12 July 2023

Young Bright Minds of ASEAN Take on Urban Planning: AUN AELP 2023 Student Presentations and Interviews

Patitin Lertnaikiat
AUN Programme Officer;

Throughout the 5 days of the AUN ASEAN Experiential Learning Programme in Singapore, 40 students from 22 universities across the ASEAN region had the opportunity to soak in valuable knowledge offered by the various faculties found in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS). 

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A nice icebreaker session on the first day instilled great camaraderie among all the students!

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For the first 4 days of AELP, students had experiential visits to various departments and industries related to the idea of “Smart Nation” and had dialogues with subject matter experts in the field. Activities that were prepared also allowed the students to have an interactive hands-on experience to bolster their understanding. If you would like to read more about this in further details, our previous article on AELP covering this can be found here!

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Students listening to the Subject Matter Expert on Automated Vehicles.

While doing so, the students have been applying the knowledge acquired to tackle “Case Files'' where they will be challenged to work together to develop an urbanization plan for a city with the idea of the Smart Nation shown throughout AELP. 


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Time at HDB has given students ample knowledge about urban planning.

So here is the setup for what the students are facing. Mayors of the nations "Nathenia" and "Sinusha" are looking for consultants that can propose Smart Nation strategies to provide solutions to multitudes of problems found in the nations. These issues range from township planning, transportation, healthcare, education, and digital inclusivity. 

At the end of each day, time was dedicated for students to gather in their teams to apply what they have learned to continue in crafting solutions for the nations of Nathenia and Sinusha.

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Students had the opportunity to have working time at various working spaces throughout NTU, NUS, and SMU.

On the 23rd of June 2023, the morning until afternoon was utilized by the students to have their final preparations for their presentation. Not only were the presentations the way for the students to show what they have learned throughout the week, but experts were also listening in as well to provide feedback and hear all of the wonderful ideas!

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You have heard plenty from us at AUN by now regarding AELP 2023, now let us share with you some of the student sentiments from our interviews that we have selected for this article!

Student Interviews:

Rajiv Java, Singapore University of Social Sciences

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1. What were your expectations for this event?

I had prior understanding because I had joined a similar program before in SUSS. That was what drew me in about understanding the “Smart Nation” efforts and how can it be applied in the ASEAN context and help them with their own issues in terms of resolving them.

2. Why did you attend this event?

To have a good time and I enjoyed the knowledge that I gained. More importantly, the cultural experiences that I get from meeting with people across different countries all around the region. If it wasn’t for programmes like this, I would probably not have friends from around the whole region of ASEAN.

3. What was your favorite experience?

The main one that I love the most of all this programme is of course, the cultural night to dress up in our own traditional and cultural attire and we get to see all the vibrant colors and have fun singing and dancing!

4. Did the event meet your expectations?

Definitely one-hundred percent in terms of the organizational aspect as well as the logistical aspect and accommodations. I think they did a phenomenal job given that this is a one week programme and they had to balance out their own education internships as well as planning for this programme. I think the facilitators and organizers did an amazing job.

Nguyễn Lữ Tú Minh, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City

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1. What were your expectations for this event?

I expected to just have fun and connect with as many people as possible because you can get a lot of friends and many valuable relationships when it comes to these programmes.

2. Why did you attend this event?

I have never traveled abroad before, so this was the chance for me to go outside Vietnam and to experience a modern country like Singapore.

3. What was your favorite experience?

The cultural dinner where everyone got to wear their traditional costume with events where we did photoshoots with my group mates, other facilitators, and the programme committee.

4. Did the event meet your expectations?

I was fully satisfied because my group shared a lot of things in common and I love that! For the other groups, everyone came from various countries and of course I got to know more from friends from like Thailand and Malaysia, and other countries too.

5. What was your biggest takeaway from the event?

Networking is what I’m looking for when joining this kind of programme. So friends are the most valuable to me, and I hope that we can keep in touch after this programme! When I get the chance to travel to their countries and vice versa, I hope they get a chance to travel to my country, Vietnam. I will gladly welcome them and I hope they can do the same thing to me.

John Kyle C. Lluz, Ateneo de Manila University

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1. What were your expectations for this event?

There were a lot of expectations, but as the days grew near, there were things that I wanted to focus on. First was to make friends, to make connections, to learn about what Singapore has to offer and to be open about the ideas and then translate it into my own country.

2. Why did you attend this event?

I was invited by my university, the moment they told me that I was invited to this event, I immediately took the opportunity because I knew it would be international. The insights and the way the things that I would learn would be from different cultures, different nations, I think it makes it the greatest experience ever.

3. What was your favorite experience?

My favorite moment of this event was the final presentation because I believe that it was the cultivation of our ideas, different ideas, and personal experiences of my group. It was the melting pot of our ideas that we presented.

4. What was your biggest takeaway from this event?

The lessons that I have learned here were amplified by the friendships that I made, especially with my group where we were able to cultivate the ideas and to see it in different perspectives.

Lê Gia Phát, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City

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1. What were your expectations for this event?

I expected to learn a lot of things about other countries, to have tons of fun, and happy moments that I can enjoy in a harmonious way!

2. Why did you attend this event?

I attended this event because I wanted to enjoy and explore Singapore. I also wanted to meet other ASEAN friends too! To understand their culture, behaviors, their thoughts and know how they look at Viet Nam and Vietnamese.

3. What was your favorite experience?

Today, the presentation day, and the moment is when we got selected for the best presentation!

4. What was your biggest takeaway from this event?

My biggest takeaway from the event is that I know the thoughts from other friends towards their own nation and my nation, our motivations, and our goals in the future as a representative and as the next generation of Asian countries to become the next Asian leaders.

AELP 2023 has certainly shaped the 40 attending graduates into fine leaders and brilliant thinkers that now have the capability to bring the knowledge they have acquired to make a positive impact to their communities. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how the future generation will transform the world we live in. All the best, young graduates. Also, on behalf of AUN, we would like to give appreciation to NTU and NUS once more for facilitating and organizing this event!