Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. - Theodor Seuss Geisel

NYP is your passport to the world. One in two students at Nanyang Polytechnic have the opportunity to go on overseas stints during their time here – either on academic attachments, internships at companies or universities, or cultural immersion programmes and community service endeavours.

These overseas programmes "encourage students to go beyond their classrooms and develop a global mindset that is necessary to take on the challenges of a fast-changing world,” explains Student Development director, Mr Chai Kuek Heng.

"We also have financial assistance schemes in place to ensure that deserving students from financially-challenged backgrounds do not miss out on such programmes," he adds.

Here’s some examples of students tackling new challenges, broadening perspectives, understanding different cultures, and last but not least, having a blast of a time.

Posted to an Ivy League School

Angelica was posted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania as part of her overseas internship programme from Aug 29 to Oct 18 2017. The hospital was founded by U Penn’s School of Medicine.

“Of course, I was excited when I heard I was going to America, and, on top of that, I was going to U Penn – one of the top universities in the world!”

The first culture shock: In the US, nurses don scrubs rather than uniforms, shares Angelica. Then, work days would start and end with conferences during which she met with her medical team to discuss and assess the effectiveness of proposed treatments. This meant that she had to do thorough research and patient interviews to plan for their care. She also had the opportunity to perform procedures under the supervision of a clinical instructor.

“This was an eye-opening experience, one that boosted my confidence. I was able to apply my skills, and also communicate with patients from a different culture, who are more interactive and inquisitive.”

Of course, it was not all hard work, Angelica found time to attend a fall festival at a nearby park, and enjoyed events, games, live performances and unusual festival foods such as funnel cake. The verdict? “VERY SWEET,” she grimaces with a laugh.

PS: She reveals that she had a wonderful time travelling to an orchard and drinking her fill of apple cider.

Angelica Hernandez


Interning at Disneyland

How about a job at the Happiest Place on Earth?
Fanny See was posted to Disneyland in Orlando, Florida from March 18 to September 7, 2017.

A lifelong Disney fan, the trip was a dream come true: “I got to see how the magic is made for thousands of visitors every day. It takes a lot of work and planning to make someone’s day, but it was awesome.”

She manned food and beverage stalls, attended to the never-ending lines, made sure her visitors were kept safe, and STILL had opportunities to create magical moments for her guests.

She remembers there was a surprise birthday celebration for a 7-year-old. Fanny blew up balloons and prepared a cupcake so that the little girl could blow out a candle. The child was so awestruck that she looked for her new friend every evening of her family’s stay at the Magical Kingdom. For this, Fanny was also recognised and rewarded by the company for going the extra mile.

Looking back, she says that the trip made her grow up. For instance, she found the confidence to put her foot down – courteously and effectively – with a patron who was ignoring the safety procedures.

Another plus? She learnt a new language! Spanish!

With 1 in 3 guests speaking Spanish, she quickly learnt with help from her colleagues and an iPhone app. Being able to communicate more effectively with her guests, which delighted them all the more, was very rewarding for Fanny.

“Being able to create magic for guests every day was very uplifting. Visitors were there to have a happy time, and my job was to make that happen for them. I learnt to work well with folks from various cultures and to multi-task effectively. “

She reckons the experience has put her in good stead to do well in the hospitality sector plus she had time off enough to do the touristy thing in Niagara Falls, Toronto and Washington DC.

“This entire internship has been simply amazing!”

Fanny Elias See Yan Ni


Community Service Overseas

Zhi Yong has always had a soft spot for helping the poor and underprivileged. So at NYP, she signed up for the Youth Expedition Programme, and travelled to Myanmar to do her part.

In a village called Dala, on the outskirts of Yangon city, she and her fellow volunteers rolled up their sleeves, heaved with hoes and dug with spades to repair footpaths. She also helped to clear land of rubbish and tilled it so that it could be turned into a vegetable plot. Her team also managed to create a solar-powered mobile charger for the villagers’ convenience.

Then, she visited an orphanage near the city and helped with chores such as cleaning and repairing the pigsties and the firewood sheds. Together with her group, she also cooked meals, made bubble tea for the children and decorated the simple library.

Zhi Yong says she was unexpectedly rewarded: “You don’t expect anything, but these folks were willing to do what they could to show you kindness in return.” She recalls being invited for meals, no matter how poor the families were. People would clean her soiled shoes over her protests, and the orphans would attempt to wipe sweat from her brow for her.

She was deeply moved by how generous and big hearted these underprivileged folks were.

“Whatever little these people had, they were willing to share, willing to give. I feel that even though they might be poor, they are definitely very rich in spirit and values. I’ve gained so much more than I’ve given. These are little priceless and meaningful memories and lessons which I will always carry in my heart.”

Ooi Zhi Yong


In Europe, will travel!

Ying Shi is currently on an exchange programme with Hochschule Luzern University in Switzerland. There, she is studying two modules and has taken on a project to design a café for a family who have owned their bakery for generations.

And she is totally maximising her time, immersing herself in the wonderful culture and sights of Europe.

A breath-taking visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mount Pilatus; a delightful trip to Milan and the city’s spectacular cathedral, the Duomo di Milano – particularly exhilarating for a spatial design student; tobogganing; paragliding; grocery shopping in nearby Germany; Ying Shi is making very moment count.

“I’m truly loving it here as I’m able to travel and sight-see so much, and on a comfortable budget. The point is to immerse myself in cultures here, and see how people live and work; it inspires my design.”

“The beauty of being in a foreign land is that there’s so much to explore! I’m also making many friends from all over the world. I can’t wait for more adventures! ”

Teng Ying Shi


Engineering Choices

After their first year Common Engineering Programme, 20 of NYP’s students went off to Perth for a week – where they sussed out various engineering options, and how they have impacted the world. This eventually helped them make a decision on their specialisations.

In Australia, they saw just how powerful automation could be with equipment in action at different processes in a gold mine; they also saw how environmental engineers were able to transform lives at the Curtin University Green Electric Energy Park and the Rottnest Island Solar and Wind Turbine Plant.

Apart from these course related visits, he also had time for some touristy fun. He got to sandboard at the Pinnacle Desert, visit King’s Park and Elizabeth Quay, feed kangaroos and koalas, and even encounter a live quokka (a native rodent).

“I eventually selected to study Electrical Engineering with Eco-Design. Exploring the self-sustaining Rottnest Island was inspiring. We learnt about the multiple power sources of the island, including solar power, windmills and turbines, and I could see how I could make an impact on our city and lives.”

Julian Yap

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