CAS '21 Jackie Shi

SA: National University of Singapore

Program Abroad:

  • Semester Abroad (SA): National University of Singapore, Singapore

Ask me about...

  • Due to Singapore's location in Southeast Asia, it made it very easy to travel to other countries. Even though my study abroad trip was cut short, I was able budget and visit five countries in the span of three months! My experience and abroad trips were heavily influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Other students can ask me about how I adapted to various travel restrictions and the resources I used while I was abroad. 

  • As an Asian-American student studying abroad in Singapore, one challenge I had to face was figuring out how my identity fit into an Asian country.

My Experience Abroad:

I'm a political science major in the College and one of the reasons I was compelled to study abroad was to learn about politics from another country's perspective. Most of the courses I took abroad were related to Singapore's government and politics. Singapore is a vastly different country compared to America and both have different forms of governance. The size of the entire country of Singapore is only about the size of New York City, and its population consists of 6 million people in comparison to America's 328 million. Taking classes abroad and learning about politics from a different perspective taught me that the world isn't as black and white as it seems, and I was encouraged to be open-minded when it comes to learning. I often found myself engaging in thought-provoking conversations with local students and my background as a political science major from America greatly shaped how I thought. For instance, they would claim that Singapore's structured and pragmatic approach to governance was beneficial for the country, but I argued that Singapore's paternalistic politics straddle on the verge of authoritarianism and could be considered an infringement on human rights and freedoms. On the other hand, it was fun hearing about Singaporeans' perspective on how dysfunctional American politics could be and seeing the Singaporean government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic made me admire how their government was much more efficient than America's.

Other Highlights:

  • Traveling throughout Singapore and visiting South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand

  • Being in Singapore during Chinese New Year and celebrating with other exchange students

  • Hiking up Mount Bromo in Indonesia at 3AM to watch the sunrise

  • Going to the top of Marina Bay Sands and seeing Singapore's skyline at night

  • Trying and indulging in lots and lots of Asian street food in the various countries I visited

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