Communities and Engagement

Guiding International Students on a New Journey and Beginning

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6 September 2023

Starting a new chapter in university, let alone in a new country bounds to bring about a range of emotions. International students especially may feel nervous due to living abroad in a foreign land.

Understanding the need to build a community of support, the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) launched a You’ve Got a Friend in Me (YGAFIM) programme to reassure incoming international students that they will receive support on their journey.

The YGAFIM programme includes a series of activities designed to help incoming international students adapt to life at NUS before their first semester in the new academic year. Here are some highlights.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me programme helps international students to assimilate to life at NUS and in Singapore

OSA Live Show

OSA Live Show is a half-day information session dedicated to graduate students. This year’s edition held on 28 July at UTown marked a full return to an in-person format, which allowed participants to engage in face-to-face presentations, panel discussions and networking. The OSA Live Show imparted knowledge to international students as NUS student organisations and staff offered insights into vibrant student life, student wellness and career resources available to our incoming postgraduate students. Representatives from the Singapore Police Force, and National Crime Prevention Council shared valuable advice on the scams prevalent in Singapore and how to combat them.

ygafim23 (2)Sharing session by Roshan Shahid, President of NUS Graduate Society

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Scam and Crime Prevention advisory by Station Inspector Valent Hee, Singapore Police Force

The Live Show was followed by a networking session over light refreshments. It gave graduate students with an opportunity to interact with their newfound friends, and staff who will support them in their journey in NUS.  Amid the networking, students also took some time to capture memories with their friends at a photo booth.

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Networking over light refreshments

International Students Orientation

OSA also organised the first-ever “International Students Orientation” in August to give international students a platform to make new friends from around the world.  Dean of Students, A/Prof Ho Han Kiat, in his address, encouraged students to build their social networks and find trusted friends to accompany them on their journey. A/Prof Ho elaborated that having strong social support will help the students face challenges with more courage and optimism as there will be ups and downs with all learning journeys.

In total, we reached out to over 500 undergraduate and graduate students through four orientation sessions, each lasting two days.

On Day One of the Orientation, international students engaged in a series of lighthearted and fun friendship-building activities, both in and out of campus. They began their day on campus with team games such as Broken Telephone Line, Captains Ball, and Human Lines. These activities fostered teamwork and friendly competition among the teams. Students participated enthusiastically, filling the Multipurpose Sports Hall with laughter.

Students forming a human line of objects.

ygafim23 (6)Competing in a game of captain’s ball

Later in the day, students had the opportunity to explore the sights, sounds and smells of Singapore as they visited heritage places such as Chinatown and Arab Street via an immersive trail. They learnt interesting nuggets about the rich history and culture of the places they visited, and bonded over local food, which symbolised Singapore as a melting pot of heritage and influences.

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Students learnt interesting facts about heritage places such as Sri Mariamman Temple

Day Two of the Orientation consisted of a Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Workshop that equipped international students with inter-cultural sensitivities and awareness. This included an appreciation and understanding of their own cultural values, and that of those around them, and knowing how these values impact interpersonal relationships. Students walked away with a range of strategies to hone their CQ competencies which will stand the students in good stead as they work with project members from different nationalities and cultures throughout their time at NUS.

NUS hopes that our international students have enjoyed these activities as they assimilate into life at NUS and in Singapore.  Students can look forward to discover how student life is a part of a holistic education in NUS, and immerse themselves in a unique cultural exploration of Singapore which they can call home for the next few years.

Click the video below to relive highlights from the programme!

Keen to learn more? International Students can refer to useful resources on OSA website or connect with NUS staff here


Office of Student Affairs