How Can We Become Citizens of the World? Here Are 4 Ways.

By the SMU Social Media Team

Don’t just take our word for it. Even our leaders have been calling for Singaporeans to be more globally-oriented in order to thrive in a fast-changing world—in spite of an increasingly protectionist outlook among certain global economies.

Here are the four ways we can ramp up our status as true global citizens:


1. Transcend geographical constraints

As anyone who has made the trip from one end of our little red dot to the other has realised, Singapore is a pretty tiny island state. But that has not stopped us from becoming a global force. We should not aim to simply succeed at home, but, instead, should embrace every opportunity available to raise our awareness and understanding of different worlds and cultures—even if it means going outside our comfort zones.

As Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing explained in an interview with Channel NewsAsia, to excel and grow, we need to be prepared to prove ourselves overseas. He added, “That is a way for us to transcend our constraints as a small country, whereby we seize opportunities not just in Singapore but also beyond Singapore.”


2. Innovate for survival

Despite our modest size, Singapore has much to offer thanks to our location on the world map and multi-cultural society. We ought to leverage upon these factors to spot gaps and conceptualise unique offerings that have appeal beyond our shores. Above all, we need to innovate to remain relevant in a global economy.

“The main obstacle is ourselves—our organisation and all our entrenched processes, bureaucracy and a culture of being afraid to fail because all these years we have succeeded,” said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, at the 2017 Public Service Conference.

3. Networking globally for a competitive edge

Being a global citizen does not just involve studying textbook examples of international success stories. It involves continuous cultivation and interaction with other citizens of the world to learn how to engage, communicate and work with foreign counterparts. This provides the foundation for graduates to stand out in an ever-increasingly cutthroat work force.

SMU’s programmes are designed to equip students with a global mindset, such that they can contribute to a global economy. Students who join the university are required to participate in at least one overseas programme before they can graduate. From competitions and community involvement projects, to study missions and exchange programmes, students will find a variety of overseas activities to choose from. Aside from overseas trips, there are also many on-campus lectures and conferences where students can get the opportunity to hear from international thought leaders.


4. Create new opportunities

Playing it safe and staying within one’s comfort zone is no longer an option, in a challenging global environment. We need to seize the opportunity to enhance our skillsets and stay relevant in the world.

“By being innovative, bold and willing to change; by remaining open to the world, and deepening our knowledge of markets everywhere; our businesses and people can grasp the opportunities that this new environment offers, and Singapore can continue to prosper,” said the Committee on the Future Economy, a body co-chaired by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran.


To learn more about the global exposure opportunities in our undergraduate programme, visit