NOC takes on Bandung and Ho Chi Minh City

20 June 2019 | EntrepreneurshipEducation
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NOC Bandung students at the city's BLOCK71 location

The Southeast Asia programme of the NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) has expanded to include two new cities — Bandung, Indonesia and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Launched in May 2018, the programme began with two Indonesian cities — Jakarta and Yogyakarta.

The expanded programme saw a spike in the number of applicants, and almost triple the number of students eventually selected compared to last year. Currently, 43 students are in this year’s NOC Southeast Asia programme, with 18 of them in the two new cities. The programme runs for three months and sees a diverse range of students from different years of study and faculties taking up internships with innovative start-ups in the rapidly developing Southeast Asian economy.

The two new cities both host thriving start-up scenes. Bandung, the capital of the West Java province, is part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network thanks to its innovative fashion and design industry. Students from NOC Bandung’s pioneer batch are interning in technology start-ups ranging from cybersecurity and green technology to human resource services. At least half of these start-ups are based at BLOCK71 Bandung and two were founded by NUS alumni.

"As an aspiring entrepreneur, this valuable opportunity allows me to witness how passion and risk-taking behavior drive these young entrepreneurs to develop fast-growing start-ups, especially in the tech industry. Despite the constant hustling within the start-up arena, Bandung is surrounded by friendly locals with a palatable pace of life. I am rewarded with a rich immersion in culture and traditions. This is why I chose Bandung — to enjoy the balance between the fast and slow, to do more and be more and start small from a small city," said Year 1 NUS Business student Sharmaine Teo.

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NOC Ho Chi Minh City students enjoying a traditional Vietnamese meal

Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city and the economic centre of Vietnam. Thanks to government investments to promote entrepreneurship, growing varsity incubation facilities and a large talent pool, the city has a vibrant start-up scene. Students from the pioneer NOC Ho Chi Minh City batch are interning in a wide range of technology start-ups including one that uses Artificial Intelligence, computer vision and deep learning to analyse consumer behaviour and another that provides music experience through games. Two of the partner start-up companies were founded by NUS alumni.

Year 4 NUS Arts and Social Sciences student Tay Tian Wen said about his experience in Ho Chi Minh City thus far, “Ho Chi Minh City was an obvious first choice for me because it felt very much like uncharted territory rife with opportunity. Vietnam is currently Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing economy, and behind the rapidly changing facades of Ho Chi Minh City is a flurry of innovative ideas driven to fruition by some of the world’s grittiest entrepreneurs. I expected a fulfilling learning experience in Vietnam, and I have not been disappointed.”