by Sofia Roche, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Going to a new university is a big change. It’s kind of like starting as a Yr. 1 and having to get used to a new campus, learning styles, applications and much more. The positive side is NUS is extremely organized and everything you need will be communicated to your through you NUS email.
One of the biggest university culture shocks was the size of the campus. As a business student all my classes were in the same area (BIZ 1 & 2) but there is a lot more to explore of the campus. To move around there are free (NUS) buses which take you around, and most stop at the closest MRT (metro station). It is also nice to walk around as all the buildings are surrounded by nature and have places to sit. You will also most likely visit the majority of the campus because your Visa and final registration duties are spread around the campus. Another positive about having a big campus is there’s ample space to study and have lunch. There are many sports around campus to eat or grab a coffee, some more expensive and others are very reasonable.
Another thing is that the teaching style is very different from UoM. Some classes have exams and others have continuous grading throughout the semester. I personally have enjoyed doing project based courses with continuous grading instead of one exam courses. Not only does it take pressure off taking final exams but its also nice to get to know the people in your classes.
The classes are also longer, they are blocked for 3 hours but most last 2.5hrs. This has been a big shock as I previously could barely make it through a 2hr. lecture. I think the 3hr style works because classes are of 30-40 people and they are very interactive. The teachers make a big effort to make class interesting and the length of the class allows for practical applications of what you’re learning. I have also found that to be a nice change, because the first hour you learn theory and then you apply it through a case study or demonstration (depending on the class).
Apart from class, the exchange society and business school makes sure to arrange days to meet the other exchange students. The pictures above are from the first exchangers event and the team I was in won overall, so we were gifted themed gifts and snacks. I think this is another great way to get to know even more people and participate in ice breaker activities. This day was Harry Potter themed and everyone was broken off into groups with names from characters from the movie (hence the Snape Sign). One of the best events was a broken telephone game where we learned the local slang called Singlish (Singapore/Mandarin + English). The event was also a great way to tour the campus and ask local students about their experience at NUS and for tips and tricks.
Until next time!