An Entire Year Exchange in Singapore?!

大家好 – Hello everyone!

我的名字是 Nikita – My name is Nikita.

Okay, enough Mandarin.

I am an International student from St. Lucia in the Caribbean studying Medical Engineering at Surrey. For my second year I decided to go to Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore! You might be wondering why I started off in Mandarin as you would have been told that English is the language of choice in Singapore. This is true! -to some extent. However, Singapore in fact has four official languages; Mandarin, Tamil, Malay and English. Each language is representative of each major ethnic group in Singapore. If this cultural diversity does not already scream how interesting your exchange in Singapore will be, I don’t know what will. Maybe food? Because there is A LOT of that too, and it is cheap!

Since we must be completely honest with each other, I would have to say that the food is what I will miss most about this exchange. There is food from all around the world, everywhere, at all hours… for £3 average?! Is this real life?!

My favourite places in Singapore are the cultural districts. I believe these truly give you a feel of how diverse this country is. Stepping in and out of these areas feels like teleporting. Everything transforms, from the architecture and food right through to the people. They are a must see! The other thing that truly fascinates me about Singapore is how quickly it then transforms into sky rises, 5-star hotels and the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool! Get a taste of culture, food and the highlife all in one day.

The Sultan Mosque – Arab Street

Whether you have gotten a place at NTU, SMU or NUS you are going to have a great time but as I go to NTU I can only tell you specifically about NTU. Last semester there were 1000+ exchange students at NTU, their largest intake ever and over 900 for this semester. That means even more diversity! You will meet people from places you never even knew existed (although I am usually on the receiving end of this). [If you do not know where or what St. Lucia is, google it and thank me later.]

Exchange Orientation

In terms of academics, I find studying at NTU quite like the experience at Surrey. If you are in engineering, you will have the same mix of lectures, tutorials and labs in certain cases. The major difference between Surrey and NTU is that NTU’s end of semester exams are before the Christmas break, not after and so you will have to adjust your revision timeline. As well as the fact that NTU grades on a curve but this will be explained in due course.

Finally, if there was one thing I knew and truly believed before I came on exchange, it would be not to worry! I had so many doubts about taking this leap and every day since being here I have thought about how crazy I would have been not to come. There is absolutely NOTHING to worry about. Everything falls into place once Surrey’s suggested preparations have been made and there is plenty support from both sides to ensure a smooth transition. There are some questions that cannot be answered until you are already on exchange and this is completely fine. Trust the process and most importantly have fun! This is going to be THE best experience of your life, do not waste it and do not chicken out!

“Leap and the net will appear”.

Next time I will talk a bit more about me and some adventures I have had since coming here.

Thanks for reading. 😊