ASMU in Retrospect: A Conversation with Tan Wen Yun

by Nadia Pritta Wibisono

Wen Yun and Nigel at the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) Conference in 2015

Wen Yun and Nigel at the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) Conference in 2015

As a Junior Ambassador in the SMU Ambassadorial Corps, I have always been fascinated by the Senior-Junior dynamic. Seniors are always there to guide the Junior Ambassadors and share the story of ASMU and how it has changed over the years. One such senior Ambassador is Tan Wen Yun, a final year student and former President of ASMU. So I sat down with Wen Yun to get her thoughts on ASMU - then and now.

What’s the difference between the Corps you were leading and the Corps today?

Many years ago, the Corps used to be very strict, and did not have an open recruitment process. However today, applications are open to everyone because ASMU values diversity and believes in a balance between academics and student life.

On top of that, the university itself has changed tremendously. ASMU started thirteen years ago when our campus was still in Bukit Timah, and the focus was to show that SMU is a young, competitive university. SMU is quite ingenious by realising that students themselves would be the best mouthpiece for the school, because you want to hear it from the horse's mouth instead of hearing from the school or its faculty. So ASMU plays a role in this change by sharing about their experience of new initiatives. We are in a state of flux, so it’s definitely an exciting time for new students to join and make their mark!

What are the things about ASMU that have stayed the same?

There's an interesting paradoxical balance between the continuity and change that's always ongoing in ASMU. What has stayed constant is the dedication of the Ambassadors to the Corps. Ambassadors are strongly committed to passing on the knowledge and skills they have learned in their ASMU journey and from their seniors to the juniors. Perhaps it’s because of the non-transient nature of the Corps.

What advice would you have for students interested in joining ASMU? Or even those who are still wondering whether they should apply?

[laughs] I was actually one of those people who didn’t know if I should sign up, but then I said to myself: Just do it!

To those who are certain that they want to join, it’s important to open your mind to what the Corps can give you and how being a part of the Corps can shape you.

To those who are still unsure, there are no obvious disadvantages to applying. If you don’t try, you’re limiting yourself from something that could be potentially a great thing for you.

Beyond that, you need to ask yourself, what exactly do you want to get from your SMU life? What exactly do you want to learn? And then see if ASMU aligns with the vision you have of yourself and who you want to become.

What exactly do you want to get from your SMU life? What exactly do you want to learn?