An interview with Aayush Kumar
By Terence Yeo, Year 1 SMU Law student
I have had worse partings, but none that so gnaws at my mind still.
In his critically-acclaimed poem, “Walking Away”, Cecil-Day Lewis wrote about how he felt as his eldest son leaves home for school. Like a cub leaving its parents and the pride, a child leaving his home for education is a painful but necessary decision. With the world becoming more globalised, it has even become commonplace for one to leave their home country in search of better educational opportunities. One such student to do so is Aayush Kumar, a Year 4 student in the SMU School of Accountancy.
“After going through a long and tedious application process, applying to countries like the United States, Canada and Singapore, I was genuinely delighted with my choice”.
To Aayush, learning of his admission to SMU was certainly an exciting and joyous moment. “After going through a long and tedious application process, applying to countries like the United States, Canada and Singapore, I was genuinely delighted with my choice”. However, the Indian national also had his fears and doubts. For one, he was unsure about the academic pressure he might face. He had heard from his seniors, as well as his father’s colleagues, who had been living in Singapore for a while, that the academic curriculum would be rigorous and demanding. The courses would be competitive because the people here are extremely hard working. “So I went into SMU quite worried whether I would be able to keep up with the rest of my peers”.
Fast forward four years and his experience has been nothing short of exciting.
Furthermore, having lived in India all his life, he was apprehensive about assimilating into the local culture. For the first time, he would be living without his family, who are based in India. Consequently, he was sceptical about how he would fit in a new environment, having not known anyone entering SMU together with him at that point. Fast forward four years and his experience has been nothing short of exciting. The academic rigour at SMU was challenging, primarily because of how practical and relevant the academic approach here is, as compared to the theoretical way of learning things that he was used to back in India. Nevertheless, he has enjoyed the whole process of learning over the last few years here.
“But when I think about my SMU journey, the highlights go way beyond the academics. I've met so many talented and great individuals through the co-curricular activities [CCAs] I've been a part of and the classes I've taken.” Aayush believes that his SMU experience would lose so much of its shine if not for the friendships he had forged here and the experiences he shared with these friends. Indeed, it is the combination of support from friends and family that helped him tide over his initial apprehensions and fears. As the saying goes, “the home is where the heart is”, despite being miles away from India, he is glad to have found a home here in SMU.
SMU's flexible approach to education had also allowed him to spend a semester studying in Barcelona, which he describes as “easily one of the best times of my life”. All in all, Aayush believes that that he had been able to meet most of his professional and personal objectives in SMU and he certainly does not regret his decision to join SMU.
Looking back, Aayush’s decision to venture out of India and enter through the welcoming doors of SMU would have undoubtedly been much harder, if not for his family’s support. But as Lewis also writes, How selfhood begins with a walking away, And love is proved in the letting go, he could not have been more thankful for his parent’s support. “My family was happy with my decision to join SMU. SMU has a very good reputation in India, and it was definitely one of the colleges my parents would have liked me to join if given an offer.” Of course, the relatively short distance between Singapore and India helped. His family were comfortable with the idea of sending him to a country that was only a 3-hour flight away from home, as compared to somewhere in the US or Canada. In addition, Singapore had a strong reputation for being safe and comfortable, which was reassuring to his parents.
"It was the right mix of being informative and interactive."
On top of all these, his father also attended the International Parents’ Day (IPD), organised by the SMU Ambassadorial Corps. “He really enjoyed the event and felt it was a good way to have all his queries and concerns cleared.” His father was particularly impressed with the Ambassadors and SMU faculty during IPD. He also felt that it was a good platform for him to meet other international parents. In the words of Aayush, “it was the right mix of being informative and interactive”, just what the concerned international parent would need.
If you have any questions about the student life in SMU or academic concerns for your child, who else better to ask than current students or members of the faculty? Join us at SMU International Parents’ Day on 8 August 2017 to find out more. Click here to sign up now!