World of Learning
Vanessa Wiseman, Teacher of High School English and Coordinator of Internship and World of Learning, East Campus
23 December 2020
Stepping stones to university and the world of work
“The most exciting part of it was there was a sense of independence. It was interesting to have a little glimpse at the future,” recalls Pranav, now Grade 12 when asked of his World of Learning experience. In the penultimate week before he graduated from Grade 10, the then-Foundation IB (FIB) student spent a week interning at Expat Living, a lifestyle magazine for those newly arrived in Singapore. Looking at his chosen university courses (history, politics, and international relations), this choice of internship may seem completely unrelated. And yet, he recalls it as an important experience that helped him in understanding what he wants for his future.
UWCSEA strives to offer an holistic education that goes beyond the classroom and the World of Learning programme designed for FIB students who join the College in Grade 10 is a key way we seek to prepare our students to thrive in their life beyond school. It is also an anchor connecting the Personal and Social Education programme with the work of the University Advising team, who support students in their university decisions and applications. The internships promote development of real-world skills that are relevant to their after-school pathways and choices—be it through university or beyond—either by giving them exposure to a particular industry or job, or through a greater understanding of transferable skills such as being part of a team, learning how to contribute in a work environment and how businesses operate.
Starting each November, FIB students are introduced to the programme and undergo a variety of skills development activities, covering topics including how to write a resume and cover letter, how to network to find a job, and trends in modern-day workplaces. Guest speakers from representatives across micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs and business, and government agencies such as the Singapore National Cooperative Federation. This dovetails with Careers Week, hosted by the Parents’ Association each January, which allows students to understand how employers recruit in different industry sectors.
It is the growth of each student that truly makes the programme, and the week-long internship, special.
At the start of the programme, Doris and Germaine felt extremely shy but quite determined to do something out of their comfort zone. They were accepted at Centre Stage School of the Arts and instead of becoming overawed at the idea of being part of a performance, they returned to school realising the important connection between their core interest in visual arts, and the performing arts as a sector.
Rhea’s experience at Precious Medical Centre is no different in that she realised that if she were to study biology, she would also need a keen understanding of chemistry to be successful in medicine.
One of the most heartwarming recollections of the FIB World of Learning experience is discovering their potential to influence a company’s culture as they bring their own values into the workplace. While Chloe was an intern at Grab, she saw some of the sustainability issues behind the delivery service—and proposed some changes that would not only protect the environment but could potentially increase their customer base to include environmentalists, such as her teachers and classmates.
Experiences vary in their lasting impact. While his work experience at MediaCorp allowed Tanuj an inside look at aspects of journalism that interest him the most, Anda’s week at Linksure provided a different perspective. While his natural inclination towards testing theories and forming hypotheses suits this type of data science field, the experience showed him that this may not be the line of work that he wishes to follow in future.
For many students, the FIB World of Learning programme is an important step in understanding their unique place in the world. As vacancies for graduates fall to one of the lowest levels in recent times and automation kicks in, opportunities for employment are becoming ever more competitive. The programme introduces the students to the arena, giving them experience that will help shape, grow and enhance their skills. Ultimately, the aim is to equip our students so that they come armed with a clear idea of their goals for the future and what they enjoy most as they take the next steps to university, and to the world of work.