Evelyn Yeh, Summer Engineering Research in Singapore
Evelyn Yeh is a sophomore Biomedical Engineering major who spent the summer after her freshman year conducting Engineering research at the National University of Singapore via the SERIUS program. Evelyn was able to fund the experience through the Freeman-ASIA scholarship. Read about her experience below. Evelyn is pictured at the bottom at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, one of the many destinations to which she traveled during her summer in Singapore.
I studied abroad at the National University of Singapore under the SERIUS program during the summer of 2016. For my project, I helped work on the optimization of an in vitro flow loop system that studies the hemodynamic characteristics of the tricuspid valve. The results of the experiments will be used to evaluate a mechanical valve treatment for tricuspid regurgitation. I received the Freeman-ASIA scholarship to fund my trip abroad.
Since I was a freshman and many of the popular scholarships are restricted to upperclassmen, I had some trouble finding ways to fund a summer abroad. However, I found out about both the internship opportunity and the Freeman-ASIA scholarship from a friend who had also attended the program. The Freeman-ASIA program had just been relaunched the same year, so the process of applying and receiving the award was a bit bumpy, but there weren’t any major roadblocks. The toughest parts of the application included writing about why I wanted to study abroad, my background regarding Asian culture, and a proposal for the service project that I would complete the semester after I got back. Being able to clearly outline my interests and pinpoint why I wanted to go to Asia in particular were probably the most important factors in my receiving the scholarship. For the SERIUS program itself, the variety of research projects that are offered is vast, and applicants aren’t required to apply to one in their major. As with the scholarship, a clear, thought-out statement of purpose was probably the most substantial part of my application.
“The Freeman-ASIA scholarship is really the factor that enabled my studying abroad – it managed to account for the extremely expensive flights to Singapore and back, my housing at the university, and some of the expenses associated with living there.”
Evelyn Yeh, Class of 2019
The Freeman-ASIA scholarship is really the factor that enabled my studying abroad – it managed to account for the extremely expensive flights to Singapore and back, my housing at the university, and some of the expenses associated with living there. Thus, I had more leeway to book budget flights to other parts of the region on the weekends. Besides Singapore, which is already an incredible country to explore, I traveled to a total of eight cities in Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia during the eight weeks that I was there. This was definitely the most rewarding part of my trip, and it was easy to find people in the SERIUS program to travel with. Aside from how conveniently close the destinations were, lodging in hostels was unbelievably cheap and accessible. Unlike Europe, the food everywhere (including Singapore) was inexpensive – the most I would pay for a full meal was $4 (US dollars). It was an incredibly immersive experience living in the hearts of each country, and on the weekdays, I would return to Singapore to engage in research at one of the best engineering universities in the world. My project allowed to delve into a highly specific subject and gave me helpful insight into what I want to do in the future.
From barely knowing where Singapore was on the map a couple of months prior, I consciously plunged into the variety of cultures in the region and emerged with a deeper understanding of life in Southeast Asia, as well as the best time abroad I have ever had. All in all, I would highly recommend studying abroad – particularly in Singapore, but I believe it would be just as enriching an experience anywhere else. Besides great internship opportunities, the experience of living abroad and exploring a different part of the world is highly rewarding in ways that can’t be replicated by academia.