The Pandemic Pivot: International Programming at Yale-NUS College During COVID-19 and Beyond

By now, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted just about every aspect of our lives, and international education is certainly no exception. Since its founding, Yale-NUS College has prioritized global engagement, building an internationally-focused curriculum, highly diverse student body, and placing a significant emphasis on international opportunities for students. We are now forced to rethink much of our work, and reconsider how to support student learning during this era of limited to no international travel. We have welcomed Singaporean “exchange” students from our partner institutions abroad, reconfigured experiential programming that used to take place abroad for the Singapore context, and shifted more of our partnership development efforts to Asia Pacific. We have also worked with students to help them secure meaningful learning opportunities locally, deepening our connections to the community here in Singapore. While we look forward to more global student mobility when it is once again feasible, we’re also seeing that we may want to make some of these changes permanent. In this session, I hope to explore some of the potential silver linings of Yale-NUS College’s “pandemic pivot.”

Lindsay Allen is the inaugural head of exchange and study abroad at Yale-NUS College, Singapore’s first liberal arts college founded in 2011 through a partnership between Yale University and the National University of Singapore. She holds a BA in Asian Studies from the University of Michigan, an MA in Translation from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and is pursuing a second MA in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute. She has presented at global conferences including APAIE, EAIE, and NAFSA on topics including large-scale global partnerships, connections between study abroad and careers, and faculty engagement in study abroad.