Beyond ‘O’ Levels”: Life at James Cook University with Shayne Ang

Image credits: Shayne Ang

Ever wonder about life at James Cook University (JCU)? For this 3-part series, we spoke to students from the Singapore campus so you can find out more! 

How do you decide that a university is the one? By the course curriculum? Its student life? Or its location?

For Shayne Ang, the Singapore campus of James Cook University’s (JCU) “impressive facilities” helped seal the deal! When Shayne was fresh out of secondary school, the campus’s welcoming atmosphere during a campus visit convinced her to enrol in the JCU Pre-University Foundation Program and kickstart her tertiary education journey.

Image credits: Shayne Ang

She shared with us what she appreciates about JCU, and there’s plenty! Here’s a quick rundown if you’re curious (like we were!).

  • The air-conditioned canteen that provides relief during hot days
  • The convenience of meal vending machines
  • The mood-boosting campus greenery
  • The student hub, which is conducive for focused studying
  • Other little touches, such as abundant water coolers across the campus, aesthetically pleasing restroom facilities, and sheltered pickup points
Located at 149 Sims Drive, JCU is close to the Kallang and Aljunied MRT stations — and a short distance away from town! (Image credits: JCU) 

On Classes and School Life

The JCU Pre-University Foundation Program imparts to students the knowledge and skills required for higher learning, which meant that Shayne had a lot to pick up within eight months. The bubbly and cheerful 20-year-old recalls studying modules covering Mathematics, Statistics, Critical Thinking, English, Economics, and IT, which enabled her to progress to an undergraduate degree in Business, Business and Environmental Science, Psychology or Information Technology.

Adapting to the higher education environment, Shayne admits, was challenging at first.

“Among these [modules], English Fundamentals left a lasting impression,” she shares.

“While it primarily covered basic English concepts, it provided a significant learning curve by introducing me to report writing for the first time. This module was pivotal as it taught me the intricacies of creating reference lists, understanding citations, and various aspects of academic writing.”

However, Shayne powered through with the help of supportive faculty and coursemates, also taking time to destress through baking and crocheting — activities she especially enjoys. Equipped with solid fundamentals, she is now well into her second year of the Bachelor of Business (Majoring in Marketing for the Digital Age), spurred by “[her] desire to support [her] mother’s entrepreneurial endeavours in the future”.

On the side, Shayne is putting what she’s learned to good use: she is looking towards starting her own crochet business selling cute handcrafted flowers and stuffed animals!

Shayne’s crochet work! (Image credits: Shayne Ang)

Gaining Real World Experience

Shayne has grown in experience and confidence through assignments that allow her to apply practical skills. For a particularly memorable assignment for the Tourism & Leisure Management module, her group conceptualised a video promoting Changi Airport. This experience not only refined her analytical abilities, but also enhanced her teamwork and presentation skills.

“The project began with comprehensive research into Changi Airport’s impact on Singapore, providing a deep understanding of its significance. Subsequently, my group scheduled a meetup to capture footage of the airport, which allowed us to visually represent our findings,” she recalls.

“This initiative not only showcased our analytical abilities but also required effective teamwork and organisational skills. As a result, the video successfully encapsulated Changi Airport’s significance, and the overall outcome was truly impressive, reflecting our dedication and collaborative efforts.”

Before Shayne concludes her business studies, she will also get the opportunity to consolidate everything she has learnt through a professional internship or independent project.

From her self-assured and eloquent responses, we believe she’s ready for what lies ahead.

As a senior, what does Shayne want to share with incoming students? Here is her advice on how to maximise your time at JCU!

“I’d suggest embracing opportunities beyond academics, connecting with professors, and actively engaging in campus life. These aspects collectively shape a fulfilling university experience at JCU,” Shayne shares.

We hope you’ve learnt more about life at JCU! We’ll be sharing other students’ stories soon, so do stay tuned!

Interested in what JCU has to offer? Here are some fun facts!

–  The university has over 20 student clubs for sports, cultural activities, performing arts and more! You can explore them through their social media.

–  Undergraduate and postgraduate students have the opportunity to complete part of their studies in Australia, while staying Singapore-based students and paying their fees in Singapore currency.

–   JCU is the only Australian institution in Singapore to be recognised with ‘University’ status, and it provides the same graduation certificates as Australian campuses.

–  JCU Singapore’s Pre-University Foundation Program allows O-Level graduates (or equivalent) to progress to an undergraduate degree within eight months. For more information, check out the program’s page here!



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