NUS Exams and Journeying to the Pearl of the Orient

7 February 2019

In her second blog, Chloe talks about the challenge of being assessed in a different educational system as well as her exciting trip to Hong Kong!

chloe blog

Hey guys!

So my second blog post will mainly be detailing my first trip abroad since I came to Singapore. And, in case the title wasn’t enough of a giveaway, I went to…*drumroll*…

Hong Kong!

However, before that, I would like to speak briefly on the education side of things at NUS. As this is aimed at UCL students, I want to warn you about the difficulties you may face assimilating with the system here. Specifically the engineers, as I can’t speak too much for other courses. But the Singaporean method of assessment (standardised, with ‘bell-curve’ grading) differs greatly to the UCL-way of doing things.

 I really want to ensure you’re aware of what you’re stepping into, as all the exchangers I have spoken to from the UK share very similar sentiments. It can be difficult getting used to, so don’t hesitate to speak out about it, or seek assistance and support from your study abroad/home tutor.

That disclaimer out of the way, on to the fun stuff!


So, I chose Hong Kong as my first destination as I wanted to spend time with a friend who is only here for a semester. Additionally, having worked throughout the term without a proper break, I felt I had earned it, and wanted to be of fresh mind before I began my final exams. One positive about the exams here is that their set-up means you don’t really need much of a study-leave period provided you study during the

term. And I was keen to make up for lost travelling time.

It was an unforgettable, three-day-long adventure. Technically it was four, but by the time my friend’s plane arrived, night had fallen and there wasn’t a lot we could do besides head to our hostel. However, the dark skies created the perfect background for Hong Kong’s iconic lights, with the city completely illuminated by colourful neon. We got to experience an even more dazzling display when we took an evening cruise that same night.

But neither compared to the spectacular view we experienced on our final evening, after climbing to the top of Victoria Peak. The initial plan had been to take the tram - tourist favourite- however, as someone forgot to book the tickets on time, we spontaneously decided to hike it after braving the Ladies’ Market earlier in the day. What followed was two hours of trudging up the steepest slopes I’ve ever encountered in my life, and a view that instantly made me forget about all the struggling I had been subjected to mere moments before.

Between facing my rollercoaster fears (my friend nearly went deaf) and meeting Mickey and Co. at my favourite Disneyland yet (though I suspect Tokyo might knock it off the top spot when I go next year), and gorging on delicious dim sum until my stomach nearly exploded, Hong Kong became a contender for my favourite place in the world. It really is a city of such character: the juxtaposition of new buildings versus old; traditional versus modern and understated versus flashy was enough to keep my head spinning -in the best way- for the entire trip. If you have the opportunity to go, you need to take it; it is a travelling-must. I assure you, you won’t regret it if you do!


By Chloe Ogweng