University to launch study abroad program in Singapore

Horned Frogs are common in Fort Worth, but they’ve been known to migrate to places like France, Japan, Ecuador – and now Singapore.

Sonny Lim, the director of International Relations for Nanyang Technological University, visited campus Wednesday to finalize the exchange program agreement between the Singapore-based university and TCU, giving students interested in study abroad programs another opportunity to experience life outside Texas.

Although Nanyang Technological University was founded as an engineering school, it offers a well-rounded variety of schools and degree plans, including art, communication and business, said Jane Kucko, director of International Studies at TCU. This made Nanyang an ideal choice to partner with, she said, because students in any degree plan will be able to study there.

Also appealing is the fact that Nanyang is located in a primarily English-speaking city, Lim said.

“I think Singapore offers a unique opportunity in the sense that we teach in English,” Lim said. “We function in other languages socially … but we have a common connecting language in English. Singapore would be a unique study abroad opportunity because it is a soft landing – a very good landing – into studying abroad. It’s Asia 101.”

This is the first exchange program TCU will offer to Asia that will not require student competency in a foreign language, Kucko said.

Students have always had a wide selection of schools outside the country where they could study, but many of those opportunities are arranged through organizations like the Council on International Educational Exchange or IES Abroad, said Bonnie Melhart, associate provost of academic affairs.

Because this program is offered directly through TCU, and not through a third party, the cost of studying abroad in Nanyang will be significantly less than studying at campuses where TCU does not have a program, Kucko said. Kucko compared the cost of studying at Nanyang to the cost of living on campus at TCU.

“It’s a very affordable location,” Kucko said.

Although Nanyang is a primarily English-speaking school, Melhart said students studying there will still be able to immerse themselves in a truly international city.

Students will also get to learn what it’s like to study at a much larger institution. About 25,000 students are enrolled at Nanyang Technological University, Kucko said.

Besides culture and size, Nanyang will offer students the opportunity to study at a technologically advanced institution, Lim said. One feature Nanyang offers is automatic video recording of every class on campus, he said. Lim said if students miss class, they can simply watch it later on Nanyang’s intranet system.

TCU students will be able to study at Nanyang beginning in fall of 2009, and they may choose to stay for either a semester or a year, Kucko said. The program will be small at first, with only one or two students traveling for the first semester, she said.

Melhart said she hopes that in the future professors will also participate in the program.

Additionally, since this is an exchange program, Nanyang will be sending a similar number of students to Fort Worth beginning the same semester, Melhart said.

Nanyang, which translates to “South Seas” in Mandarin, Lim said, already has study abroad agreements with Cornell University, New York University, San Diego State University and many others.