NUS First Impressions
16 October 2018
Chloe who studies MEng in Biochemical Engineering tells us about life in warm Singapore and her first impressions of the National University of Singapore campus!
As I was fortunate enough to be accepted to study my masters at the prestigious National University of Singapore, my blog shall be based around living in Singapore, the opportunities the university has to offer and all the possible things to see and do if you happen to find yourself doing your exchange year in this part of the world.
I will begin with my first impressions of the country itself. The flight from the UK was very long and tiring but there was definite excitement once the plane touched down at Changi Airport, which is one of the best airports I have ever been to – immaculate, helpful staff and rapid processing.
My first big shock was stepping out of the crisp, air-conditioned waiting area of the airport into the Singaporean blaze. All reports about the hot, humid weather can be believed – the sun is often blazing, and heavy -sudden- showers are fairly frequent, especially now as we have entered the rainy season. So be sure to pack plenty of sunblock as well as an umbrella.
However, the unfamiliar climate (at least for someone who has grown up in the UK) has its advantages, with the main one being providing an environment for all the impressive greenery and foliage you see wherever you go, both in and outside of the campus.
At times, it makes one feel as though they are on a tropical getaway, and not walking to their lectures. I personally feel it makes having to study a lot more bearable, as though the workload can be heavy, it eases some of the pressures by being surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Besides the surroundings, there are plenty of other aspects of the university to help you wind down. My halls are located in University Town (known as UTown here) and it is the hub of student activity at NUS. It has the smaller of two gyms (both of which are completely free for NUS students) as well as an outdoor infinity pool on the topmost floor (fear not, there is a lift).
Though that in itself is something to note. You can expect to have to deal with lifts and escalator often as Singapore is filled with high-rise apartment blocks, and the university is no exception. This is mostly due to the fact that the country is physically so small, thus there would be few other ways to house its entire population. So don’t be surprised if you end up having an apartment on the 16th floor, as you would be one of many.
Besides the gym, there are many sports halls and dance studios, an indoor rock-climbing facility, several food courts and eating establishments and more. So, plenty for you to do if you’re not studying. As far as food goes, I happen to be in a catered hall, where meals are provided 6-days a week, so worries about what to eat for dinner are no more. Or rather, they are greatly diminished, but not completely gone as the variety of dishes to choose from in the dining hall is substantial.
With all of this at your doorstep, settling in shouldn’t be a problem if you end up going to NUS.
By Chloe Ogweng