Promoting Cross-Cultural Learning


Students from SUTD Holding up a Collage at the Hangzhou Hushu School Where They Completed Their Community Involvement Project

Since 2007, Temasek Foundation has been building bridges among students in Asia with its Leadership Enrichment and Regional Networking (LEaRN) Programme. This immersion programme aims to promote better cross-cultural understanding and develop global mindsets by fostering a deeper appreciation of other cultures, lifestyles and languages. Currently, the LEaRN programme partners with some of Asia’s major universities.

In Singapore, it collaborates with the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU). In May 2014, the programme welcomed a new partner, the Singapore University of Design and Technology (SUTD). For the very first time, students from Zhejiang University, China’s top design university, and students from SUTD were able to participate in the LEaRN programme that saw 20 students from each university swap places for a semester. As of today, more than 1000 students have taken part in Temasek Foundation’s LEaRN programme, and the plan is to continue to grow this successful initiative regionally.

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About LEaRN and Its Exchange Programme

The LEaRN semester-long student exchange programme consists of leadership development, community service-learning, and internships. Students also organise forums on youth empowerment, and on the political, cultural and economic diversity of Southeast Asia. The selection process is rigorous, and the participants’ community involvement outside of school is also taken into consideration. Besides enriching their skills and aptitude in personal leadership and community service, the programme enables students to deepen their appreciation of Asia’s diverse culture and socio-political landscape. Participants come from some of the top universities in the region: Peking University in China, Ateneo de Manila in the Philippines, Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia and Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, to name a few.

About What One Participant Had to Say

“Thanks to the LEaRN Programme, I was able to go through unique and different experiences that would not be possible under the regular school curriculum. During this trip, I obtained more knowledge surrounding the social aspects of China, especially after participating in the Community Involvement Programme organised by the course. The visits to a local children’s school with special needs and their community centre helped to shape my views on some of China’s social issues. It was a truly wonderful and enriching experience.” – Ms Seah Jia Neng, studying Architecture and Sustainable Design at SUTD – She did her community involvement project in Hangzhou, China for a period of three months.

Did you know…

Of the 34 universities in Singapore, six of which are national, two rank within the top 50 in the world. They are NUS and NTU, both offering courses in a wide range of subjects to their student population of over 30,000 each.