live in Singapore because of a mouse click. Here’s the story: Yale and the National University of Singapore established a partnership and opened a college, and Yale put a box on its application alluring prospective students to check it if they wished to be considered for admission at Yale-NUS, a new liberal arts college in Southeast Asia. And I, having never heard of it, and having never been to Asia, did so, because, why not? In retrospect, it might have been one of the most important and easiest decisions of my life.

If not for the check box, many of my international peers and I would never have discovered Yale-NUS. Truly, we depend on Yale when it comes to outreach and promotion, professors and classes and examples — we couldn’t do this alone.

And yet compared to Yale, a much bigger and older school, we’re somewhere in the background. It is perfectly understandable why students in New Haven know very little about Yale-NUS, as Yalies are simply too busy to know more little more about the school than the headlines. To be fair, most Yale-NUS students are too busy to follow the events on this campus closely as well.

The macro story of a place does not showcase individuals’ daily lives, though, and portrayals in the media don’t necessarily capture the day-to-day, happy or sad.

I recently took an Uber to the University of Connecticut and was astounded to see that it cost $70. Having acclimated to prices in Singapore, I didn’t expect this, for a trip across Singapore from Yale-NUS to the crossroads of Asia, Changi Airport, is $20, or 20 miles.

Singapore is a place where it’s safe to walk alone at any time of day, where biking late at night is actually preferred (you sweat less), where food courts can have 100 stalls. It’s a place where Chinese, Tamil and Malay intertwine with English organically and often perplex foreigners, but I still get by. In Singapore, much like here, I’m often in a hurry, and yet time doesn’t seem to pass. I enjoy waking up with the sun at 7:30 a.m. and watching it set at 7:30 p.m. every day. The windows of my dorm room on the 18th floor flood my room with natural light.

Going to Yale-NUS showed me that a college can fit into one building, that 150 students with nothing but each other and enthusiasm can establish 20 successful clubs in a year, that world-renowned professors can drink champagne with freshmen and expand their intellectual horizons, that admissions counselors and students can be best buds and watch the Harvard-Yale Game together at 3 a.m. and that the whole school will come together to mourn the passing of a professor even if 60 percent of the pioneering junior class is studying abroad.

Going to Yale-NUS let me, a lower-middle class girl from Siberia, live and study in Singapore, Chile, Taiwan and finally here at Yale. It helped me meet and get to know people from 40 countries. It helped me not be afraid to talk to strangers, to be awkward “speaking” Singlish, to try new things and to start new things: my running exclamation is that at Yale-NUS any idea can be turned into reality.

The other day somebody in my seminar here at Yale had a birthday, and the class started singing to her. It wasn’t before long the class realized we didn’t know the student’s name — a situation unimaginable at Yale-NUS.

Yale-NUS cannot be seen as Yale stuck into Singapore, and so we should not expect it to aspire to be Yale in New Haven: our college has been flexible to adapt to the norms of its host city-state and couldn’t be expected to change the government that funds it, especially in the beginning.

If a mature institution like Yale has its problems, it is only natural that Yale-NUS would as well. And just as Yalies — and many of us visiting students — still love this campus, so do we Yale-NUSers still love Yale-NUS. I do.

As a college we’ve recently chosen a mascot for Yale-NUS: a bird local to Singapore, the kingfisher. Small, but colorful and feisty. I believe it represents us well.

Come visit anytime and see it for yourself.

Anna Evtushenko is a junior and member of the first class of Yale-NUS College. She is a visiting student this semester in Jonathan Edwards College. Contact her at anna.evtushenko@yale.edu .

  • Tucker Pendleton

    Great article. NUS is awesome, and so is Singapore. S’pore feels like someone took NYC, gave it a bubble-bath, and put it in the Bahamas — it might be the best place in the world to study now. Not because of the City’s glitz, or that IT IS SURROUNDED BY 28,000 ISLANDS in Indonesia alone, but that its full of diverse people united in optimism about their future.

    • If_we_dream_too_long

      Mr Pendleton, I love Singapore. But absurd comments like yours don’t do it any favours. You don’t really seem to follow the media, even the government-controlled media, in Singapore very closely. And I have to wonder if you have read the novel from which I take my pseudonym here.

  • If_we_dream_too_long

    Ms Evtushenko, as Goh Poh Seng (who?!) would have recognized, the chance that you have had to “study in Singapore, Chile, Taiwan and finally here at Yale” by your junior year suggests that you’re not exposing yourself to a very deep understanding of any of them. Sad. There was a time when “Yale” connoted a serious education.

    • Tucker Pendleton

      That is not at all what the article suggests. Rather, it indicates the author is bright, adventurous, outgoing, and bold. Fortune favors the bold. You assume one needs time to develop a deep understanding of something. Not true: Spend a day in a war zone and you may know more about war than someone who studies it for years. Further not true: Surrounding yourself with the right people, places, and information accelerates understanding. Perhaps for someone lacking social dexterity it takes much much longer. But my sense is the author obviously learned, and likely improved, her ability to avail herself of such things as she began anew in each culture. That is a real skill, kudos to her.

  • CentralJerseyMom

    Why do you not transliterate the “Y” at the beginning of your name? The name is pronounced “Yevtushenko.” Yes the Russian “E” looks like the Latin “E” but it’s not, anymore than the Russian “P” is a Latin “P” or the Russian “H” is a Latin “H.”

    • Anna Evtushenko

      This is what my name looks like in my international passport, hence this is my official name in English