By Chloe Coradetti, Mechanical Engineering, The National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
First, a little retrospective on my adventure so far which I wrote on my Facebook wall in December 2015:
The first semester is coming to an end,
I’ve been through a great range of difference experiences, beginning by meeting awesome, intellectual, hilarious, enriching people which I went on some adventures with, at boxing classes, skateboarding, partying, laughing, dragon boating, chatting philosophically or politically until 3AM…
The moments of doubts and of sorrow from being away from home during some darks time in Paris, or the moments of frustration from some cultural differences are all largely overbalanced by the amazing things you learn, witness, understand, explore, share or receive during an experience abroad.
I’m really looking forward for holidays and the next semester, with its load of adventure and surprises.
To all the people I’ve met who are now going home after their semester’s exchange, thanks for sharing meaningful and silly moments with me! I’ll miss you!
Ok, at first I just wanted to share the picture of the view from the 21st floor of Cinnamon (ashamed to say, it’s actually the 1st time I made it all the way up here) but I guess I got a bit carried away when glancing at the horizon of lights …
Exams – December 2015
I usually deal well with exams stress; after all, I’ve already done a fair amount of them, nothing new there.
But this time it was different; The National University of Singapore is ranked amongst the best, if not the very first university in South East Asia for my degree, Mechanical Engineering. That adds a tiiiny bit of pressure for end of the semester examinations…. right?!
Let me tell you a bit more about the exam process:
Like in Manchester, the examinations are spread on 2 weeks with a reading week before hand.
Like in Manchester, the library is absolutely crowded (seriously, who ever manages to get a seat in Ali G?!).
Unlike in Manchester, the sun is almost always out which allowed me to wonder around outside for a study break, juggling, skateboarding, giggling with friends or even studying outside.
Unlike in Manchester, it is hard to get out of the campus without taking a significant amount of time off studying. Therefore, you just stay on campus. But the high level of stress that a lot of people are struggling with can be contagious; the atmosphere could feel toxic sometimes.
The on-campus Starbuck became the home of hyper caffeinated zombies mugging (studying intensively #singlish) at insane hours of the night.
In the middle of all of that, I managed to keep my head up, thanks to my motivating results from the midterms and some good studying buddies.
Ready … Set … Go!
We are all sitting at our little table, in one of the big gymnasium converted for this very special occasion: Heat Transfer paper.
I was close to the wall, where the air conditioning is hanging from… I would have gladly dismantled it into piece (surely they would have given me an A in Heat Transfer for that), while singing Let it Go, because I was frozen…bloody AC.
Ok, I’ll stop complaining now; it’s my Parisian side, I’m sorry. But seriously tho, Singapore has a problem with overusing AC.
Nothing special to note about the exams, just the same procedure than in the University of Manchester: find your little table, fill up your name, “listen” to the guy screaming the examination protocol, turn paper over, brain sweat intensively for 2 hours aaaaaand DONE!
Best part about it: Exams are BEFORE the holidays! Six weeks of travelling with friends and family was awaiting me and I had to worry about literally NOTHING academic wise. What a great feeling!
Before going on Christmas holidays, which I will let you know all about in the next blog post, the end of the semester took an emotional turn when it was time to say goodbye to some great friends.
Indeed, not everyone has the chance (or the desire) to go on exchange for an entire year. Therefore, an awful lot of exchanger friends that I’ve shared adventures and laughter with, were leaving Singapore. The National University of Singapore’s International Office organised an Exchange Farewell Party on campus for a last gathering, as they did organised a beginning of the semester farewell party.
Well, let me tell you that your attitude won’t be the same at the first and the last party. Clearly at the beginning you are probably watching slightly your attitude to meet as many people as possible. After all, that’s by opening up more possibilities first that you’ll find the right mates.
At the End of the Semester party, you don’t care about making a good impression anymore; you just have fun with your friends, letting that weird humour all out! It feels amazing! I’ve realized that I can just be me wherever, in whatever cultural context; there will always be some people who share common interests and then the whole planet started to feel like home.
After the fairwell, we celebrated further during the following week.
The crew that I’ll miss the most is definitely the Saboteur/Mafia one. How fun where those night, spent arguing over card games on the beautifully lit campus!
I don’t know when we would manage to see each other again, but one thing is very certain: they are very welcome to crash at mine if ever they visit Europe, as I’m sure to have somewhere to crash at if I visit the States, Hong Kong, Germany, Canada, Switzerland… and many more!
Once you’re hooked on the travelling train, you never really get off…