Steps to harmonize local and international students taken to new levels

On the auspicious 11th of November 2011, Temasek Polytechnic played host to the Spotlight Youth Exchange Night Race, the climax and ending to Spotlight Youth Exchange, an initiative to equip young Singaporeans with leadership skills and cultural sensitivity to build cross-cultural dialogues with youths of other nationalities in Singapore.

The race was kicked off at TP’s outdoor ampitheatre and saw participants engaging in different sports and educational activies at various cultural sites in Singapore. It ended with a night concert at Scape, spotting different local talents such as celebrities Sheikh Haikel, Anna Belle Francis, percussion band Comic Strip, DJ Rattle, breakdancers, magicians, and even lion dancers.

Guest-of-honour, Speaker of Parliament Mr Michael Palmer speaking to the crowd at the SYE Night Race concert
Photo: Syafiqah Abdul Hamid 

Speaker of Parliament Mr Michael Palmer was the guest-of-honour at the night festival. He said during an address to the participants and supporters in the crowd: “this is merely the start of something greater. Don’t lose these friendships you’ve created, for I’ve learnt that there will be moments in life where you will need to call on your friends and you can say hey, I’ve got a friend from China, or Myanmmar, or India, etc.”

“Awesome” was the best word participants Jane Teoh, Darren Chong and Adrian Ching from the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) could think of to best summarize their SYE experience.

“We certainly learnt a lot from this experience. The friendship we have with each other is definitey stronger now, and we will hold onto these relationships” Jane Teoh, who is also a Malaysian citizen explained.

The runner-up team taking a picture on stage with guest-of-honour MP Michael Palmer (first from right, 2nd row)
Photo: Syafiqah Abdul Hamid 

Kong Ling Jun, 18, a Chinese national from Chung Cheng High School (Main) and his team were the first runner-up for the race.

He described: “it was awesome, really fun and exciting. We were literally sprinting everywhere, even on the stairs and escalators in the MRT. The race has definitely taught me how to support and work with my teammates better, and even communication skills with other Singaporeans. One of the stations required us to find out where do muslims celebrate Hari Raya, and the passers-by around were all very friendly and helpful”.

Teams discussing upon receiving their first clue of the SYE Night Race
Photo: Syafiqah Abdul Hamid 

The event received positive feedback from both participants and even the guest-of-honour Mr Michael Palmer.

“I’m impressed really. I did not expect the event to be so exciting and of such a large scale. There is a very different atmosphere and to know that tonight is only the tail-end of the entire programme is impressive. You cannot go through 6-months together in a course and not truly form a bond with each other, and the beautiful thing is that it does not just stop here. These friendships will grow and spread, and that is what its all about” Mr Michael Palmer said.

Sheikh Haikel, accompanied by Singaporean performers, dancers, BBoys and wushu artistes
Photo: Syafiqah Abdul Hamid 

Over a span of five months, over 400 youths in groups consisting of both local and foreign students from various tertiary institutions in Singapore, underwent the SYE leadership development programme to become youth mentors.

Leadership and team building courses over the months taught youths valuable skills but more importantly, helped develop friendships among international and local students.

“As globalisation takes place and the world gets more connected, it is essential for our youths to have such skills so that they can build friendships without prejudice and have realistic expectations. In turn, our guests – students from overseas who study here, will also benefit from seeing the many facets of Singapore and Singaporeans” said Miss Mary Yeo, 26, a manager at LIFE! Community Development (LCD) and a organizer of SYE.

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About Damien Teo

I am a 3rd year student doing a diploma in Communications and Media Management in Temasek Polytechnic. This blog was created as part of an assignment in my course of study.

Posted on November 11, 2011, in News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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