Miss Xenia Chan is considering a career in international diplomacy and she is now one step closer to her goal after being awarded a no-obligation scholarship from the French government.
Miss Chan, 23, is one of six Singaporean women to obtain funding for a master’s degree under the France Excellence program.
She graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) this year with a BA in Global Studies and is now at Sciences Po University in Paris, pursuing a Masters in International Governance and Diplomacy.
Sciences Po is a prestigious research university in France, known for its political science programs. Miss Chan has been in France since August.
In a Zoom conversation with The Straits Times, she said exposure to an internationally diverse peer group, along with rigorous lessons, was exactly what she signed up for.
Miss Chan said: “I became interested in French culture and learning French because of its relevance to international diplomacy – as an official language of the United Nations – so exposing yourself to the language on a daily basis is wonderful. “
The scholarship covers airline tickets, accommodation and tuition fees, and is part of the French government‘s Welcome to France strategy. It aims to bring 500,000 international students to the country by 2027, said a spokesperson for the French embassy in Singapore.
Miss Chan and the other five recipients were selected from a pool of 16 applicants for their strong academic credentials and motivation to study in France, the spokesperson added.
Another recipient of the scholarship is Mr. Nicolas Wong, 28, who is pursuing studies in management of the sports industry on the Paris campus of the Emlyon Business School.
After graduating from NUS in 2018, Mr. Wong worked for a year in a non-governmental organization, but realized that his passion was cycling. He then turned to retail by working as a retail manager in the cycling department of Decathlon.
After two years there, he decided that even though he had a degree in Global Studies, he needed more qualifications.
Mr. Wong’s girlfriend is French. They met while she was studying at NUS as part of an exchange program.
He said: “French culture is very different from Singaporean culture – when they work, they work 100% but when it’s rest time, it’s 100% rest time.”