story Spandana Bhattacharya | Li Ting Chan
The recent addition of two new study abroad programs and the introduction of a petition process by the Center for International and Professional Experience (CIPE) has made it easier for Yale-NUS College students to study abroad. Precisely where they may study, however, remains uncertain, owing in part to conflicting statements from Yale-NUS’s CIPE office and its counterpart in New Haven.
During an information session on Feb. 10, 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. The petition process allows students to apply to a program outside of the College’s official suite of offerings. CIPE also presented 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, implying that there will at least be some spots available.
Yet this may not be the case. As of Feb. 2, Jane Edwards, Dean of Yale’s CIPE, said in an interview that there will 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 verify Ms. Edward’s statements, Lindsay Allen, Associate Director of International Programs, did not comment specifically but said via email, “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,” Ms. Edwards said. “I guess … my colleagues at Yale-NUS liked the idea,” she added.
Through Yale-NUS CIPE, students enjoy a host of opportunities at Yale or its overseas programs. Yale Summer Session (YSS) is one of them. Four sophomores are also currently enrolled in Yale for the spring semester.
Joan Danielle Ongchoco ’17, who is currently studying abroad at Yale, said that the size of Yale’s student population and its established traditions have been major differences from Yale-NUS. “Being able to compare Yale and Yale-NUS just makes me so much more appreciative of what we have back home and how we’ve created such a special community,” Ongchoco added.
Presently, Yale-NUS students are only allowed to study abroad for one semester. According to CIPE’s website, “exceptional and compelling reasons to spend two semesters abroad will be considered on an individual basis”. As the website explains, this brevity is needed for students to fulfill Yale-NUS’ Common Curriculum and major requirements.
This rule is unusual for students studying at Yale. According to Ms. Edwards, Yale-NUS students are the only ones to study at Yale for one semester. “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. She explained 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.
Students interviewed also questioned the rationale behind the one-semester rule. Chua Yao Hui ’17, who intends to major in Economics and pursue graduate studies 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. Students from Yale are expected to study abroad at Yale-NUS for a semester starting in Semester 1 of Academic Year 2016/2017. Ms. Edwards said, “It doesn’t make sense to do it until you guys actually have juniors or preferably seniors, since most students who go abroad are juniors.”
Applications for studying abroad next semester are due March 8.