Pioneer batch from NTU's linguistics and multilingual studies graduates
Sign language, Japanese and Hokkien are some of the languages and dialects which Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) valedictorian, Ms Velda Khoo, 24, has under her belt.
The linguistics and multilingual studies major, who graduated on Thursday from the pioneer batch of the degree programme, also won the Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award.
The award recognises the top one per cent of the graduating cohort who exhibit the potential to contribute to society.
"I've been teaching myself Japanese since I was 13 and have always been interested in languages," said the former Nanyang Polytechnic media studies and management student.
"The course was definitely a good one for me as it allowed me to further my interest and passion for linguistics and build upon what I picked up at my polytechnic."
NTU is the only institution in region to offer the degree which is designed to focus on the study of languages of multilingual individuals and societies.
Career opportunities for graduates include jobs in the teaching, publishing and communication industries.
About 50 students graduated from the programme on Thursday.
Ms Sim Ann, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Law who was the guest speaker at the convocation, told graduates from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences that their area of study prepares students in a variety of ways to contribute to society.
"As our world grows in complexity and inter-connectedness, new perspectives and attitudes which transcend narrow specialisation and conventional disciplines are required to navigate modern-day challenges and demands.
"In whatever field that you may choose to enter, this textured understanding of our world provided by the humanities and social sciences will help better serve the needs of our people and improve their lives."
Ms Sim leads the Bicultural Taskforce, which was formed in 2011 to engage the Chinese community in nurturing the next generation of bicultural talent, and promote a better appreciation of Chinese language, culture and values.