As a Yale-NUS student, you have many opportunities to study another language abroad. Our Centre for International and Professional Experience (CIPE) manages these programmes:
For information on Semester Abroad Programmes, visit CIPE's website and contact the relevant CIPE advisor.
During the summer of 2017, I flew to Ecuador to learn Spanish under the Santander International Experience Scholarship. I can definitely say that my Spanish has improved as a result of the program. When I first landed in Quito, I was unable to reply to my taxi driver since I did not know sufficient grammar. By the end of the fourth week, I was able to have a proper conversation with people on the street and discuss politics with my host family. This program has given me the chance to examine South American culture from the Ecuadorian perspective – an opportunity I am very lucky to have had.
Literature has the ability to help people from different cultures, even those once traditionally enemies, connect and see one another’s humanity. Even though writer Isabel Allende lived in exile, she continued to fight oppression from gender discrimination with the unwavering courage I admire so much from Korean poets during the eras of Japanese colonialism and Korean military dictatorship.
Studying Spanish abroad will help me find my place as a humanist in this world. As a writer, I hope to write eloquently about a broad range of topics to serve as a bridge between disciplines, modes of thought, cultures and peoples. Through taking a Spanish language course and a Spanish literature course in Madrid, I will build essential reading and writing skills and gain deeper understanding in Spanish literature and culture while participating in intellectual discussions with students and professors from diverse backgrounds. With Spanish Language in Context and Cultural Myths and Spanish Literature as a solid base to my education and with experiences such as homestay, cooking and dancing, and field trips to places in Madrid, Rascafría, Segovia, and Valencia, I will be able to work towards my goals of becoming a writer and giving minorities a voice.
While teaching at a Mongolian international school, I realised it was not just foreign languages I was teaching to these students, but the power to stand up for themselves in a discriminatory world. The program will motivate me to carry on with my projects like creating study materials and curricula in multiple languages for the Korean citizenship test. Staying with a host family will encourage me to build friendships with individuals who are completely different from anyone I have met before, which will help me understand their perspectives of the world.
As someone who has learned Spanish as a third language, I understand the struggles of learning a new language. At Yale-NUS, I hope to help students who are starting to learn Spanish through peer tutoring, while contributing to colourful discussions during Spanish language table, the course Advanced Spanish: Spain, a Mosaic of Cultures, and beyond. The opportunity given to me by CIPE and the Banco Santander has allowed me to delve deeper into Spanish culture and for that I’m very grateful.
In the summer of 2017 (Israel’s Year of Jubilee), I am embarking on an intensive programme to learn Biblical Hebrew. Hebrew is one of the oldest languages in the world and was miraculously revived in modern times amongst the Jews and Israelis. It is a beautiful language, rich in symbols and phonetics. Learning Hebrew allows me to delve into biblical studies and unearth hidden meanings via close reading and analysis of the Hebrew words. In fact, we use the Hebrew Bible as our textbook during lessons. I am continuously amazed at the treasures we discover as we take apart the literature of the Bible and study it in detail!
Spending my sixth semester abroad in Freiburg was one of the best decisions I made. One of my main goals was to immerse myself in the language and to improve in it. It was tough – some days I felt like I was improving, and other days like I had made no progress whatsoever. But it was a good kind of challenge. Despite the bad days, I knew I was improving little by little. Learning the language in the formal setting of a classroom is entirely different from speaking it with locals and friends. There are expressions and nuances which you wouldn’t get to learn otherwise. I soon realised that I could understand a church sermon with ease, and spend an entire meal speaking in German comfortably. Besides the language, I gained many insights into German culture, habits, etiquette and ways of thinking. Some certainly struck me as odd and different, but these only helped me to recalibrate my worldview to be that much more open and accommodating.