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NUS – Numerous Opportunities, Tremendous Support

Kevin Chiam was awarded a scholarship that aims to ­develop him into a dynamic global leader.

Why did you choose the NUS Scholarship?
I chose to apply for the NUS Scholarship because I wish to be less reliant on my parents for my tertiary education. They have both spent a significant part of their lives working to provide education for me and my brother, and I wanted to lessen the financial burden. More importantly, the benefits of the scholarship will complement my current efforts to be self-sustainable as a young adult.

What was the selection process like?
Once the preliminary online application is completed, the next stage is a closed-door interview with the deanery and heads of departments. To be honest, the interview is not as daunting as it appears or is thought to be. Going in with an open mind helps a lot as it reduces the tension and pressure one tends to have in such a situation.

I was fortunate to be shortlisted for the second round of interviews. However, the thought of having to speak with the deans from the various schools and faculties in NUS was a little intimidating. While I cannot claim that I aced that interview, I believe keeping a calm ­composure and expressing yourself ­confidently is a fail-proof strategy in communicating your ideas to the ­interviewers well.

Why do you think you were awarded the scholarship, and what are the qualities a scholar should possess?
I believe that I was awarded the scholarship because I was enthusiastic and passionate about what I do – design. I’m sure my commitment and fervour in what I set out to accomplish was manifested clearly in the conversations.

While I am unable to offer ‘guidelines’, I consider perseverance, determination, patience and passion to be desirable qualities of a scholar as they help one to better cope with the multiple disciplines that we are exposed to in NUS.

What are the benefits of taking up the NUS Scholarship?
At this point, the NUS Scholarship has opened up many channels for me to explore the area of design. First and foremost, I am able to gain much needed exposure through the occasional programmes or dialogues that NUS offers to scholars.

NUS is also very supportive of external programmes that offer fresh new ­perspectives to my current study. Recently, I attended the Global Graduation Show in Dubai as an exhibitor. Without financial support in the form of the NUS Scholar Enrichment Grant which co-funds 50 percent of a scholar’s participation in enrichment programmes, this trip would have been ­financially demanding. I gained new insights to new methodologies adopted by overseas institutions, thus allowing me to view design and culture from a fresh and delightful perspective.

Needless to say, I also benefit greatly from the waiver of tuition fees that NUS offers to scholars as it eases the mental and physical load on me during the term. As I strive to be financially independent for my personal daily expenses, the aid from NUS allows me to devote more time to my studies, motivating me to further excel in my field.

How has your NUS experience been, and what voluntary activities have you participated in so far?
The journey thus far has been rewarding and humbling. What I truly like about NUS is how it offers a conducive environment for students to interact. For example, in design school, the studio setting ­promotes cohesion and opportunities for people to mingle and bond. From this, many valuable friendships are forged. This has helped to create many pleasant memories that I treasure dearly till today.

I also volunteered alongside fellow NUS friends at the St Andrew’s Nursing Home. While it was only a day long, it was an immensely satisfying experience to entertain the folks at the nursing home. A simple smile on their faces really warms the heart and this motivates me to go further with volunteer work. In fact, thanks to the initial push from NUS, I am now also a volunteer with Touch Home Care during semester breaks!

Kevin Chiam Yong Sheng
NUS Global Merit Scholarship
Age: 24
Now: Third year doing Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design
From: Temasek Polytechnic