Jacob - Nanyang Technological University

B Engineering (Hons)/Arts
Semester 2, 2019
A unique chance to learn how Engineers in Singapore overcome contemporary engineering challenges.

Academic experience

I was very lucky to have the chance to study at NTU – their engineering program is will-funded and well-refined. One challenge I did find however, was in adapting to NTU’s way of teaching things and presenting course content, as it was more unlike UQ than I had expected.

I took 4 subjects (14 AU) at NTU, equal to credit for 4 UQ subjects (8 units). Even though my major is chemical engineering, NTU allowed me to take a mechanical engineering (MA) subject for credit toward my major. During NTU’s Academic Semester 1, I took:

CH2103, Fluids Systems for CHEE2003, Fluids & Particle Mechanics

CH3103, Chemical Thermodynamics for CHEE3003, Chemical Thermodynamics

MA3003 Heat Transfer for CHEE3002, Heat and Mass Transfer

CH2140, Unit Operations for CHEE3004, Unit Operations

As you can see, NTU has a lot of engineering subjects with the same or very similar names as UQ subjects, making it easier to find equivalent credit.

Personal experience

This was the first time I'd lived overseas for an extended period of time, so the first few weeks certainly brought with them unique challenges just trying to adapt to life in Singapore. But even though those first few weeks were super scary, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!

From shopping on Orchard Road, to Universal Studios, Singapore is full of things to do. I also had to the chance to go on a tour of Singaporean cuisine with NTU’s exchange club – Singapore has so many unique and exciting dishes from around the world it’s a foodie’s paradise.

There’s also a lot of amazing things to do just outside of Singapore – you can take a ferry to St John’s Island for a day trip, or pop over the border for a weekend in Malaysia – the choice is yours!


I chose to live off-campus in non-university-specific student dorms. Because of that, I had the chance to meet and make friends with a bunch of people from all around the world who had come to Singapore for all kinds of university programs. Learning to live with such a mixed bunch of people was challenging, but getting to know them was definitely rewarding.

If I had to do it again, however, I’d definitely consider on-campus living as well – not so much for the convenience, but more so I had to chance to experience all the activities exclusive to hall life at NTU.


I found living in Singapore to be quite affordable – although there are plenty of exclusive and high-end shops and restaurants in the city centre if you have cash to burn, food and drink was generally the same, if not cheaper, price as in Australia. Public transport is also a lot more affordable – and a lot more available – in Singapore!

I was lucky enough to receive both an OS-HELP loan as well as a small scholarship, and that was more than enough to cover my flights, accommodation and food, etc. It’s hard to recommend a specific budget, since it depends so much on how much you spend usually, but I’d definitely say Singapore is more than survivable on a normal budget.


My biggest challenge was figuring out what to do when I fell sick right before exam season! I was super lucky to have made some great friends while I was over there who were willing to help me however they could so I could recover asap, but I would definitely recommend that, regardless of how long you’re away on exchange, make sure you know what your plan is in case you get sick, etc.

Professional Development

I chose to go on exchange in Singapore because I wanted to understand what engineering is like in other countries and how engineers in those countries approach problems. Although a lot of this was done via my studies, I had the change to explore and collaborate on a number of case studies that related directly to real life engineering challenges in Singapore. For example, in CH2140, we had to chance to work with Exxon Mobil Singapore engineers on a case study concerning operational issues at a refinery just off the coast of Singapore.


Easily the highlight was just being able to explore Singapore - to see and learn how life there works.

Top tips

My main advice would be to find an exchange university that has more than an overabundance of courses you can take for credit. Courses and timetables can and will change a lot in the time between applying and going on exchange, so if you can find a uni with more than enough back-up courses, it'll make your exchange a lot less stressful.