First Impressions – John

Hey guys! To start off, I’ll just briefly introduce myself as this is my first blog. My name’s John and I’m a second year BCom student majoring in Accounting and Finance. I’m currently on exchange at National University of Singapore (NUS) in Singapore.

As soon as I got out of Changi airport, I could instantly feel the humidity and hot weather here in Singapore. It was quite an extreme weather change for me as I was on my way from South Korea which was about -4 degrees, to 26 degrees in Singapore. January is apparently the “cold” season of Singapore when there is unexpected rain and it is very humid. It’s similar to NZ, where weather forecasts are quite unpredictable. Local friends in Singapore told me to always carry an umbrella to prepare myself for unexpected rain. But carrying an umbrella is a bit pointless as heavy rains will make you wet anyway so it’s a better idea to just get used to it.

During my first few days after arrival, it was quite depressing because I didn’t know a single thing about Singapore. Staying in the dorms would make it worse so I decided to go around places near campus to buy some essentials. Singapore has quite a lot of welcome parties and programmes prepared for exchange students so you just have to socialize.

After arriving in the dorms, I attended two orientations, one for all exchange students and another for all business school exchange students. During orientation, I got a chance to talk to other exchange students who came from various countries such as Poland, Finland, Taiwan, Canada, US, Thailand, Taiwan and more. It was an interesting experience to talk to people with different backgrounds. I also noticed that I could even be the youngest student out of almost all the exchange students as most students were third or fourth year students. Other than that, orientation sessions were the typical informative talks which weren’t so interesting, so let’s skip to my first impressions of Singapore.

Although Singapore seems to try quite hard to promote the use of proper English, most of the locals don’t speak proper English, and some don’t speak English at all so they will directly speak Chinese to you which was quite surprising. Also, due to their local Singlish accent, I couldn’t understand more than half the things they were trying to say. The locals mostly speak Singlish which is a unique mixture of various languages including Malay, Chinese and English. When speaking to locals, it is a good idea to simplify your sentences and only speak of the main words you are trying to say or use body language if you can’t communicate at all.


Singapore has one of the greatest night views I’ve seen in my life. The above photo is the view of taken from the world’s highest rooftop bar (apparently), 1-Altitude. They have free entry for ladies on ladies’ night but unfortunately for men it’s around S$30 for the entrance fee + one drink. It sounds costly BUT it is definitely worth it as you get the view from the highest building in Singapore and they also had awesome live music there!!


Moving on to the country itself, it is a modern city with a very convenient transportation system. It has a country-wide network of buses and trains (called MRT and LRT) as seen in this photo. I really like the transportation system here as the trains operate on a regular basis, taking an average three minute gap between each one.

That’s my story for now and I’ll bring you with more exciting stories about Singapore and more when I go travelling around South-East Asia! I’m really enjoying my time in Singapore, living the high-end life, spending too much, soon to be seeing minuses in my bank account. 🙂

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