Ms Rachel Yiek relishes the opportunity to get a truly international education without ever leaving Singapore
By Bryant Chan
Oct 20, 2021
When Ms Rachel Yiek was first choosing her university, travelling time was a big factor that influenced her decision.
Her polytechnic days had seen her travel over an hour across the island, from her home in the Paya Lebar area to the Ngee Ann Polytechnic campus in Clementi every day. She does not relish doing it again for the entirety of her university life. So the Singapore campus of James Cook University (JCU) was a natural choice for her, being less than half an hour away from her house.
But what she hadn’t expected was to find herself immersed in a wildly diverse international community.
Though JCU guidance counsellors had told her to look forward to meeting other students from all over the world, she hadn’t expected them to be such an integral part of her university experience.
The first-year student is particularly close with a group of friends from Myanmar, with whom she often discusses cultural differences, such as their struggles with getting used to Singlish – something that she had not even considered prior to enrolling in JCUS.
“As a local, I grew up with Singlish, and didn’t even know it was noticeable when we Singaporeans talked,” she says with a laugh. “Having friends from international backgrounds really helps to give you a different perspective.”
The diversity of the international community in JCU ended up enhancing her classroom experience greatly.
As a student enrolled in the Bachelor of Business majoring in International Business, a crucial part of Ms Yiek’s education is in Business Negotiation, where students learn to articulate themselves fluently.
JCU’s heavy emphasis on a hands-on education means a welcomed shift away from rote memorisation that Ms Yiek experienced throughout her primary and secondary education.
“Instead of just staring at books and screens trying to just memorise things, I get to put myself in my own shoes and think critically,” she says. “It’s not at all like other classes I’ve taken before.”
And having such a large variety of students from other countries makes the practical aspect of the class even more interesting, she says, noting that students often have different ways of approaching negotiation based on their cultural
“Finding out the best way to communicate with someone is a really interesting challenge,” she says.
The diversity of the student body may not have been the biggest factor in her decision to enroll in JCU, but it turned out to be the thing that she was most grateful for.
“Getting to meet a variety of people doesn’t mean only learning about their cultures,” she says. “Through them, you also get the chance to reflect on and understand your own values and experiences.”
Learn more about JCU’s Bachelor of Business programme at www.jcu.edu.sg/courses-and-study/courses/course/bachelor-of-business