By Chloe Coradetti, Mechanical Engineering, The National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
After a calm week of adaptation to my new environment in a pretty much empty campus, orientation week finally starts!
There is a special orientation week for exchangers, and therefore I met a lot of people from all around the globe… expect from Singapore itself at first.
Nevertheless, the city tours were organized and run by NUS full time students volunteering to walk/guide us around, which was an excellent opportunity to meet some lovely local students and get a first glimpse of the influence of the culture on social behaviors.
A student fair with loads of free goodies, sport events, concerts, dragon boating (absolutely brilliant!) and parties were organized !
Along with the fun events, I had to register for my modules which required negotiations and also apply for a student visa pass; it was a packed schedule!
Following this very exciting week, where it was a real challenge to remember as many names and faces as possible, University started.
The lectures are pretty much in the same format as in Manchester: the lecturer teaches us with the help of some slides available from the NUS teaching platform, similar to blackboard. The only difference that I’ve noticed is that the lectures and tutorials are a little bit less interactive. Questions often remained unanswered (are people shyer than in the UK?…) I end up answering a good part of them when I happen to know the answer-ish. Therefore I feel like I might be fulfilling the exchanger stereotype to be “loud” … I hope not too much, or at least not in a negative way!
Regarding tutorial classes, they are in nice smaller size classes, which enabled me to make some friends more easily than in a 300 persons lecture theaters.
!!!IMPORTANT NOTE!!! YOU WILL FREEZE TO DEATH in those lecture theaters … Singapore has an unconditional love for air-conditioning, to a point where it strongly question any kind of logic.
Everyone is in the obligation to bring a jumper, and therefore have to carry it whenever they leave the room as the average temperature outside is a sweaty-humid 28 degrees Celsius. To know more about my first impressions of Singapore, the first cultural differences that I’ve spotted and the start of the academic year, you can find some videos on my Youtube Channel.
The excitement of being in another country has not faded away after a few weeks. In fact, it probably just increased, now that I have a bunch of fun friends to wonder around the city with.
The next 6 weeks went so fast, it felt like a glimpse!
Nonetheless, I did an impressive amount of activities such as; visiting museums, temples, eating local food in delicious and cheap hawker centers (foodcourts), biking around Pulau Ubin, signing up for boxing classes, firework for the 50th anniversary of the nation, eating more local food (seriously, Singaporeans are crazy about food), Dreamwork exhibition, “teaching” French, got a henna tattoo in little India (where else??), reggae concert, visiting Tioman in Malaysia, Singapore F1 Grand Prix … and much more!
Here is a video compilation of what I’ve been up to those past weeks!
Next thing I knew is that I have some midterms in a few days. This is when I’ve learnt a new, very popular word in Singapore: mugging. It means to study intensively at whatever time of the day or night. I’ve tried to copy my Singaporean roommates in their study pattern but I could not follow. More than once a week they would study until 2 to 4AM and still make it to their 10AM lectures.
Well, even if I did make it to my 10AM, I would probably be asleep on my tiny desk by 10:05AM … How do they do it?? I’m still trying to unravel their secret… to be followed
Mugging was for sure hard, but necessary as I did not fully realized until week-1 before my midterms that already half a semester had gone. HALF A SEMESTER ??!! 25% of my year abroad experience!
It came as a shock realizing it! The fact that my Mancunian friends had barely started Uni yet, might be one of the reason, with the fact that as I started Uni on the 3rd of August it felt like I did not had much of a summer break (so maybe I took it, here in Singapore… maybe?!)
Nevertheless, when you know that an 8 days trip to the Philippines awaits you after your midterms, motivation is way easier to find! 😉
Date: 20th of September
Next post will be about the actual midterms and the one week holiday in the Philippines