Summer Study Abroad

Chinese Language Scholarship funded by Tan Chin Tuan Foundation


Tan Sri Tan was an active champion and generous supporter of education. To this day, this emphasis lives on in the work of the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation. Through the decades of its illustrious history, the Foundation has given regularly and generously to numerous schools, research centres and institutes of higher learning both within and beyond Singapore. In continuation of its enthusiastic support of education, and reflecting Tan Sri Tan’s leadership among the overseas Chinese of Singapore, the Foundation made a generous gift to Yale-NUS to support the advancement of Chinese studies and sinological work at the College in 2012. In addition to the establishment of the Tan Chin Tuan Professorship in Chinese Studies and the Tan Chin Tuan Chinese Culture & Civilisation Programme, the endowment supports Yale-NUS students’ study of the Chinese language. Scholarships are available at SGD 8,500 per student.


“The limits of my language,” writes Ludwig Wittgenstein, “mean the limits of my world.” Because the worlds we inhabit (and can speak of) are indeed bounded by the languages we know, and because a liberal arts education aims to cultivate global leaders, leading scholars and responsible citizens capable of moving nimbly between diverse worlds, Yale-NUS strives to be a place where the study of foreign languages is vigorously encouraged and supported.

Embodying Yale’s and NUS’s long history of engagement with China, and as a liberal arts college whose student population includes many diasporic Singaporean Chinese and international students with strong interests in China, Yale-NUS College is uniquely poised for the education of tomorrow’s leaders in myriad China-related fields, whether in the arts and humanities, in science and technology, or in trade and commerce. To this end, robust training in Chinese language is crucial. The Scholarship focuses on funding students on full-immersion language programmes over the summer. Scholarships which can cover the cost of tuition and accommodation will be awarded to successful applicants.


In order to receive the scholarship, students must apply directly – and gain admission – to one of the following seven sites approved by Yale-NUS faculty and administrators:

*From Summer 2016 onwards, credit conversion for the above programmes are pegged to language courses which are worth 5 Yale-NUS MCs each. For/before Summer 2015, the credit conversion was pegged to language courses which were worth 4 Yale-NUS MCs each. The policy is final and all credit transfer have been processed accordingly.

In this list, only Notre Dame’s Beijing Global Gateway, CET Beijing and ICLP offer beginning or advanced beginning level instruction; the rest require either at least one or two years’ worth of college-level instruction.

Click Chinese-Language-Scholarship-TCT-Approved-Programs-2018 for a table listing the approved programmes and their individual durations, locations, and distinctive features.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Full-time enrolled Yale-NUS students in good academic and disciplinary standing are eligible to apply for these scholarships. Successful applicants will demonstrate the following in a 300-400 word essay:

  • How and why the chosen programme fits into their academic, professional, or personal development
  • Clear rationale for why they must pursue the course abroad instead of at Yale-NUS
  • Plan to carry learning forward through further study or application of skills/knowledge gained
  • Ability to serve as a good ambassador for Yale-NUS College; adaptability, flexibility
  • Intent to bring learning back to Yale-NUS College and share with the community
  • Essays must be clear, well-written, and grammatically correct

*New* Writing Resource

Wondering what the review committee is looking for in an application? Check out our Summer scholarship application tips. It has the essence of what we share with students in advising sessions.

Timeline and Process

  • Oct 2018: Applications available from CIPE
  • 21 Nov 2018: Application deadline (5pm)
  • Late Nov – Early Dec: Committee meets to select recipients; finalists may be interviewed
  • Mid Dec: Applicants notified of decisions; recipients have a week to confirm acceptance of the Scholarship.
  • Mid Jan – Late Mar, 2019: Individual programme deadlines and admissions decisions made; Scholarship recipients to notify CIPE once they decide which programme to attend
  • Mar – May: Individual programme deposits and tuition payments due
  • Late Apr: Scholarship recipients to attend all mandatory CIPE Summer Orientation sessions
  • May – Aug: Summer programmes in session
  • 12 Aug 2019: First day of classes for Year 2-4


Click Here to Apply Now

** If you are experiencing difficulties accessing the online application, please email Lindsay ALLEN ( with the subject line Online Application – Chinese Language Scholarship.

Acceptance into this scholarship is conditional upon your participation in a 2-day Pre-Departure Orientation in end April and submission of reflections post-summer.


Can I apply to the Tan Chin Tuan Scholarship if I’ve never studied Chinese before?

Yes. The Scholarship aims to encourage the study of Chinese at all levels, whether beginner, intermediate or advanced.

What will the Scholarship cover?

It will cover most of the costs for tuition and accommodation but students have to top up for any shortfall. In addition, students should still plan to budget enough to cover flight, food and personal expenses, e.g. books, local transport, leisure, etc.

Which summer programmes are most suitable for me?

If you expect to be taking beginning or advanced beginning (i.e. with one semester’s worth of instruction) during the summer, you should apply to CET Beijing and/or ICLP. The rest of the approved programmes on the list cater to intermediate and advanced levels.

If you’ve studied Chinese through the Singapore school system, HBA, PiB, ICLP, and IUP are more suitable. You will most probably place into the 4th or 5th year level at these programmes. Further, at ICLP and IUP, you will have the opportunity to tailor individual tutorials to your specific interests and proficiency.

Who should I approach when applying to the individual summer programmes which require recommendation letters?

If you have taken Chinese at Yale-NUS or the NUS Centre for Language Studies, you should ask your teacher for a recommendation. If you have undertaken Chinese study prior to Yale-NUS, a recommendation from your former teacher would be ideal. If you are unable to get in touch with your Chinese teacher, or if you have never studied Chinese before, a recommendation from a faculty member who can attest to your abilities and aptitudes will suffice.

For tips on how to request a letter of recommendation, click here.

Should I apply to the Scholarship first? When should I apply to the individual summer programmes?

If you are intent on and able to attend a summer programme regardless of whether or not you receive the Scholarship, please go ahead and complete and submit your applications to summer programmes as soon as possible, ahead of the individual deadlines.

If you will only be able to attend a summer programme on the condition that you receive the Scholarship, then in courteous consideration of your recommenders’ busy schedules, you ought to wait till you receive notification of decisions (early-mid Dec) before you definitively inform them of your need for a recommendation. At this juncture, to give them ample time (especially if you are applying to HBA, whose deadline is mid-January), please make sure to contact your recommender at least several weeks before the programme deadline.

What are the transcript requirements for the summer programme applications?

Some programmes (e.g. CET) require an official transcript mailed directly to them from the College. Others (e.g. HBA) require applicants to mail their transcripts together with other supporting documents (e.g. recommendations, passport copy, etc) to their office. Yet others (e.g. PiB) require a scan of an official transcript uploaded onto the online application. Please familiarise yourself with the requirements of the individual programmes that you want to apply to.

I am a first-year student, and I will not be receiving letter grades for my performance in Semester 1. Will that be an issue when applying to summer programmes? Can I submit my high school grades as well if I want to distinguish myself?

In most cases, your recommendation letter will give the summer programme admission committees a good idea of your abilities and aptitudes. In some cases (e.g. for HBA) you will need to provide, in lieu of a transcript without letter grades, a separate, sealed recommendation from your academic adviser or the equivalent. And most for programmes (e..g. for ICLP), you are welcome to submit high school grades if you believe that will give them a fuller picture. Please contact the individual summer programmes directly to check.

If you have questions unanswered above, or if you’d like to discuss study plans and suitable programmes, feel free to email Wai Yee at

Have Questions?
Leong Wai Yee
Programme Manager, International Programmes

Contact with questions about study abroad programmes.