STEER Sulawesi logo
STEER Sulawesi

STEER Sulawesi is part of the NUS STEER programme

The NUS Study Trips for Engagement and EnRichment (STEER) is a programme designed to familiarise students with the diverse socio-cultural-economic environments of new and fast-evolving regions through a mix of classroom-based learning and experiential site visits, inaugurated in December 2010. NUS STEER programmes are designed to be thematic and help NUS undergraduates break existing mindsets about these emerging regions through participation in an immersive educational and cultural experience.

STEER Sulawesi 2018 was part of the NUS Study Trips for Engagement and EnRichment (STEER) programme that was designed to expose students to the diverse socio-cultural-economic environments of the world. In particular, STEER Sulawesi 2018 was initiated by Dr John van Wyhe of the NUS Department of Biological Sciences and Tembusu College. He was keen on exploring the sites visited by pioneer naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in Sulawesi. A recruitment was thus opened for interested students who later took charge of the planning and execution of the entire trip.

The students were given a brief guideline to follow and were tasked to design the rest of the learning outcomes and itinerary by themselves. The exciting lineup of activities like the unforgettable visit to the karstic Rammang-Rammang, the engaging discussions they had with an entrepreneur from Universitas Hasanuddin and the incredible snorkeling adventure they had at the pristine, world-renowned Bunaken Marine Park, was all planned for by the students. Notably, the students liaised for a discussion with Mr Danny Pomanto, the Mayor of Makassar City, on the success and challenges of their Smart City initiative.

The trip was a tremendously stimulating one as students immersed themselves in unfamiliar sociocultural experiences, exciting outdoor adventures and contrasting perspectives on city and business management.


This expedition was led by Dr John van Wyhe

Dr John van Wyhe is a historian of science and a Fellow of Tembusu College who specializes on the Victorian evolutionists Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. He has published 11 books and lectures and broadcasts around the world.

He is also the director of Darwin Online

Melvin Ng

STEER Sulawesi was truly out of the world. We went off the beaten track to explore places people don't usually and found exciting things in surprising places. We immersed ourselves in an unfamiliar culture and learnt so many things being in Singapore cannot teach us. It was a trip to remember.

Melvin Ng, Project Director, Year 2, Medicine
Dawn Tan

STEER Sulawesi was the experience of a lifetime. It was truly a privillege to have laid my eyes on such beautiful sights, and learned about the wildlife in Sulawesi. Hopefully more can be done to preserve this island and the life that it provides.

Dawn Tan, Site developer and Editor, Year 2, Information Systems
Joel Tan

STEER Sulawesi thrust me deep into the unfamiliar. I swam after sea turtles amidst pristine coral reefs, stumbled on a zoo a thousand meters above sea level, and learnt about minding local context in urban planning and nature conservation. Sulawesi readily yielded its eccentricities to us so long as we were bold and bright-eyed.

Joel Tan, Editor, Year 2, Sociology
Wong Wei Jian

STEER Sulawesi was breath-taking and far exceeded my expectations - I had the wonderful privilege of witnessing the unique culture, wildlife and geography the island has to offer. The allure of its people and Mother Nature should not be exclusive to a limited few, I hope its exceptional beauty can be conserved to be experienced by others in the future.

Wong Wei Jian, Journal Writer, Year, Life Sciences
Yi Lin

STEER Sulawesi was really enriching. We learnt about the culture and history of Sulawesi. We had first hand experience in engaging the locals and the different organisations in the area. I also learnt about the nature conservation efforts by the environmental activists. I'll remember the fond memories and friendships made.

Yi Lin, Journal Writer, Year 2, Life Sciences

This trip was a beautifully wild adventure. The days passed so quickly, but I won't soon forget the wonders we've seen. Trekking forests, swimming in waterfall and the ocean, exploring caves and volcanic hot springs... these just aren't experiences you can have in Singapore. I'm so grateful to have done this in Sulawesi - a small but spectacular part of our earth.

Elizabeth, Year 2, Linguistics

STEER Sulawesi was extremely enriching and eye-opening. From the breathtaking landforms to the amazing sea creatures, we came, we saw and we conquered Sulawesi. Who knew a relatively Makassar had so much in common with Singapore? The aspired Makassar is one that Singapore would be proud of. There were many things learnt from the trip indeed!

Ernest, Year 2, Business
Haw Wen

STEER Sulawesi has been the most awe-inspiring trip in my life. It has forged a precious collection of memories for a group of adventurous students who wandered off into some of the most exotic places on Earth. The myriad of endemic wildlife and culture witnessed were vividly spectacular. Conservative efforts are necessary so that many of the valuable sights observed continue to exist in longevity.

Ng Haw Wen, Year 2, Mechanical Engineering
Xue min

Sulawesi was a breath of fresh air. Its wildlife wonders, nature conservation conundrums and local delicacies were delightful. The beautiful island with its Sombere hospitality, eco-initiatives, and wildlife reserves, humbles my heart and makes me realise how we can fight for what lives with us. While on my lens peered the sunlight glaze; in my heart engraved an adventure to be embarked on again.

Ong Xue Min Year 4, Economics
Kai Zhien

STEER Sulawesi was an amazing experience for me. I was very fortunate to be part of the team to visit this large island called Sulawesi. The unique culture, food, landscape, and wildlife of Sulawesi just surprises me in many ways. I wish this wonderful island can maintain its beauty as many has yet to discover the wonders of this amazing island.

Chan Kai Zhien, Year 2, Mechanical Engineering

Steer Sulawesi was a remarkable experience for me. I was constantly plunged into new sights and sceneries of nature and wildlife, engaged in mind-provoking conversations with the students of Hassanudin university and the Mayor of Makassar while forging new friendships along the way. The trip was indeed an unforgettable one and shall be the topic of many of my coversations in time to come.

Noel Tan Year 2, Economics

I joined STEER Sulawesi with little knowledge about outdoor expeditions and had the experience of a lifetime. I stepped foot on natural landscapes that I had only ever read about in textbooks and stood amazed by the magnificence of it all. Walking along the streets of the towns that had slowly become familiar to me in our two weeks there, I understood the nuancesin their culture. STEER Sulawesi was a window into the world and I had a great time. .