An offer he couldn’t turn down

AUTUMN OF MEMORIES: With a four-day work week, Zheng Le often
had the chance to explore many different places in Seattle, Washington.
(PHOTO: Heng Zheng Le)

The chance to travel overseas and learn from the some of the world’s best game designers was an offer Heng Zheng Le could not refuse.

The 20-year-old was among five School of Technology for the Arts (STA) students who travelled to the United States in Sept, last year for a 15-week internship programme at DigiPen Institute of Technology. There, the students were mentored by distinguished professionals and professors from DigiPen Game Studios.

“When I found out that I might get a chance to travel overseas and stay there for a period of time, I could only think about the positive and new things that I might experience,” said Zheng Le. “It was an offer I could not refuse.”

DigiPen is a renowned name among gamers. In 2015, it partnered Japanese gaming giant Nintendo to launch the DigiPen Game Studios in Singapore. They aim to discover and publish new video games from Singapore.

Zheng Le heard about the opportunity from his lecturers. The trip to the Institute was STA’s first.

Before the trip, Zheng Le was apprehensive as it was his first overseas trip without his parents. But the fears were quickly allayed. “I was expecting a culture shock there,” he said. “However, the area I lived in was pretty similar to Singapore, and the people were friendly and helpful.”

The students were also briefed on the cultural differences and provided information before they left for Redmond, Washington.

After their 15-week stint in the United States, the students flew back to Singapore where they went to another company to work for five more weeks to complete the internship requirement.

Zheng Le said the experience in the United States helped him as an aspiring game designer. “The things I think I would unable to learn here would be the design aspect,” he said. “The United States is big and not short of resources or places to teach and inspire me as a designer.”