to a larger university that has a larger range of STEM courses,” she said, emphasizing academic opportunities over cultural experience.
Currently, CIPE at Yale-NUS recommends that Yale-NUS students study abroad for one semester. According to the Yale-NUS CIPE website, there must be exceptional and compelling reasons to study abroad for two semesters. As the website outlines, this one-semester limit is in place to ensure students have sufficient time in Singapore to fulfill Common Curriculum courses, two of which must be taken during junior and senior year, as well as requirements for their major.
The rule is unique to Yale-NUS students studying abroad at Yale, Edwards said.
“That was a hard decision for us to make,” she said. “We find that Yale works better for a year than a single semester. But if it’s going to be a single semester, the spring works better than the fall,” she added.
Edwards explained that there would not be a “sense of completion of an experience” if students left after fall semester. Increased housing constraints during the fall semester were also a consideration, she said.
Students interviewed also questioned the rationale behind the one-semester rule. Chua Yao Hui ’17, who intends to major in economics and explore courses in engineering, hopes to study at Yale for a full year.
“I want to explore courses in engineering and physics. I would also like to fulfill some of my major requirements. Going for a full year at Yale gives me that flexibility to venture in both directions,” he said.
Yale students will have the opportunity to study at Yale-NUS for a semester starting in the fall of 2016, Edwards said. Since most students who go abroad are juniors, she said, it makes sense to wait until there are upperclassmen at Yale-NUS.
Yale-NUS students who wish to attend a program outside the college’s official suite of offerings may petition to CIPE.
Li Ting Chan reported from Singapore, and Spandana Bhattacharya from New Haven.