Students should seek chances to study abroad to widen horizons: Lawrence Wong
SINGAPORE – Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said he gave up his chance to pursue law at the National University of Singapore so that he could study in the United States.
His experiences abroad included busking with his American roommate while he was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Speaking on Saturday (Aug 6) at a virtual event titled “Singapore @ Home”, he added that Singaporeans should find chances to study overseas as students if possible.
Mr Wong, who participated in an “Ask Me Anything” segment via video call, answered questions from people tuning in to the show organised by Singapore Global Network. A division under the Economic Development Board, it aims to connect with Singaporeans overseas.
“When I was a young boy, I had never travelled further than Malaysia. I had not seen the world and anyone at that age wants to see the world… I applied for an overseas scholarship and thought that this is the chance of a lifetime,” said Mr Wong.
Having an opportunity to go abroad for a semester or a year as a student brings exposure that is tremendously useful, especially at a young age, he added, replying to Mr Noel Ng who returned from Australia in 2021.
Mr Ng, who is chief operating officer at a law firm here, asked Mr Wong if he had any regrets studying overseas and if he had any tips for Singaporeans studying abroad.
“You can make new friends, learn about new cultures and understand more about other countries to broaden your horizons,” Mr Wong said.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that it is the “shared humanity” of Singaporeans that binds them together, he added in response to Ms Rikhi Roy.
The systems safety engineer who is working in the US asked what Mr Wong’s vision for Singaporean communities – both at home and abroad – is as the world heals from the pandemic.
The global community is living in a world that is “increasingly uncertain, fractured, turbulent”, said Mr Wong. “We should hold on to that commonality and strengthen that sense of solidarity when dealing with any challenges that we face as the people of Singapore,” he added.
The show, spanning more than five hours, was hosted by actor and comedian Hossan Leong and actress Siti Khalijah,with live music performances by Taufik Batisah, Joanna Dong, Kartik Kuna, Annette Lee and Benjamin Kheng.
There were short films about Singaporeans who have ventured abroad to pursue their dreams and interactive games about Singapore trivia.