Film-maker, enquiring mind, gung-ho — these are just some words to describe Mr Timothy Chua, a member of Yale-NUS College’s first graduating cohort.
The 27-year-old had a wide-ranging experience in university, from studying creative writing to working on a smart city tender proposal in China. A recipient of the Yale-NUS Faculty Scholarship, Mr Chua explored a smorgasbord of subjects before deciding to major in Urban Studies, which resulted in his current job as a planner with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
“My education at Yale-NUS let me explore my intellectual curiosity by studying fields like literature, history and science, which nurtured an appreciation of different ways of looking at the world,” he says.
As Mr Chua was initially unsure about what discipline he wanted to pursue, Yale-NUS’ liberal arts curriculum — in which students take a combination of core modules and electives before choosing a major at the end of their second year — appealed to him.
When he attended his admissions interview, he was surprised to find that he enjoyed it.
“The interview felt like a meaningful conversation about issues that I was interested in. I felt the College’s interest and sincerity in developing its students not only intellectually, but also professionally and socially,” he says.
In April 2013, he was elated when he was awarded not just a place at Yale-NUS, but the Yale-NUS Faculty Scholarship too. All applicants to Yale-NUS are automatically considered for this scholarship, which is merit-based and bond-free.
Expanding his horizons
Mr Chua’s boundless curiosity led him to study a wide variety of courses during his time in university, including history, computer science and creative writing.
“I appreciated that grades were not a major concern for most students in my batch. Rather, I felt that I could pursue my intellectual interests without worrying about how they would affect my grades,” he shares.
Mr Chua pursued learning opportunities not only within, but also beyond the classroom.
During his time at Yale-NUS, he completed multiple internships, including one with the URA in 2015 and with IBM China in 2016. During the latter, he contributed to a smart city tender proposal for a new growth area in southern China.
These internships confirmed his budding interest in urban studies, which ultimately led to his decision to major in it and to work at the URA after graduation.
Vibrant college life
But all work and no play makes for a dull life — and Mr Chua’s university life was far from that.
In 2013, he and a group of friends decided to enter a film-making contest, even though most of them had no prior experience with the process. Although they did not win, the experience was hugely enjoyable, and led to them forming Yale-NUS’ first film-making club, with Mr Chua as its president.
He continued to make and collaborate on short films throughout his time at university, one of which was featured at the Guam International Film Festival in 2015.
Throughout it all, his insatiable curiosity and can-do spirit has stood him in good stead.
He says: “I am immensely grateful for my time at Yale-NUS. The freedom to explore different subjects, and to pursue my own interests, has broadened my intellectual horizons and given me new perspectives that inform many facets of my life.”