As an exclusively English-speaking student, finding a fitting university in Asia can be hard. Singapore seemed to be the ideal choice for an engineer as it is a hyper-technological, English-speaking country in the middle of South-East Asia.
I ended up at NTU, Nanyang Technological University, which is a favorable university for studying technology. It is a fairly new university and the rules aren’t as strict nor as enforced as you would otherwise expect in a very strictly ruled country.
It took more than 20 hours to fly the distance of over 10,000km from Denmark to Singapore and I was, as expected, quite spent by the time I arrived. Fortunately the local students living in Hall 10 (one of over 20 dorms on campus) were friendly and gave me a warm welcome to my new home, where I would share a double room with a local Singaporean student for the coming semester.
After getting settled on the enormous campus (imagine Starbucks, McD, KFC, 3 gyms, 3 bus routes on campus and 3 bus routes to and from campus) I had to pay a few obligatory fees and was invited to go on some cheap tourist tours with the other exchange students.
New friends: One Big Family
I signed up and let the mingling begin, and boy was that a good choice. I can strongly recommend going on any kind of trip you can because after spending a day with a group of people who have something in common, you’ll have a much easier time joining that group of friends.
In my case I met Andy on the tours and we kept expanding our little posse until we had over 25 members in our Facebook group at which point it started to saturate. We found quickly there’s an upper limit to how many people can go out for dinner on a given day etc. That being said, we still had a large group for all the exchangers called One Big Family, where parties and events that included everyone were announced.
Course work and exams
Regarding the course work and exams I was pleasantly surprised to find that everything was conducted in English with proficient English-speaking lecturers. The difficulty level was as expected, but I found the obligatory workload and hand-ins were fewer and farther between than I was used to. One thing that surprised me was the written mid-term exams that I found just as difficult as the final exam, and they weighed 20-35% of my final grade. You don’t skip studying the first half of the semester with these midterms!
Vacations at the weekends
Since Singapore is in the heart of South-East Asia it is borderline obligatory to go on cheap vacations at the weekends. A plane ticket
to the Philippines, Malaysia or Indonesia will set you back no more than 300DKK. In my exchange semester I managed to tick off Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, and after the semester I decided to go the Far East and visit Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.
I did all of this on SU and the internationalization fund, I did not go into debt. This is possible when accommodation, transportation and food are but a fraction of Scandinavian prices.
All in all I had a pleasant time studying in Singapore, and being part of the gargantuan technological community that is NTU has been an experience way above my expectations.