Saga College

Rachel Tan

Residential Life Officer

I grew up in Singapore, finished high school at United World College, and attended a liberal arts college in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, USA! My most transformative experiences during college were teaching a Comparative Politics class with my professor, taking a political theory class on power, inequality and resistance, developing a pedagogy of the oppressed curriculum at an alternative school, doing fieldwork in the Peruvian Amazon and Andes, writing a thesis and capstone on Latin America and Singapore, and working for the Civic Engagement Centre connecting students to community work in St. Paul/Minneapolis.

I returned to Singapore to work at Yale-NUS as a Dean’s Fellow for 2 years. After which I worked in Cambodia as a teacher. I love working with students, and I care deeply about building equitable education spaces. I’ve enjoyed facilitating programmes such as Decolonising Academia, a college-wide dialogue to interrogate the role of the university and explore the possibilities of decolonising teaching and learning, and intergroup dialogue where students unpack experiences with power, privilege, and oppression. I also enjoy running, podcasts, and science fiction!

Advice for Students

Be brave and go for the classes and activities that you really want. Don't let your fears or others stop you from pursuing your heart's wildest dreams.
Spend time reflecting on where you're at, listen closely to what your needs are, communicate and ask for help when you need to - be it academic, interpersonal, or mental health.
Practice routines that prioritise your health and wellbeing.
Look after one another and nurture your relationships with the people around you.
Seek out mentors amongst the professors and staff. Go to office hours. Have lunch with your RLO and AD. Knock on that door! There's so much to engage and learn in a residential community.
Be engaged in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Learn the histories, politics, stories, communities, environment, science, and struggles of the region.

Why Yale-NUS?

I cannot imagine myself in a space outside of education, because of the possibilities for transformative learning, creation, collaboration, and meaningful connection. I've found myself being able to engage in these ways with students, faculty, and staff here. I think that the knowledge and values of the liberal arts education that Yale-NUS is cultivating is transforming Singapore’s (and the broader Asian) educational landscape — reimagining the meanings of education and learning. I am grateful to be a part of this.

Travel Bucket List

Bolivia and Mexico

Fun Fact

I learnt how to ride a motorbike by getting one and diving out into the streets of Phnom Penh!