Lily - Nanyang Technological University

B Commerce
Semester 2, 2018
My exchange welcomed me to the joys of immersion and exploration.

Academic experience

I studied a variety of business and finance courses. The thing I enjoyed most about their education system was their replacement of traditional lecture-style classes for smaller, more interactive seminars. Students always sat in groups, which allowed you to get along with other students. Eventually getting enough courses approved by both universities was a bit tedious. I found that filling your course list with as much courses as you can (at least 15) should save you some time constantly looking through their course list to fill the approved course quota. The registration process wasn’t too hard, I was fine with the instructions that were emailed to my university email.

Personal experience

I gained a lot of friendships, not just from Singapore, but from all over the world. Their food is absolutely delicious and very affordable. I also thoroughly enjoyed the endless number of shopping malls that I could explore and splurge every week.

Accommodation

On campus. I would suggest living on campus as this does add a lot to your exchange experience. Each hall (dormitory building) came with their own clubs and societies, making a nice community. It is also very affordable, however it is a bit far from the main city via public transport. I would suggest bringing/purchasing a single bed sheet, blanket and pillows. You also need an ethernet cable (an adaptor for it as well if required) and a laptop to connect to the internet. It doesn’t seem like you can connect with only a tablet/phone. If you want to connect wirelessly (to your phone, for example), you have to buy a modem.

Costs

Accommodation, food and public transport were all extremely cheap. Grabs (Uber-equivalent) are also relatively cheap especially if split amongst a group of people (just make sure you always have cash on hand). Other items such as clothing, souvenirs or clothes aren’t too far off from Australian prices. I recorded all of my expenses on a spreadsheet and recommend a budget of about $6000 for the entire semester.

Challenge

Honestly, the biggest challenge during my experience was applying for exchange in the first place. I had so many doubts and I didn’t even expect to make it to Singapore until the very last confirmation email. But I treated every pre-departure process as if it was just homework that I had to do, and well, it turned out to be the best decision I have ever made! As long as you know how to keep yourself relatively healthy and safe, and you are RESPONSIBLE and keep all of your needed documents in one place, as well as read through all of the application processes thoroughly, you will be just fine!

Professional Development

I developed more independence, but also learnt about how to work as a team. It allowed me to adopt a global mindset, where I gained a diverse range of knowledge by experiencing different cultures. It also increased my confidence and most of all, my courage after knowing I could survive all on my own in a foreign country. My 'Working in the 21st Century' course gave us all kinds of tips about how to survive the modern day working world which I would highly recommend to those who are interested!

Highlight

On campus they had a Macdonalds, Starbucks AND KFC, which had chocolate-filled egg tarts to which I consumed after many classes. There are also a lot of food courts to get a taste of a variety of Asian foods!

Top tips

1. You don’t want to be sick for a majority of your exchange, so being Panadol, tea, and any other possible remedies in preparation (you might want to bring a small kettle for your dorm)
2. Join at least one club at university. The students there are very friendly and welcoming.
3. Try to make a goal of exploring somewhere at least once a week. This is to make sure you aren’t rushing to see all of the wonders of Singapore in the last week of your exchange.
4. You might want to invest in some sort of dehumidifier for your closet (especially if you work out a lot) as it does get quite humid. It also rains quite a lot so bring an umbrella.
5. Remember to hand in your student pass at the airport at the end of your exchange, I just asked the information desk who informed me where to go once I had gone through customs had access to the departure gates. Not sure what happens if you fail to hand it over, but just to be sure! It may be easy to overlook.
6. Consider a trip to Indonesia and Malaysia with some friends at some point, perhaps in the last few weeks or during the mid-semester break.
7. Buy a dustpan for your dorm. Hair gets everywhere especially if you’re a girl.
8. Have a look at Octopus Singapore Exchange Students on Facebook, they hosted a bunch of free events (food + transport) for us exchange students. I wish I had discovered it sooner!
9. Don't depend on the university exchange club to provide you with many Singapore experiences, you yourself have to be responsible for exploring the country most of the time!