SMU Postgraduate: Vibrant Opportunities Beyond the Books

By the SMU Digital Marketing team  

Imagine uprooting your life to pursue academic excellence in a foreign city, all while navigating a new culture. This is the reality for many international students in Singapore, who must balance their scholarly ambitions with adjusting to a vibrant, yet unfamiliar, milieu. 

To help its postgraduate students assimilate better into life in this cosmopolitan city, SMU offers an extensive array of events, offering a wealth of enriching opportunities beyond the classroom. From networking sessions to engaging co-curricular activities, SMU opens countless doors for them to lead vibrant and fulfilling lives as international postgraduate students. 

To delve deeper into these opportunities, we speak to Derick Du, an international student who has embarked on a Master of Professional Accounting (MPA) at SMU.  


Building a strong network

Among the many events Derick has attended since he joined SMU, he recalls a barbecue session held at Pasir Ris Park organised for the entire SMU Accounting Masters cohort. Although the event’s premise was simple, he fondly remembers it for the bonds forged and the opportunities to learn from peers outside of campus. 

Another initiative Derick wholeheartedly recommends is the SMU Pathfinders Programme – a student development scheme that aims to provide additional learning platforms and develop values-driven learners, authentic collaborators, and responsible global citizens. 

“I actively participate and engage with the Pathfinder,” Derick shares, explaining how the knowledgeable and spirited coaches make each session worthwhile. “There’s always something valuable to learn from each session, so I recommend that students actively participate in them. You won’t regret it!” 

SMU has also leveraged on its vast alumni network and partnered with the Singapore Mentorship Committee to nurture global-ready youths. Through various programmes and mentorship opportunities, such as the SMU Mentoring Navigator and SMC Youth Hiking Programme, SMU students have many opportunities to establish new connections with mentors and field experts. 


One of the co-curricular activities Derick (2nd row, 3rd from left) participated in was a coastal clean-up with SMU Verts

Derick (2nd row, 3rd from left in hat and sunglasses) took part in a coastal clean-up exercise with SMU Verts


Such unique activities have helped enrich Derick’s student life by allowing him to meet people from a wide range of backgrounds, and gain new insights in various settings. “I think it is crucial to get myself immersed in such opportunities offered by SMU to take advantage of its strong network,” says Derick. 


Cultural exploration and collaborative projects

SMU has also established an ecosystem through which students can enrich their campus life. Events organised by SMU International Connections (ICON), for example, showcase the cultures and talents present in the diverse student population. Derick particularly enjoys events organised by SMU Connect China, a cultural club dedicated to promoting Chinese culture. 

In addition to cultural clubs, SMU offers a variety of collaborative projects that enhance the student experience.  

Derick recounts a promotional video for SMU-X that he had enjoyed working on as part of its cast, sharing that Associate Professor of Accounting (Education) and Academic Director (SMU-X) Dr Yuanto Kusnadi went the extra mile to ensure a smooth experience for all participants. While participating in a video shoot was a first for many of the cast members, the group worked together to bring out the best of one another, making the shoot a joyful and interesting experience for all.  


A memorable project Derick (3rd row, extreme right) was involved in was a promotional video for SMU-X

Derick (3rd from right) participated in the production of a promotional video for SMU-X


As a Unibuddy student ambassador, Derick also actively engages with prospective students, offering them insights from his own SMU journey. He sees it as an efficient way to guide juniors who are just starting out, taking his turn to support them like how he was helped by his mentors previously. 

“[This] is a way to contribute back to SMU, by promoting a stronger reputation and brand for the University.” 


Engaging beyond the campus

Despite their rigorous academic commitments, Derick advises postgraduate students to explore their interests even beyond the SMU campus. For example, he actively volunteers with Youth Corps Singapore, a volunteer division under the National Youth Council that supports youths to ignite positive change in society through community service. 

Derick also volunteers with Team Nila, a movement spearheaded by SportSG. As part of the movement, Derick actively helps to coach individuals and groups in swimming and table tennis. 

These volunteer activities have enabled him to contribute to various communities since embarking on his postgraduate journey in Singapore, while allowing him to interact with others to better integrate and adapt to life here. 

“Making room for these extracurricular activities is never a waste of time as they refresh my mind and energise me, allowing me to perform more effectively in school.” 



Ready to take the next step in your academic journey? Learn more about the various postgraduate programmes at SMU