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Double act

Ms Agalia Tan is proof that you can have it all as a student at the Singapore Management University (SMU).

When the double-degree undergraduate and recipient of the SMU Global Impact Scholarship Award is not hitting the books, she is performing with SMU VOIX, the university a cappella group, chasing her childhood dream of being a singer.

“Not only did I make many close friends in VOIX, I was also able to do what I love — singing and performing,” the 20-year-old says.

Last year, the budding songstress even had the opportunity to be part of the group’s Do You A Cappella production at Gateway Theatre, where they performed for a 900-strong audience.

Ms Tan enrolled in SMU’s double degree in business and social sciences programme in 2017.

“I chose business as my primary degree because I believe it is highly versatile and can open up many doors for me, while social sciences can help broaden my perspectives of the world and introduce me to new ways of thinking and seeing issues,” she says.

The SMU Global Impact Scholarship Award has also led her to paths beyond Singapore.

With its Global Learning Opportunities Worldwide grant, she attended Pembroke-King’s Summer Programme at the University of Cambridge in England, and participated in a community service project in Vietnam in 2018.

She says: “The rigour and intensity of the six-week summer school programme stretched me intellectually, which I found important for my personal growth.

“It also broadened my horizons and inspired me to think more deeply about how I can contribute to Singapore in the future.”

Learning to serve
The community service project in Vietnam, Project Hua Tat, left the biggest impact on her. The team spent two weeks in Hua Tat, Moc Chau, where they taught English and installed water filters to improve water sanitation.

She recalls: “It was my first experience going abroad to do community service and living in an environment that was radically different from Singapore’s. It taught me that happiness can come from very simple things in life.”

For her future career plans, Ms Tan is considering a few sectors such as lifestyle business, hospitality, events management and tourism.

But right now, her sights are set on continuing to do community service projects in Vietnam.

“Since the experience was very enriching and meaningful, I have decided to go back again in May as a project leader, to contribute further and play a part in ensuring the sustainability of the project in the future years.”