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Social Science Study Missions

Nothing beats seeing successful companies "live" in action. SMU students have embarked on overseas study missions to countries such as Argentina, Chile, China, Germany, India, Qatar, Russia, Spain, UAE, USA, Vietnam and Indonesia.

These overseas study missions cover a host of site visits, networking sessions and presentations by specialists and experts in various Social Science fields. They connect the students by uniting theory and practice through their discussion and practical fieldwork experience. Establishing valuable contacts and sometimes securing overseas internships or even full-time employment are bonus benefits of the programme.

Here are the various Overseas Study Missions organized by the School.

POSC313  Political Science Study Mission to Europe

The Study Mission to Europe provides an introduction to European integration. It consists of a course and lecture series on European Union and ASEAN integration as well as visit to European institutions. It also introduces students to European cultural heritage and gives them ample opportunity to network with European students.

What did the students say?

“I never knew learning in SMU could be this fun. I acquired a deepen sense of EU and ASEAN politics from various lecturers - I am in fact amazed at how much information I was able to learn and use in such a short period.” - Oon Tian Sern, 2nd year Sociology major

“The study mission to Europe was an amazing experience for me. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet established academics, and to learn about the European Union from such distinguished people. I would do it again in a heartbeat.” -  Patricia Carthigasu, 3rd year Political Science major

“It was a worthwhile journey which I would recommend to both political science and non-political science students. I was able to learn about the EU first hand, and to interact with both foreign and local students, which further enhanced the learning experience.” - Tan Wei Ann, 3rd year Political Science major

“Not only did I have a one-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to step inside various EU institutions in Luxembourg and Brussels, but also to meet amazing friends.” - Rani Retmono, 3rd year Political Science major


POSC307  Political Science Study Mission to China

This is a different kind of study mission: a  student-led course that combines an Overseas Community Service Project with an  opportunity to conduct fieldwork in a low-income rural area of southwest  China. Uniting theory and practice, this advanced course combines critical  discussions based on academic readings with practical fieldwork experience.  Course components include pre-trip seminar-style class sessions, an Overseas  Community Service Project (OCSP) component, and one class session during the  field trip. Integral to the course is an approximately 18-days trip to a  village in Guizhou province, southwest China. In Guizhou, in addition to  designing and implementing service projects that meet unmet needs, students conduct  primary research – interviewing farmers, officials, teachers and others.  (Mandarin is not a requirement since research is conducted in pairs.)

SOCG306 Sociology Study Mission to China

The Sociology Study Mission uses a political economy  perspective to study the process of urbanization in contemporary China. This is done by six pre-trip seminar style class sessions and a 12-day field study in Guangzhou, the third largest city in  China. More than often, urbanization in China is neither a simple result of natural population growth nor a result of rural to urban migration. Instead urban space has become both the medium and product of the interplay between capital, power and social class. Through seminars and site visits, students will learn how to conceptualize urban China by investigating urban processes such as (1) the transformation of urban life since 1949; (2) the process of redevelopment and gentrification; (3) the use of  public space; (4) the process of place making; (5) the creation of global city; (6) the emergence of creative space; (7) the increasing urban inequalities and resistance; and (8) the latest development of community building and social management.

What did the students say?

“This trip has definitely been an eye-opener for me, seeing things that are so unfamiliar and taking me out of my comfort zone.” - Melissa, 2nd year Sociology major

“This 12-days trip in Guangzhou has indeed enhanced and enriched our sociological imagination… I have become more appreciative of why certain action were taken by the various agents and the underpinning social forces that elicited certain social responses.” -  Zhiyuan, 3rd year Sociology major

“I am extremely humbled by the opportunity to live the lifestyle akin to one of a regular Chinese citizen. This is in reference toward the aspects of the programme, which had requested for us to travel via its  metro system, consume authentic Chinese cuisines, and learn to survive through Guangzhou’s unpredictable weathers.” - Charmaine, 2nd year Sociology major

ACM205 Arts and Culture Study Mission to New York

Every year, a big percentage of art graduates flock to New York city in pursuit of their dream. What is it about the city that defines itself as the Mecca of the Art scene- one that makes or breaks a dream? How does an institution/organization function and survive in this ultracompetitive Art metropolis as an organism in the larger eco-system of the city through its  programmes? How many Museums can one city fit and how many hiharmonic Orchestras and Broadway productions can a city sustain? Like the Louvre, what is it about these institutions that make taking in the Visual and Performing Arts a must-do in every tourist itinerary, regardless of one's literacy in the Arts? Why can't such an international model function in every, or any major city? Students participating in the New York ACM Study Mission will be: (1) offered an insight into the behind-the scene workings of both private and public art institutions and organizations. (2) able to develop a deeper understanding of the organizational infrastructure that undergirds institutions of various scale and its sustenance on both public and private money. (3) the annual programming and outreach development that brands and distinguishes the identity of each institution.

What did the students say?

"New York is the haven for artists, musicians and performers - it was a dream being in the center of it all (even though it was just for two weeks.) The trip gave us insight into operations of world-class performing arts centers and was a precious and beautiful experience." - Deborah, 4th year Arts and Culture Management Major

"This trip gave me much insights on the arts scene in New York City, from which I gained much inspiration from. It was also helpful that we spoke to speakers that were formerly based in the Singapore art  scene, who shared their thoughts on the differences in both countries. It was a great experience!" - Hui Rong, 4th year Arts and Culture Management Major  


Last updated on 14 Sep 2017 .