By Sam Haynes (National University of Singapore)
Hey, I’ve finally gotten round to writing my first post! I have actually been in Singapore at NUS for two weeks now and have plenty to report back, both on the positive and, as the title suggests, the more annoying side. Term hasn’t officially started yet so for the last couple of weeks I have been settling in and exploring my new home as well as adjusting to the absurd Singaporean sleeping pattern which includes full meals at 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning.
Things that have gone wrong? (Deep Breath) Originally couldn’t get my student pass (aka visa) as my medical labs reports were fax over rather than being an exact print out of whatever my GP received, travel card didn’t arrive in time so had to survive on large withdrawals, didn’t get a key module as it was full (despite all other Man U physicists getting it) and after nervously entering my first NUS lecture the professor didn’t actually turn up :’( But you know what? All these bumps pale into insignificance when I realise where I am and what I’m doing! I’m over ten thousand kilometres away from my family, enrolled in the best university in Asia and am in courses with as few as six pupils. Also fortunately, the humidity has not been much of a menace (I had images of me dissolving into a puddle of water).
Now the serious stuffs dealt with I think it’s about time for some pretty pictures, don’t you? So I am staying in Tembusu college which is part of the super modern University Town (UTown) complex where a significant portion of NUS students live. A vital part of joining any Singaporean group, whether it be a faculty or interest group, is the orientation. They’re generally non-alcoholic, as it’s too expensive, group activities such as running (often aimlessly although hilariously) around Singapore completing tasks or being forced to eat vile wasabi and green mush filled sandwiches. The picture below is of the #tembusudragons besides the Tembusu tree in the Botanical gardens. This tree is particularly symbolic because it is featured on every $5 note in Singapore and is one of the few trees that actually pre-date the gardens.
The Tembusu Dragons, #winners #supremerulersoftheuniverse, were my orientation group and the winners of the four day orientation camp (all thanks to my profound beauty of course, see my Instagram page for proof, @dimmestpixie). Throughout the last fortnight I have also watch the University’s Rag and Flag concert which celebrates all the money the university raised for charity after bucket shaking at MRT (tube) stations across the country. I have also manage to find time to visit the iconic Chinatown and Little India both of which are jam packed with culture and a whole range of temples. In the end I have only just touch the surface of what Singapore has to offer and despite there being some hiccups along the way I can honestly say I LOVE IT!