Hi everyone!

Our purpose in writing this blog today is to share our experiences from the visit by our Chinese friends from both Chengdu and Guizhou to Singapore.

This visit is part of the Sino-Singapore Undergraduate Exchange(SSUE) Programme under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministries of Education of the People’s Republic of Singapore and the People’s Republic of China(PRC) on 29 May 2002. Under the memorandum signed, both parties agree to exchange up to 50 outstanding university students annually in the SSUE. The objectives are to strengthen bilateral ties between China and Singapore and to foster understanding, collaboration and bonding between our students and PRC students.

The SSUE officially started in 2004 and this would be the 13th year of the SSUE.

This year, from 17th to 31st July 2016, we were glad to host Chinese students from Sichuan University, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics(SWUFE) from Chengdu in Sichuan, Guizhou University and Guizhou Normal University.

As SUTD is the main host of the SSUE for Singapore this year, we were responsible for showing the PRC students around for the first 3 days of their visit to Singapore.

On our first day, we brought the PRC students to tour the Singapore Sports Hub in the afternoon, which was newly opened in 2014.

The visit to the Singapore Sports Hub included most noticeably, the Singapore Sports Museum, Singapore’s Indoor Sports Stadium, Singapore Sports Library and the OCBC Arena.

The most interesting place would definitely be the OCBC Arena for one who has never been there. The OCBC Arena has 6 state-of-the-art multi-purpose halls which include partitions that can either segregate the halls or merge them into one. Not only that, the multi-purpose halls include modular spectator stands that can be constructed easily which makes the multi-purpose halls suitable for national and international sporting events of differing scales and sizes. These multi-purpose halls are also available to the public for booking when unoccupied, at minimal fee for the public to enjoy, and also to maximise the use of the multi-purpose halls.

Of course, the visit to the Singapore Sports Hub would not be complete without the awe-inspiring view of the waterfront at the Singapore Sports Hub.

In the evening, we brought them to the Athlete’s Sports Village located in Nanyang Technological University(NTU) of Singapore, where the PRC students enjoyed the facilities provided to the ASEAN University Games athletes, and experienced what it feels like to be one of the athletes involved in the Games.

On the second day, the PRC students came to SUTD for a corporate visit to our school.

They were given a warm welcome speech and introduced to SUTD’s pedagogy by Dr. Yeo Kiat Seng, Associate Provost of the Office of Graduate Studies and International Relations in SUTD, and also Dr. Ong Eng Hong, Director of the Undergraduate Programme in the Office of Education in SUTD, who also acted as the head-of-delegation during our exchange trip to China.

After lunch in the afternoon, we brought the PRC students for a tour around the school to places like the ancient Chinese heritage buildings famously donated by Jackie Chan, and the school library, where we introduced to them the library facilities available for the student population.

We then held a design workshop for the PRC students as part of the introduction to SUTD’s pedagogy following the short school tour, which required the students to choose and construct a paper structure from the set of structures we provided, and see which team could take out the most percentage of mass from their paper structure by modifying the structure through cutting out certain parts of their structure, and have these structures still remain stable while standing, no matter the direction in which the structure stands, even after placing a bag of 1 kilogram of rice grain on their structures.

It was a highly fierce and intense competition, with the teams coming up with all sorts of creative solutions.

Every member in the winning team each won an SUTD ring printed from SUTD’s very own 3D printers.

At night, we brought the PRC students to observe the closing ceremony ASEAN University Games held for the athletes and volunteers that participated in the Games at the National University of Singapore, where they enjoyed multi-cultural performances and a concert by bands from different universities.

The highlight of the closing ceremony was undoubtedly the fireworks.

On the third and last day, the Ministry of Education brought the PRC students to visit the National Museum of Singapore in the morning, where they learnt about the past history of Singapore, including, but not limited to, the founding of Singapore, the World War 2 as experienced in Singapore, the Japanese Occupation, the events that led up to the Declaration of Independence by Singapore, and Singapore’s development for the past 50 years.

After the trip to the museum, the PRC students were brought to PeraMakan at the Keppel Club for a memorable lunch, a famous Peranakan restaurant, where they got to experience exotic dishes unique to the Peranakan culture.

Once lunch was over, we proceeded to the Singapore Discovery Centre which included a tour of the NDP exhibit and the Army Museum, where the PRC students gained further insight into local history and culture.

Everyone had a lot of fun trying out the Rifle Shooting Range at the Army Museum.

Lastly, we all had a delicious lunch at the Raffles Marina International Buffet which boasted a breathtaking view of our neighbouring country, Malaysia, across the sea, and the Tuas Highway spanning between Singapore and Malaysia.

During the dinner, we also hosted an impromptu entertainment session, in which students sang songs and danced.

It was with the utmost reluctance that we bid goodbye to the PRC students.

We hope everyone enjoyed reading the blog entry!

Yang Rui & Wei Lin

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