Tze Chieh Contessa Loh
'The language skills that I learnt at UC have helped me immensely in my work as a coach and archer...'
Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies and Japanese
Archery Coach, Flaming Arrows Archery Club, Singapore
Contessa has a few ideas about where her degree could take her. She would like to become a professional translator, a travel writer, a language teacher, or follow her other huge interest – sport.
As an archer, she represents her home country Singapore in team and individual events. When starting studies at UC, she was awarded a 2015 UC Foundation Sports Scholarship to support her training in her spare time around study.
‘I was very grateful to be awarded the sports scholarship. Financially, it helped pay for part of my travel and equipment expenses – I was involved in four international competitions in my first year at UC,’ she says. ‘Furthermore, I was given access to a lot of athlete support. Being able to work with a sports psychologist and physiotherapist throughout my archery season played a big part in my achieving my new personal best.’
Contessa started archery when she was nine, when her father signed her up for a beginner’s archery course.
‘It was only after I started winning local competitions that I became hooked and started taking my training more seriously. That eventually led to my qualifying for the Singapore National Archery Team and going on to represent Singapore in international competitions.’
An early career highlight for Contessa was winning the bronze medal for Singapore at the 2012 World Archery Indoor Championships in Las Vegas.
‘It was the first World archery medal for Singapore and it took everything I had to steel my nerves and shoot against several top shooters from all over the world. That same year, I came in fifth at the Indoor Archery World Cup Finals – the furthest any Singaporean archer had ever gone – and it was against many professional top archers. I was only an amateur who was still in high school. ’
When it came to university, her love for learning languages and exploring the world led her to UC to study Japanese and Cultural Studies.
'UC is awesome!' she says. 'Getting to do what I love every day was pretty fun! It feels really amazing when you finally realise you can think and communicate in an entirely new language.
'The Arts degree at UC is really flexible, which meant I could pick up several new languages while studying other subjects at the same time. I loved studying Russian at UC so much (even though it was only a semester) that I registered myself at a local Russian school since coming home to Singapore.’
Contessa was made an Arts Scholar in her first year through a scholarship award for her excellent results.
'I chose to come here because I did not want to miss the opportunity of studying at a top-notch university which not only has an excellent studying environment but is also located in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Furthermore, I got to meet so many amazing people – both students and lecturers – from around the world.
She adds: 'It was really fun conversing with the teaching staff – they have a great sense of humour and are very friendly and approachable. But what stands out the most about them is the incredibly huge amount of passion that they have about what they do. It is from their passion and energy that students in UC are given a lot of support and opportunities to grow and challenge their limits.'
It is perhaps the competitor in Contessa that this appeals to. She urges other young students to 'just go for it! You never know what exciting adventures await you out there!'
Since graduating UC, Contessa has gone onto more international archery competitions, and is now also a coach at the Flaming Arrows Archery Club based in Singapore.
‘The language skills that I have learnt at UC have helped me immensely as it allowed me to connect with people from different parts of Asia and Europe in my work as a coach and an archer,’ she says.
She also went on to place 4th in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, where she achieved two new Personal Bests and National Records.