Adventures of a Double Degree Student at NUS



Hi everyone! My name is Pricillia Sungarda, an Indonesian student currently studying in National University of Singapore and pursuing a double degree program (DDP) inEconomics and Business Administration along with USP. Yes, admittedly, my academic program might sound a little bit scary. In this post, I will tell you more about how I got into the program in the first place, if I still have any room for social life amidst overloading my semesters and just a glimpse into my life studying as an Indonesian student in Singapore 🙂


Me and my friends at CHIJ Toa Payoh

First off, I want to introduce myself a little bit more. I came to Singapore in Secondary 3 (equivalent to SMP3 in Indonesia) on the 4 years MOE-School based scholarship. I had the lovely opportunity to study in CHIJ Toa Payoh Secondary School, an all-girls Catholic Secondary School where I met many kind people who went on to become my best friends until this very day along with the most supportive and encouraging teachers! I continued my education at St Joseph’s Institution to pursue the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP), an internationally-recognised pre-university qualification certificate. Overall, even though my 4 years of pre-university studies in Singapore have been nothing short of challenging, I have never regretted my decision to come to Singapore because of the immense fulfilment of the enriching educational experience, the lifelong friendships formed and the endless opportunities offered.

University: Economics and Business Double Degree at NUS So, moving on to university life

I think something everyone should be interested in is how I was offered a place in NUS and USP. (which I will explain later on in this post) Many of you should probably have heard of the fully-funded ASEAN Scholarship that is offered to Indonesian students intending to pursue undergraduate studies in the local autonomous universities in Singapore (NUS, NTU, SMU, SUTD). Thankfully, I received the scholarship without taking the Admission Test as the IB was one of the qualifications recognised by NUS (Do check out more information about this) Now that the nitty-gritty details are (hopefully) out of the way, finally I can talk about some of the more exciting aspects of studying in NUS! First, I’ll start off with talking a bit more about my academic program.


I’ve always been passionate about economics and its key players in Singapore

Being under a DDP allow me to graduate with two degrees–one in BSocSci for Economics and one in BBA for Business Administration for a maximum candidature period of 5 years. I took up this program because I love economics – but at the same time felt that studying in business school acts as a vehicle to develop my soft skills and practically apply theoretical Economics knowledge. My two degrees complement each other so well such that sometimes in my business modules, I feel like I can read between-the-lines and see the underlying economic theory behind something as practical as marketing and vice versa!

NUS University Scholars Programme

The next academic program I will explain will probably sound less familiar to you, but I love this program so much that I just have to dedicate a portion of this entry to talk about it. Introducing, *drum roll please*, the University Scholars Program (USP) !! 🙂 Again, I’ll start by clarifying some things first. Even though USP is called the University Scholars Program, it does not actually provide students with a scholarship. Students in USP stay in Cinnamon College, a residential college in University Town, NUS. Cinnamon College is a home for USP students – a place where we live, learn and grow together through a plethora of exciting activities and opportunities.

2019-09-20 09.35.17 NUS Track Team

As USP students, we get to do 30% of our major requirements in USP itself (USP is considered as a faculty in NUS). While USP modules are notoriously known to be difficult (you will be a living legend if you manage to score an A*!), the modules are also super exciting and encourages you to critically challenge our pre-conceived notions of the world, such as the assumption that humans are conscious when we can not even correctly define what consciousness means. What is consciousness, actually? Is consciousness difference from self-awareness? Does being conscious makes us sentient? If you these questions ignite something in you, please do consider USP 😉

Here in USP, we believe that USP students should embody 4 characteristics, curious, critical, courageous and engaged citizens of the world. While these traits might at first glance seem abstract and somewhat far-fetched, I think to a large extent USP does provide a wonderful and encouraging community for students to pursue their interests and a platform to engage with issues in a meaningful way.

One of the most memorable experiences I have experienced in USP is joining this year’s university-wide Inter Faculty Game (IFG) as a track athlete. Having absolutely no experience as an athlete, I was actually extremely unconfident representing USP in a university-wide, especially considering how contestants from other faculties mostly include experienced sportsmen. Despite my worst misgivings, I decided to sign up as a 4 x 200 m relay runner with encouragement from my fellow Track CCA members.

2019-09-20 09.34.57

Hello world!

The journey was in not in any way smooth sailing. After long days of lectures, tutorials and seminars, I had to summon the willpower to make it for track practice that starts at 9 PM at night and only end close to midnight. Having no experience as a runner, I struggled immensely keeping up with my fellow USP Track CCA friends, always being the slowest to complete the lap. At times I felt utterly discouraged. However, motivation from my USP Track CCA friends kept me going. In the end, even though USP finished last, I will always fondly remember cheering at the top of our lungs after finishing last in every event, insisting on taking a picture with each of our competitors and the tiring practices that strengthened our friendships.

Aside from the incredibly supportive community, USP is also a place that provides with seemingly endless opportunities to pursue anything. Our mailboxes are continually being bombarded with emails inviting us to engage in intellectual discussions with government officials and public figures such as Singapore’s Minister for Health and Gojek Singapore’s General Manager.

While being in USP also means additional academic commitment, I have no regrets signing up to be part of this amazingly inclusive community full of passionate people, the most insightful professors and late-night suppers ;). (For more information about USP, do check out our informative website:

So, this marks the end of this post! I hope you have managed to learn something from reading this! If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email*. That’s it for now – wishing you all the best in your university applications 🙂

*I’ll try to get back to you within a month



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