Yale in London might have to make an effort not to become Yale-NUS in London.
Last spring, Yale in London — a study-abroad program run through the Yale Center for British Art — opened for the first time to students from Yale-NUS, who see it as an opportunity to engage with Yale students, Director of Study Abroad Kelly McLaughlin said in a November interview. The program attracted immediate interest: in the first semester, Yale-NUS students comprised over half of the group accepted into the program, with four out of seven participants coming from the Singaporean college, although Yale-NUS’s student body is only about 10 percent the size of the undergraduate student body at Yale. Some Yale-NUS students who attended the program said they wished there had been more Yale students.
“One of the draws of attending Yale-NUS was that you would have some kind of Yale experience,” McLaughlin said.
Yale-NUS students were concerned that the balance of students from the two institutions has tipped too much towards Yale-NUS, he said.
When contacted again this week, McLaughlin said he understood Yale-NUS students’ desire to interact with Yale students but deferred to Yale in London Director Lisa Ford for further questions. Ford did not respond to requests for comment.
This semester, the number of Yale-NUS students enrolled in the program has gone back down, to two. Trisha Craig, dean of the Centre for International and Professional Experience at Yale-NUS, said the arts-focused, specialized nature of Yale in London attracts a specific group of students at Yale-NUS, but she denied that there has been worry over too many Yale-NUS students participating in the program. She said Yale-NUS students value the experience not only for the intellectual exchange with Yale students but also for the intimate and focused learning environment abroad.
Yale-in-London offers three sessions per year: one during the spring and two during the summer. For each of these sessions, the program caps the number of participants at 15.
Former Yale in London participants from Yale-NUS confirmed McLaughlin’s November comments, saying they wished there had been more Yale students at the program.
“While I made a conscious decision to withhold any expectations and be open to the experience, I was surprised that there were not more Yale students attending the program,” said Keziah Quek YNUS ’17, who attended the program in spring 2015. “It would have been interesting to interact with more students from Yale, and a slightly larger class size might’ve made tutorial discussions richer, and our social life within our class more varied.”
David Chia YNUS ’17, who also attended last spring, also said he would have wished for more Yale students in the program. Given the relative size of the two institutions, he said, participation in Yale in London was not balanced.
However, he said his experience was not dampened by the relatively small number of Yale students in his program.
Quek agreed, saying she was close to the three Yale students who did participate in the program. Because they had all their classes together and lived in the same flat, common classroom experiences and living space bonded the group, despite the small number, she added.
Chia said the small size of the Yale in London group helped him bond with the three Yale students who attended.
Yale in London was founded in the 1970s and hires Yale faculty to teach courses at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London, which is owned by the University.