Yale-NUS reserves spots for Yalies in summer modules abroad

Though Yalies have joined Yale-NUS students for learning experiences abroad before, this year will mark the first time that Yale-NUS has reserved two spots for Yale students in each of its summertime “Learning Across Boundaries” programs.

The programs — usually referred to as “LABs” — are noncredit, faculty-led programs that last between seven and 10 days and “offer students unparalleled experiential learning outside of the classroom,” according to Yale-NUS Associate Director for Experiential Learning Beth Uding. During the programs, students go abroad to meet and interact with professionals in relevant fields like journalism and public health, make connections between academic and field work and produce a final project.

This summer, Yale-NUS will hold five LABs and reserve two spots for Yalies out of about 15 to 20 in each program, according to Yale-NUS Dean for International and Professional Experience Trisha Craig. Though participating Yalies must pay for their own transportation to and from the program location and show proof of insurance coverage, Uding wrote in an email to the News that Yale-NUS will cover “all other program-related expenses, including accommodation, two meals per day, transportation during the program and activity fees.”

The summer LABs include one on visual anthropology and journalism held in Malaysia, one on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ future held in Singapore and Cambodia and one on creative arts and social engagement held in Japan.

“We think it’s a nice opportunity for students to get the kind of experiential learning piece that they might not get otherwise,” Craig said. “But also, it’s a very nice chance for Yale and Yale-NUS students to work and learn together.”

Craig said that “experiential learning” is an important part of the pedagogy at Yale-NUS. In their first year, Yale-NUS students are required to embark on Week 7 LAB programs during the fall semester, which take place in various locations in Singapore and abroad. Craig highlighted that Week 7’s are a “subset” of the larger LAB programs, which are usually offered in the summer or over spring break and are often tied to either specific faculty research or skill development.

Craig said that Yale-NUS has been actively encouraging Yale faculty to lead LABs of their own. Vincent Ni, 2018 Yale Greenberg World Fellow, will lead the “Future of ASEAN” LAB, and Yale School of Public Health professor Kaveh Khoshnood will lead one on “Public Health and Refugees in Transition” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

To raise awareness about the opportunity among the Yale community, Craig said that several Heads of College and Woodbridge Fellow Saatchi Kalsi ’18 have been spreading the word. Yale-NUS’s Center for International and Professional Experience has also asked Yale-NUS students who are currently visiting Yale to tell their peers about LABs, Craig said.

Yale students have until April 1 — an extended deadline — to apply to the LABs hosted in Japan, Kuala Lumpur and London, while other opportunities have a later deadline.

Craig said that in their applications, it is important for students to highlight how the programs “fit in with their broader interests” and “further some goals that they’ve had,” as well as show how they will “take that learning forward” on the LAB.

“It’s really important to us that it be integrated into either students’ professional trajectory or their academic trajectory,” Craig said.

She added that depending on the number of interested students and the nature of the project, students may also have to do an interview, although application responses usually give faculty leaders enough information to decide whom to admit.