Earlier this summer, Sarah Siaw, Howard Chiu and WQ spent ten weeks in Uganda and Kenya on one of the programmes offered at Oxford - Education Partnerships Africa. They share their experiences below:
Following on the heels of our Freshers’ Tea 2013, OUMSSA members got together once again for the annual chalet at Pasir Ris Home Team. While the chalet has traditionally been for incoming freshers to get to know one another better, this year’s event saw an impressive turn-out from the second and third years.
The chalet featured a game show theme where participants were randomly thrown into groups (named lovingly after ‘English’ food- Eton Mess, Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, Hassan’s Kebab, Mushy Peas and the world-renowned Tesco Meal Deal) and pitted against one another in epic battles of wit/creativity/dance moves/thickskinness.
The grand finale of the chalet took after popular Chinese dating show 非诚勿扰 (which literally means “not sincere don’t bother” though a quick entry into Google translate gives us “You Are The One”..), where groups sent forth one male human sacrifice each who had to display their various talents (cartwheels and calf-flexing were very well received) and had to be subjected to the grueling questions of a panel of 9 ‘single ladies’ (half of whom were not in fact single). While this might or might not have been a discreet attempt to get sponsorship from SDU, we gladly conclude that no hearts were broken in the process.
All in all, the chalet was a huge success, and all of us walked away with many stories to tell and many new friendships forged! Look out for the complete collection of photos coming soon on Facebook (:
The way I discovered the Sommerhochschule was pretty unimpressive - Googled 'summer schools in Europe' and ended up with this, which seemed to perfectly fit into my calendar. But when the organisers knew me by name the moment I walked into the campus, I knew that this was going to be a very special experience.
The Sommerhochschule is organized by the University of Vienna, offering courses in European studies and the German language. However, the programme itself was not held in Vienna, but Strobl, a village just off Salzburg, and next to the Wolfgangsee.
Freshers’ Tea, our first OUMSSA event of the summer, was a boisterous affair held on 17 August at The Florida’s function room. The 75-strong turnout proved a tad too crowded for the room’s official capacity of 50 people, so some resorted to socializing outdoors, notwithstanding the heavy showers that afternoon.
So I applied to summer school at Yale, “Sustainability and Institutions”, from 1 July to National Day, thinking it'll be a nice but typical course about environmentalism. I was quite wrong, but pleasantly so! I learnt a new way of framing problems, which I think is more valuable than gaining content knowledge. Also, I made many awesome friends from 8 countries, and improved my Chinese (not kidding).
A small aside to plug for the International Alliance of Research Universities Global Summer Program: it was the program through which I applied to Yale, and it's awesome. It's more selective than a typical summer school, but it's subsidised by half so you end up paying only about $3,500. It brings together students from 10 universities across 8 countries, so there's a lot of diversity in class! Applying to any of its programs in any of the 10 universities is fine, but Yale's sustainability course was really nice (: The down side is you have no flexibility with regard to course options (you can only take one, no additional courses allowed); the upside is you save on costs (which come up to near $10,000 if you do 2 course in the regular summer session) and you get a lot of free time to chill or do other cool things.