By Mariko Curran
I am an “exchange student”, but I am not an exchange student. This is effectively the truth. As part of the small breed of international non-graduating students whose home universities are not exchange partners with NUS — the rather ambiguously named “non-exchange students” — I am an English major graduating this year from The College of New Jersey, a small public liberal arts college in the United States. My experience here over the past four months has affirmed that I made the right choice in stepping outside the box to apply to NUS instead of pursuing an existing programme.
One of the reasons I wanted to study in Singapore was its growing influence in global business. As a Professional Writing minor at my home university, I have taken modules in journalism and writing for interactive and social media, among other things, and I was interested in taking a highly practical module at NUS in writing for business. NM3219 Writing for Communication Management caught my attention as a module that I wouldn’t want to miss, and fortunately, I was approved to read it.
As my first real exposure to public relations, NM3219 and its highly realistic assignments have piqued my interest in the field as a career option. While the research involved is rigorous, I found that I enjoyed building expertise on a particular company, industry, or issue and crafting strategic writing based on that – as my group and I did for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for our term project.
I also experienced firsthand the privileges and opportunities available to me as a student at NUS and in the CNM department in particular. During recess week, I participated in a Campus Programme session held by U.S.-based PR firm Waggener Edstrom especially for NM3219 students. At the session, I was able to learn how the course material took action in the real world and try my hand at the kind of brainstorming that drives PR campaigns. It was also interesting to see how a company based in my home country moulds itself in Singapore. (The employees there all said that the Singapore office was “the fun one”.)
Another indelible way CNM helped shape my Singapore experience: two of my 3219 group mates brought me out to Geylang to try the (in)famous durian, king of fruits. My verdict on the taste? As rich as my experience at NUS, or actually, maybe even a little richer – I could only eat two pieces.