Alumni from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have come together to set up a new bursary for FASStrack Asia: The Summer School, a programme which offers NUS and international students an enriching platform to explore their interests in Asian Studies and deepen their understanding of different Asian cultures.
A fundraising campaign championed by alumnus Mr Soh Yi Da has raised S$80,000 to date, with contributions from alumni, individual donors and foundations, to establish the FASStrack Asia Advancement Bursary Fund. Financially needy FASS undergraduates who enrol in FASSTrack Asia from next year will be able to apply for the bursary which will provide support of between S$250 to S$500 for a five- to nine-day overseas learning experience programme.
With Asia in the world’s spotlight as it undergoes rapid growth, FASStrack Asia, which started in 2013, taps into the faculty’s research strengths in the region and offers students an enriching knowledge and understanding of various Asian-related topics and issues. Taught over a five-week summer period, students take up courses focused on Asia, participate in active discussions in a dynamic and multi-cultural learning environment with international students from various universities from all over the world, and learn from academic experts specialising in their area of study. Students are also given opportunities to go on overseas field trips for a comprehensive learning experience and in-depth cultural immersion. To date, more than 760 students have participated in the programme.
Professor Robbie Goh, Dean, NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said, “As a large and comprehensive faculty, FASS is advancing research in a number of key areas, particularly in the study of Asia. Students benefit from such research produced by our faculty members and in the opportunities to travel to their areas of study in Asia.”
Prof Goh added, “I am heartened that our alumni recognise the importance of Asia and the value of experiential learning. On behalf of the faculty, I would like to thank Mr Soh Yi Da for taking the lead in garnering support from our alumni community in a fundraising drive for the FASStrack Asia Advancement Bursary Fund, as well as to donors, for their generous contributions towards the Bursary Fund.”
Driven by his own experiences during his time in FASS, Mr Soh Yi Da was inspired to champion this cause. He said, "During my university days, I had many opportunities to travel abroad for conferences made possible by generous support from grants by the University and external organisations, for which I am much grateful for. These experiences truly widened my horizons and were instrumental in shaping my worldview in my formative years. Being thankful for these opportunities has motivated me to pay it forward by championing this fundraiser to help future generations of students benefit from the exposure of overseas learning."
The Faculty held a Gala dinner on 27 September to thank alumni, individual donors and foundations for their generous contributions towards the FASStrack Asia Advancement Bursary Fund. The Gala dinner was attended by Guest-of-Honour Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Health.