Seizing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

BSc Economics and Finance student Raphael Ng found LSE's Summer School offered an inspiring three weeks of new learning, networks and cultures
BSc Economics and Finance student, Raphael Ng
"We should take a leap of faith every now and then": Raphael Ng
We were regularly encouraged to go beyond the textbooks to reflect on how the lessons we learnt in class connects/applies to the modern world, making the course much more relevant in today’s context

So, the day came, I readied my backpack and left for the airport to begin my three-week long LSE Summer School course on Political Theory. I never expected to be able to attend a summer programme just after my first year of study at SIM, at one of the most exciting and equally expensive cities in the world, London! Thanks to the scholarship provided by SIM and LSE, I was able to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Being a city campus, LSE is minutes away from the London’s financial district and and the renowned West End. This unique position makes studying at LSE much more interesting and invigorating. Sometimes, one can easily get distracted from the course’s demanding schedule. I have found that proper balancing of study and leisure is paramount to doing well in the programme and, thankfully, I managed to squeeze in plenty of leisure hours despite my short stay in London.

Do not let the short duration of the programme fool you. As forewarned by Professor Michael Cox, Academic Director of the LSE Summer School, the courses follow the standard LSE modules closely, and with the same intensity. Extensive materials are covered in an incredibly short span of three weeks. With a few thousand students enrolled for this year’s Summer School, it is no surprise that Professor Cox referred to the Summer School as LSE’s ‘fifth term’.

"The opportunity to meet and interact with such a wide-ranging group of international students allowed me to have a more globalised and balanced view of the world."

2014 LSE Summer SchoolFor me, the highlight of the course was definitely the tutorials. These sessions are made up of a more focused and tightly-knit group of students, in stark contrast to the intensive lectures which sometimes can be very dense in content and theories.

There were constant debates and exchanges of thoughts and opinions during all 12 tutorials. These dynamic discussions pushed me to structure and articulate my thoughts clearly, while reinforcing what I had learnt in the lectures. We were regularly encouraged to go beyond the textbooks to reflect on how the lessons we learnt in class connects/applies to the modern world, making the course much more relevant in today’s context.

Meeting people from all parts of the world was another major highlight of the programme. The prestigious LSE Summer School attracts both undergraduates and postgraduates from renowned universities all over the world. The programme provided me with a unique platform to meet people of different nationalities. Through interacting and mingling with the international crowd, I picked up snippets of their distinctive cultures, heard first-hand accounts of their nation’s state of affairs and learnt more from their own unique experiences. The opportunity to meet and interact with such a wide-ranging group of international students allowed me to have a more globalised and balanced view of the world, and that contributed to giving me a truly global education.

"My experience at the LSE Summer School has inspired me to be more involved in SIM’s student life culture, to participate and be active in my own learning, and to do away with the ‘what ifs’ and embrace the ‘why nots’."

The Political Theory module I took also played a huge role in aiding me to secure a place in the 2015 SIM GE Model United Nations training team. I am excited that, almost immediately, I am able to put to use what I have learnt at the LSE Summer School to analyse and comment on the state of modern international relations and politics. Life is remarkably unpredictable and there is no knowing what each decision we make will lead us to. That is why I believe we should take a leap of faith every now and then, as we will never know where we will end up with the decisions we make.

Undoubtedly, there is always this thought in every undergraduate’s mind: What can I do to make myself stand out from the crowd? For me, the LSE Summer School programme will always be one of the pinnacles of my years at SIM. It exposed me to new approaches in learning, opened up networks that I would not have been able to gain otherwise, and motivated me to seek more exciting and enriching programmes during my remaining years of study at SIM. My experience at the LSE Summer School has inspired me to be more involved in SIM’s student life culture, to participate and be active in my own learning, and to do away with the ‘what ifs’ and embrace the ‘why nots’.