I chose to study abroad because I wanted adventure. Living in Montreal, with my parents, my entire life made me realize I needed my independence. What better way to experience independence than to study abroad? And with a generous scholarship from my school that covered my tuition and most of my living expenses, there was nothing stopping me.A traditional Balinese barong dance (Right) Delicious Balinese food! (Below)
I was also interested in Asian culture and love Asian food, I decided to go to Asia and experience it myself. Although I’ve been an overachiever all my life and academically driven, I didn’t have nearly enough guts to learn an entire Asian language, having watched many people close to me struggle to master Mandarin, and desired a moderate rather than an extreme culture shock. Singapore seemed like the best option to do that, as National University of Singapore holds its classes in English. Finally, since Singapore is at the confluence of three major Asian cultures, Chinese, Malay, and Indian, I felt like I was hitting three birds with one stone.
Another pleasant bonus about Singapore was my proximity to my boyfriend’s family. Joseph, my boyfriend, was born and raised in Singapore and was able to join me for my first month to show me the ropes. He did an excellent job of that, and his parents were even so kind as to send us on a trip to the beautiful island of Bali. When we weren’t in Bali, Sentosa, or Malaysia, we were warmly hosted by Joe’s parents, who are possibly the kindest, most giving people I have ever met.Joe’s family and I at the Merlion in Sentosa, where we spent a wonderful weekend at Siloso Beach from Jan 1-2.
For me, Singapore is a chance to explore my interests aside from my major, physiology. The physiology program at McGill is very specific, so there wasn’t much wiggle room when choosing courses at NUS to count as equivalents. This meant that I was only allowed to take courses for my minor or electives. And that’s exactly what I did.
For my theatre minor, I’m taking EN3229: Shakespeare in His Time and Ours. For my Social Studies of Medicine minor, I’m taking SC3214: Sociology of the Life Course and Ageing. As electives, I’m exploring my interests in evolutionary biology, adolescent psychology, and journalism, taking LSM4253: Behavioural Biology, PL3244: Adolescent Psychology and NM3211: Media Reporting and Editing.
Because the campus is so darn huge, we are driven around in these shuttle busses, which come often…. except when you’re late for your next class at the opposite end of campus!
I live in U-Town, which just opened in Fall 2011. It’s a student paradise, complete with a convenience store, several good restaurants, a coffeeshop, residences, and even classrooms!
The accomodations are okay. For all those who plan on studying at NUS, do NOT ask for an Air-Conditioned room! I know this sounds totally counter-intuitive, but the non-A/C ones have a fan, and the extra-cost associated with A/C is not for A/C. It’s for the POSSIBILITY of having A/C….for six additional dollars a day (on top of the extra money I’m already paying for the POSSIBILITY of having A/C)!
I look forward to updating you on my time in Singapore. So far I’m loving the weather – I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it! Being in Singapore made me realize that I want to live in a milder climate than Montreal because I can really do without our harsh winters.
Here’s some of the highlights so far:
Submitted by Alex, Abroad101 Global Ambassador in Singapore.