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IN PROGRESS OF BEING WRITTEN

For those that don’t follow me on other forms of social media, I am currently studying abroad at The National University of Singapore. This is a semester away from my studies at The University of Nottingham.

Why the Hell Did You Do That?

An excellent question. With being fortunate enough to travel a lot with my family through my life, I’ve seen lots of the world. But I wanted to see more. As you can probably see from my other blog posts on this site, I’ve also been on two incredible trips to Iceland and Japan in recent years with Scouts. After visiting Japan, I was intrigued by Asian culture and so decided to apply to Singapore when it came up as an option!

I made a promotional video for my university about studying in Singapore. You can take a look at it below!

— I STILL NEED TO ADD THIS —

The University

The university in Singapore that was on offer to me was The National University of Singapore (NUS). It is currently 11th in QS World Rankings 2019… So it seems to be performing a little better than Nottingham! Although most people know by now that that isn’t everything.

Singapore itself is about 50km from eastern-most to western-most point, and about 27km from north to south. In reality I think the shape of it is most like a rotated (and squished) rectangle. NUS lies in the south in roughly the middle of the country. In fact, from my accommodation you can see the Port of Singapore, which is famous for transshipping a half of the world’s annual supply of crude oil and is the world’s busiest transshipment port. The parts in red below show exactly what Singapore is geographically.

Singapore is also home to what I can only describe as “funky” architecture. There’s a precariously placed set of blocks that make up accommodation in the city centre, the famous Marina Bay Sands (3 skyscrapers with a boat on top), and some cool looking metal trees (also known as Gardens by the Bay).

NUS itself resembles The University of Nottingham in the way that they are both campuses and both run shuttle buses due to their size. Nottingham’s University Park has an area of 1.3km^2 and NUS’ Kent Ridge Campus has an area of 1.5km^2… The only difference is that walking outside in Singapore for more than 5 minutes can be exhausting, dehydrating, and sunburning (I’ve done this before). Oh, and potentially drenching if it decides to rain (the rain and storms here are very intense!). So the air-conditioned shuttle buses at NUS seem to be a bit more necessary to me.

Accommodation

I was put into accommodation at the south-east side in the largest of the accommodation on campus called Prince George’s Park Residences (PGPR), housing just over 3000 people. If you’re studying at The University of Nottingham, then I would liken it a lot to Broadgate Park (housing just over 2200 people), except where everything is built vertically — some blocks at PGPR were 9 stories high!

One of the options available was to have air-conditioning in your room or not (bear in mind we’re working with 32 degrees Celsius and 95% humidity all-day)… I was not successful in my application to get one of the air-conditioned rooms, but I am still alive today! After the first week or two the temperature for sleeping hasn’t been too much of a problem, but I did take about 3 showers per day to cool down when I first arrived!

There were lots of other options for accommodation, but it doesn’t really matter too much where you’re placed because of the shuttle buses. However the accommodation options at University Town (or UTown — basically a smaller extension to the main Kent Ridge campus) means you can get involved with extra-curricular activities easier — the main entrance to UTown often serves as a place where live music and fairs are held, and the Stephen Riady Centre at UTown is home to a lot of the sports and arts-based societies. You can see a video featuring the Learning Resource Centre and Stephen Riady Centre surrounding the UTown green below.

Food

I think that the food and food culture here is incredible.

Part of what I see as the ‘typical’ Singaporean culture is to eat lots of different cuisines with lots of different friends.

On both UTown and at PGPR, there are 2 large food courts — all packed with roughly 10 or more different stalls with different cuisines — so I spent a lot of time eating at these with different friends and sharing lots of different foods! And everyone seems to do this. And there are also these large food courts in each of the different faculties on campus. I think that there are few people who don’t go to a food court during their day at NUS!

In the city centre, you also encounter (as well as your usual restaurants) these food courts — and they’re great places to socialise and eat great food!

Studying

This is what my home university thinks was my main motive for studying abroad… For me personally, the studying aspect at NUS was tougher than at Nottingham, but still very enjoyable! As a mathematics student, I studied modules titled Mathematical Analysis III (included things on metric and topological spaces, and some real analysis), Applied Algebra (included basic group and ring theory with applications to basic cryptography and coding theory), and Mathematical Modelling (including some specific applications of ODEs to the real-world, with an emphasis on population models and some basic stability analysis).

The study spaces at NUS are plentiful and very nice to work in! There are libraries for each of the different faculties, as well as various study rooms in my accommodation at PGPR. UTown is also very well equipped with study spaces in the Education Resource Centre, as well as some space in a 24-hour Starbucks! With the huge quantity and types of spaces, you can usually find a space to study somewhere.

Travelling

With Singapore being so central in South-East Asia, it was so easy to travel around the area a bit. In fact, I managed two separate trips to Malaysia, a trip to Vietnam, and a trip to Taiwan!

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