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ASEAN Experiential Learning Programme 2023: Transforming our Nation through Technology

SUSS Student Leaders Rajiv Java S/O Vijaykumar from SUSS' Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degree programme and Chung Wei Tat from SUSS' Bachelor of Science in Finance degree programme joined the recent ASEAN Experiential Learning Programme (AELP) 2023 that took place in Singapore from 18th to 24th June where they gain invaluable knowledge and forged new relationships with fellow participants from the region.

As part of the 'Smart Nation: Transforming our Nation through Technology' theme, a total of 40 students from 22 universities across ASEAN embarked on a journey to explore the concept of 'Smart Nation', which refers to harnessing technology for transformation in the way we work, live and play. Initiated by the AUN Student Affairs Network (AUN-SAN) in 2017, this programme aims to provide a platform for undergraduates to engage with experts, learn from site visits, and develop solutions to regional issues.

During AELP 2023, students focused on challenges faced by modern societies, such as urban density, waste management, energy consumption, environmental change, and digital transformation. They explored these challenges through the four main pillars of township planning, transport, healthcare (including the response to Covid-19) and creating a digital-ready society.

Wei Tat (standing second from the right) and his team at the AELP opening ceremony

The programme encompassed four essential components to enhance the students’ learning experience. Firstly, students conducted pre-activity research to identify relevant issues and existing initiatives in their assigned case studies, which they then shared with their group mates. Following this, students embarked on experiential visits, immersing themselves in real-world scenarios to learn about the innovative applications of various solutions while interacting with subject matter experts. Once these visits concluded, the students actively participated in application activities, employing the solutions they had acquired to address their respective case studies. Finally, the programme culminated in a final presentation, where students showcased their own solutions to the case studies in consideration of the specific contexts and trade-offs involved. 

Student participants at HDB LIVINGSPACE, an exhibition organised by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) of Singapore, to explore the integration of technology in township planning

We would like to congratulate Rajiv and his group mates for clinching the Best Presentation Award during their final presentation. In addition, they were also given individual recommendation letters by Dr Choltis Dhirathiti, Executive Director of the ASEAN University Network (AUN), where Rajiv was also commended for displaying exceptional analytical, organisational, and leadership qualities during the programme.

Rajiv (third from left) and his group mates in a congratulatory photo for clinching the Best Presentation Award

Student leader Rajiv recounted his fruitful experience and the significance of this programme, "AELP was a meaningful opportunity to represent SUSS and to network and form bonds with like-minded friends from around the region. Even as a Singaporean, I learnt a lot about Singapore's Smart Nation Initiatives as our country moves towards a more digitalised future, and the various ways that technology is being leveraged to provide solutions. I also thoroughly enjoyed the multicultural environment that I was able to immerse myself in during AELP, through interactions that led to my increased appreciation of Southeast Asia's vibrant diversity."

Wei Tat echoed Rajiv’s sentiments and expressed his appreciation for the opportunity given, “AELP offered ASEAN students a valuable opportunity to gain insights into the workings of Singapore's statutory boards. Even as a Singaporean, I found this experience to be enlightening. The knowledge acquired through the programme was truly invaluable. Additionally, the programme provided a wonderful platform to explore the diverse cultures within the region and forge new friendships.”

Overall, AELP 2023 provided a platform for ASEAN students to explore the concept of 'Smart Nation' and empower them to develop innovative solutions using the latest digital technologies to address the challenges faced in their respective countries. This programme stands as a testament to the region's collective drive towards a tech-enabled future, where innovation and collaboration pave the way for progress.

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