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NUS1: Southeast Asia in Context

Hosted by the National University of Singapore
23 June 2014 – 26 July 2014

Southeast Asia in Context is a five-week exploration of Southeast Asia’s geographical, historical and cultural diversity. This course takes advantage of Singapore’s strategic position in offering a unique blend of classroom instruction at NUS campus with hands-on fieldwork in Cambodia and Thailand or Indonesia. The lecturers are experienced teachers and researchers of Southeast Asia, who will explore themes such as Southeast Asian religion, archaeology, rural development, politics and regional integration. The fieldtrip includes visits to magnificent ancient temples, rural agricultural communities, war memorials and a fair sampling of local village life that is well off the usual tourist track.



Southeast Asia in Context Class of 2013 exploring the Angkor temples in Cambodia

The highlight of this course is the 10-day fieldtrip to Cambodia and Thailand, or Indonesia where students will be exposed to local cultures and will be engaged in on-site lectures by both the course instructors and local experts.


Bachelor students


Further specifications

Those enrolled in programs relating to all aspects of Southeast Asian studies, including ASEAN, economics, culture and politics are encouraged to apply.



Undergraduate students across academic majors with strong interest in Southeast Asia.

NUS undergraduates should have a minimum CAP of 3.0 on a 5-point scale.

Non-NUS students will be assessed based on recruitment criteria and procedures administered by each participating university in consultation with the NUS Department of Southeast Asian Studies.

The program offers modules on Southeast Asian Studies with archaeological, anthropological and historical concentration. The core compulsory module, SE2222: Southeast Asia In Context, provides a broad overview of Southeast Asia. Its partner elective modules, SE2880A: Southeast Asia's Cultural Mosaic and SE2211: Southeast Asian Social History will equip students with the analytical tools for the comparative study of society and culture, and each features a 10-day field trip to various religious, cultural and archaeological sites in Cambodia, Thailand and Java. All three modules deploy 'context-based' learning by combining in-class instruction at NUS campus with local and regional hands-on experience of Southeast Asian life.

Students are required to read SE2222 and choose one elective: SE2880A or SE2211.


SE2222 Southeast Asia in Context: The Region at a Glance

This module will provide a broad overview for understanding Southeast Asia as a socio-political and cultural region. Southeast Asian societies are changing over time in response to the pressures of post-colonialism, nationalism, urbanization and globalization. These issues will be explored with a focus on topics such as gender, religion, regional integration, ethnicity and marginalization among others. The module will also feature local fieldtrips to various sites in Singapore, and will reflect on the place of this city state in a broader Southeast Asian context.


SE2880A Southeast Asia’s Cultural Mosaic: Religious Spaces and Village Faces

If you are interested in Southeast Asian religion, particularly in rural settings, this module will interest you! This course will introduce students to the region from an anthropological perspective. Students will be equipped with the analytical tools for the comparative study of society and culture. Ethnographic materials will be used to discuss themes that include religion, ethnicity and identity as well as people and ways of living in cities and rural areas. The challenge is for students to explore the dynamics of change in Southeast Asia, to conceptualize and understand differences and similarities between social systems and human relationships, and above all to ask, ‘Why?’ The course will feature a 10-day field trip to Cambodia and Thailand.


SE2211 Southeast Asian Social History: Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Tourism

If you are interested in archaeology and ancient history in Southeast Asia, this is the module for you! This module addresses the social and economic history of the Southeast Asian region. It introduces the study of social and economic change over 2,000 years, the academic perspectives useful in that study, and the value of that study in understanding modern Southeast Asia. It examines pre-colonial society and its relationship to art, political, and economic activity; Southeast Asians' responses to the challenges and opportunities of the region's exposure to external influences, including China, India, Islam and Europe; heritage preservation and archaeological research; and current developments, particularly the growth of tourism as a major industry. The course will feature a field trip to Java, Indonesia.


Learning Outcomes

The program seeks to cultivate:

  • the ability to think about some of the historical and cultural aspects of Southeast Asia in a way that draws from one’s actual experience of travelling through the region and meeting Southeast Asian people
  • the ability to utilize scholarly approaches from the fields of history, social anthropology and archaeology in contributing to debates concerning Southeast Asian topics
  • the ability to draw from a broad range of learning platforms towards demystifying some of the stereotypical depictions of Southeast Asia

100% continuing assessment (no examinations)


Contact hours: 36 total contact hours (classroom) + 9 days field trip hours (excluding self-study hours)

Credits at host university: 4 credits per module

Dr. Julius Bautista, A/Prof. John Miksic, and a lecturer from University of Copenhagen (tbc)

Students will stay on-campus in 6-bedroom apartments at the NUS University Town residential colleges. Each bedroom comes furnished, and are equipped with air-conditioning and internet access, while the apartment has a common living area with a dining table and sofas. In addition, each residential college has shared facilities within the building such as kitchenettes, laundry rooms and student lounges to create a living enivronment that encourages social, educational and cultural interaction. The residential colleges are also located within walking proximity to classrooms, study clusters and sports facilities, as well as a wide array of dining and retail options on-campus.


Students must arrive by 19 June 2014 for check in. There will be a Welcome and Registration Session on 20 June. Students must check out on 26 July 2014 and will not be able to extend their stay.

Figures are estimates only.

Tuition fees

SGD 2,590 (2 modules for non-exchange international students)


Estimated SGD 880 (5 weeks on-campus accommodation. Cost subject to change.)

Field trip SGD 1,700 (includes airfare, accommodation throughout fieldtrip and transportation & admission fees to field sites. Cost subject to change.)
Textbooks SGD 50 - 100
Miscellaneous Approximately SGD 70 (payable by all exchange & non-exchange international students. Cost subject to change.)
Living expenses

SGD 600 - 800 (for on-campus meals over 5 weeks, does not include personal expenses such as toiletries, clothin, groceries, entertainment etc.)

Estimated local transportation costs SGD 100 - 150 (based on 4 weeks travel by public buses / trains only)
Scholarship for incoming students 50% tuition award
Estimated student’s pass & multiple entry visa fees SGD 90 - 120


Additional information will be available in the booklet prepared specifically for each summer school cohort.

Travel insurance and medical insurance from student’s home country recommended for international students.

Visas to Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia (for overseas field trip)

Most European and North American passport holders are eligible for Visa on Arrival in these countries, with corresponding visa fees. Students are advised to check with the relevant Immigration Offices in their home countries to confirm whether they qualify for Visa on Arrival. Students may also consult the following links:



Facebook page:


For enquiries, please contact the following persons:

  • For academic-related enquiries:
    Dr Julius Bautista - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • For application, registration and payment matters:
    Ms Ingrid Tay - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.