Thomas Espaas // Chemical Engineering // National University of Singapore // Singapore
Ever since I got my exchange confirmation I have been so excited. This trip has been the main thing occupying my mind over the past 6 months and it feels great to finally have arrived! I have now completed my first week of classes, and Singapore seems absolutely amazing so far. At the same time, after months of preparations and expectations, it almost feels kind of strange to actually be here.
One of the first things that struck me upon arrival was the physical state of the city. While I have heard several people talk about how modern and clean the city was, I didn’t realise to what extent that was true until I actually got the opportunity to walk around and see it for myself. Anywhere you go, you’ll see structures, buildings and a skyline which are simply astonishing, and barely any litter whatsoever (which, btw, is forbidden by law and fined harshly).
Further, I’ve found people here to be very easy to get along with. While I am a bit disappointed with how the university kind of seems to bulk all the exchange students together, which results in a separation of exchange students from local students, I guess it is kind of understandable. Exchange students often come to a location for the same reasons, have interests in common and have similar plans for their stay. All of which results in exchange students connecting easily. This have been further amplified by several orientation events organized by the university and societies.
All of these events, along with other necessary matters to sort out (buying bedding, stationary etc, opening a bank account, buying a SIM card) have made the past couple of weeks quite hectic, especially the last one, as classes have started as well. I think keeping preoccupied has been favourable though, as it has helped keep my mind of leaving home (and not returning to Manchester). Hopefully, this isn’t something that will catch up to me once everything starts to settle down as university starts properly, but for now I at least I am very much enjoying my time in Singapore, and I am extremely eager to see what the upcoming semester will entail!