Perceptions and makings of a Singaporean identity of NTU Singaporean students on overseas exchange programmes
Lek, Yan Ru
Date of Issue2016-03-14
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Building a Singaporean national identity is an important ongoing project for the government. Contrary to most existing research which studied national-identity-building from a state-centric perspective within a local context, this paper examines perceptions and national-identity-making processes of Singaporean NTU students during their overseas exchange programmes. 28 Chinese Singaporean NTU students, who went to United States of America (USA), Canada and South Korea for exchange, were interviewed in focus group or pairs. Their accounts reveal that they generally (i) enacted their Singaporean identity mainly to dissociate themselves from an ‘Other’ (Mainland Chinese), (ii) perceived Singaporean identity positively, and (iii) for some who went USA or Canada, they embraced the inability to identify fully with Asians and Westerners as part of a unique Singaporean identity. All in all, overseas exchange programmes facilitate students’ reflexivity concerning their national identities, and illuminate how national identities remain relevant, constructed and challenged in overseas contexts.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University