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September 2000, Vol. 3 No. 4 Print Ready ArticlePrint-Ready
Foreign Students in the Faculty of Business Administration
Associate Professor Tan Soo Jiuan
Sub-Dean & Exchange Coordinator
Ms Samantha Tay
Exchange Administrator
Faculty of Business Administration


The Faculty of Business Administration’s (FBA’s) first International Student Exchange Programme (SEP) was established in 1990. However, exchanges only commenced in 1993 when 9 students spent a semester abroad and 8 foreign students were hosted. Positive responses from early participants encouraged significant expansion in both the number of exchange partners and the numbers of students sent and hosted under the SEP.

By mid-2000, the FBA had established 45 student exchange agreements with universities in 19 countries. To date, we have received 494 students and sent away 414 students. For the July 2000 semester, we received 91 undergraduate and 32 postgraduate students from 25 countries.

What Foreign Students Can Expect at the FBA

At the FBA, foreign students are valued for their contributions to the diversity of the student body and in-class academic experience. To make the transition easier for foreign students, the FBA goes out of its way to ensure that they are well looked after before and after they have arrived at the Faculty.

Prior to their arrival in Singapore, foreign students are sent copies of relevant application forms for their studies, travel documents, housing, etc. Information on their programme of study, general background information on NUS, Singapore, and campus life, as well as travel information, are also provided.

To facilitate foreign students’ gathering of information about NUS and FBA, the relevant application forms and information are also available via the Faculty’s SEP website. The website serves as a one-stop information site containing data and links to course offerings, module outlines, academic calendar, and other information critical to their stay at the Faculty. The FBA also runs an ‘Airport Pickup Service’ for foreign students. Student representatives from the External Relations Committee of the BIZAD Club assist the Faculty in receiving foreign students who have requested to be met on arrival.

Upon arrival, an orientation programme is usually conducted for these students before the commencement of the semester. This programme focuses on introducing the campus and academic facilities, the programme of study, the basics of campus living, and the social side of campus life. At the FBA, the non-academic part of the orientation is organised and conducted by local FBA students.

Each foreign student is also assigned a ‘buddy’ who is a local FBA student who has participated in the SEP to the foreign student’s university or country. This buddy is required to set up initial contact with his/her assigned foreign student(s) by sending an introductory email to them before their arrival in Singapore. This will help to mitigate some of the possible anxiety the foreign student may have prior to arrival, and will also serve as a contact point from which he/she can solicit information from, especially regarding the social aspects of settling into Singapore. Buddies are requested to be present at the orientation briefing to meet up with their assigned foreign students to facilitate further communication and socialising.

Foreign students are not forgotten after the orientation period is over. Additional contacts with foreign students are maintained via a specially designated notice board and irregular informal gatherings, as well as through appointments with the FBA Exchange Coordinator and Exchange Administrator who are assigned to look after the foreign students. Thus throughout the semester, the FBA Exchange Office is always on hand to assist foreign students with curricular or administrative matters.

At the end of each semester, a Farewell-cum-Feedback tea session is normally held to allow foreign students a last chance to get together as a group and also to get any outstanding issues clarified. Feedback is also solicited to assist the FBA Exchange Office in refining operating procedures and practices.

Ensuring a Successful Exchange

The key concern of the FBA’s Exchange Office is that students, both local and foreign, must be able to gain from and enjoy the exchange experience. At the FBA, we try our best to help foreign students benefit from and value their SEP experience as much as possible, so that they will return home and speak well of the FBA and NUS. This will in turn open more doors for our local students to go overseas for exchange, arriving at a win-win situation.

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Inside this issue
International Students in NUS
Foreign Students in the Faculty of Business Administration
Managing Foreign Students: The Science Approach
The English Language & the NUS Foreign Student