Submitted by Alexandra Markus, Global Ambassador in Singapore: Spring 2012
It’s been a month since I returned from Singapore and I still miss it a ton. Studying abroad has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Although my grades are unlikely to be as good as expected due to the strict bell-curve and the high caliber of students, I met some amazing people whom I will never forget and hope to see again. Below are the most interesting facts about Singapore that I’ve learned during my time abroad. Take the opportunity to study in Singapore!
Hi. I am a durian fruit. I smell REALLY bad, so much so that I’m banned in many local establishments. Durians are a thing in Singapore. You either love them or hate them. According to my boyfriend’s parents, they taste like ice cream.
These movie seats recline all the way and come with blankets. It’s like watching a movie in bed. Plus there’s a button to call someone to get you a drink.
• With one ezlink card you can pay for the metro, commuter rail, the bus, and even taxis!
• Escalators move twice as fast as they do in America.
• The Singaporean accent, also known as Singlish, sounds like an interesting mix of Chinese and Indian accents, with Caribbean undertones.
•Singapore is covered in security cameras. It’s like big brother is always watching. This is why crime is nearly nonexistent. For a 1m x 1m square of MRT station platform, there are 13 security cameras.
- In Singapore, it is illegal to chew gum, go to the toilet without flushing and cleaning the seat, spit on the ground, and urinate in elevators.
- If you are convicted of littering three times, you will be forced to clean the streets on Sundays with a bib that reads “I am a litterer”.
- Singapore has the most millionaires per capita (15.5%) of any country in the world – even Qatar, Dubai, and Luxembourg!
- Despite certain “backwards” laws (for example, it is technically illegal to be a homosexual in Singapore), Singapore youth strike me as very open-minded, progressive, ambitious, and innovative – as well as a lot of fun!
- Singapore is the most “Westernized” country in Asia, but culture shock is still to be expected of Western-born students who have never been to Asia.
- Asian countries within cheap flying distance that are popular destinations for exchangers: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Taiwan, and China.
Is Singapore for you? Definitely if you want to see Asia without the overwhelming culture shock. Definitely if you want to be able to speak English during your trip . Definitely if you want to skip winter (the weather is gorgeous there!) And definitely if you want to spend a semester at a fantastic, top-ranked school with fabulous people!
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