US opens first education centre in Singapore to promote its universities

US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Rafik Mansour at the EducationUSA Advising Centre's opening on Nov 19, 2021. PHOTO: US EMBASSY SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - People curious about studying in the United States can now get free help with application procedures and other details at a new education centre in Yishun.

Located inside international school XCL World Academy in Yishun Street 42, Singapore's first EducationUSA Advising Centre offers individuals and school counsellors information about US universities.

EducationUSA is a global network supported by the US Department of State.

The centre was officially opened by US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Rafik Mansour, XCL Education chief executive Brian Rogove and American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore CEO Hsien-Hsien Lei on Friday (Nov 19).

Mr Mansour said the US remains open to international students, despite the global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on international educational exchange and student mobility.

"We're committed to assisting international students gain new perspectives in global classrooms, learn how to adapt to unfamiliar circumstances, work with diverse peers, and communicate across cultures and languages," he said.

"Building life-long connections also creates a platform for future leaders to work together to solve the world's toughest challenges. This centre is here to help people have those experiences and build those life-long friendships."

Sessions with a centre adviser can be booked online here, and individuals can get information on the necessary steps, including details on the examinations they need to take and how to write an American college application essay.

EducationUSA adviser Olivia Ding, a Singaporean who went to university in the US, said the cost of higher education in the US is a major stumbling block for many people here.

She told The Straits Times: "There are actually other options available that I'd like to let students know about.

"Aside from scholarships to four-year universities, there are also two+two options where students can go to community colleges for two years before transferring to a four-year school to finish their degrees."

Community colleges in the US are much cheaper than their four-year counterparts, and offer associate degrees whose credits can usually be used for bachelor's qualifications at other institutions, she added.

Ms Ding said: "We're located in Yishun in the heartland of Singapore, and we're hoping to reach out to anybody who is interested."

Almost 3,600 Singaporeans are studying at US universities, with more than 33,000 having gone there since 2009.

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