SINGAPORE: The National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) are looking to resume overseas student exchange programmes from January 2022.
Responding to queries, an NUS spokesperson said the university has been in discussion with its partner universities in 40 countries to resume its student exchange programme in January.
About 1,600 students have signed up for the programme, and the university has also started accepting applications from international students from partner universities, the spokesperson said.
“The commencement of these programmes will be subject to prevailing health and travel advisories,” the spokesperson said, adding that NUS will continue to offer online programmes with partner universities and remote overseas internships for students.
NUS is also resuming its NUS Overseas Colleges programme in Munich, New York, Silicon Valley, Stockholm and Toronto. The programme allows students to take up internships in technology-based start-ups overseas while attending classes in partner universities in those cities.
Eighty of the 151 students in the programme have signed up to travel to these locations from October to January 2022, said the NUS spokesperson.
Currently, these students have been placed in remote internships with start-ups from their preferred locations, and participated in online courses from partner universities there.
Students travelling for overseas programmes must be fully vaccinated, said the spokesperson. They must also complete a compulsory travel preparedness module, and will be briefed before going overseas.
Students will be covered under the NUS Student Travel Insurance Policy, which covers expenses for COVID-19 medical treatment, and NUS will “keep in regular contact” with them while they are overseas, the spokesperson added.
SMU students will only be allowed to travel for overseas programmes to countries that are “deemed safe” by the Ministry of Health, said the university’s spokesperson.
They will also need to be fully vaccinated before they are considered for the programme, and SMU will provide travel insurance coverage, the spokesperson added.
After “careful deliberation of the safety considerations” for the resumption of its international student exchange programme, SMU decided in August to resume the programme from Term 2 of this academic year, which starts in January 2022.
“The University’s International Office has been in touch with our network of partner universities to discuss and plan international student exchange programme details on a regular basis and is able to facilitate student exchanges when travel restrictions are lifted. We have subsequently informed our students of the lifting of travel restrictions,” the spokesperson said.
Of SMU’s partner universities, more than 80 per cent are open to accepting exchange students subject to local health and border control conditions, the spokesperson added.
The university has received about 800 applications for the exchange programme, said the SMU spokesperson.
“We are still in the process of receiving and assessing applications, as well as communicating with our partner universities to confirm the number of placements available,” the spokesperson said.
“We hope to place as many of them as possible in the programme, subject to prevailing health and border control conditions at the start of the semester.”
NTU is “looking into” resuming its overseas exchange programmes, said the university’s spokesperson.
“The university is monitoring the global situation and is planning appropriate measures in line with national guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of our students,” said the spokesperson.
“Apart from the academic requirements that students need to fulfil, they must also meet the immigration requirements and border measures set by both the Singapore government and their host countries.”
These requirements may include COVID-19 tests, vaccinations, insurance coverage and self-isolation requirements. The university’s virtual overseas programmes will also continue for this semester, and are “currently being reviewed” for the next, which starts in January 2022.
At the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), inbound and outbound overseas programmes are still being conducted virtually, said the university’s spokesperson.
However, SUSS is exploring starting overseas travel programmes from June 2022, with partner universities in the Greater China Region and Australia, the spokesperson added.
“Partnership discussions on overseas academic exchanges are still ongoing, with many partner universities in Asia Pacific remaining cautious on student mobility programmes.
“Beyond student vaccination, SUSS takes into consideration a range of other factors in assessing the resumption of our overseas programmes. This includes risk assessment of COVID-19 outbreaks in other countries, and entry and quarantine requirements.”
The Singapore University of Technology and Design is “still in the process” of finalising plans to resume international exchanges, said a spokesperson.
“Due to the volatile pandemic situation overseas, we will be taking a careful and calibrated approach by reviewing all our overseas programmes in detail before making a decision.”