I’ve already talked a bit about life on campus already in my previous blogs but in this one I’d like to shed a bit more light on what really goes on campus in terms of study, food and living.
From what I’ve seen, boy oh boy do the locals study hard. Since everyone has super busy schedules with their 5+ papers, the students don’t get a lot of time to chill around like they do at IC0, Science Centre or OGGB. That being said, the majority of students are also heavily involved in extra curriculars like sports/clubs/groups, giving rise to this super hardworking, efficient and productive culture.
I personally feel that there are a lot of opportunities, such as various clubs and groups, available at NUS that can really expand your skillset. Because students have joined so many activities, literally everyone I’ve come across has had some sort of internship which is actually pretty surprising because internships at UoA are more of an optional thing – the majority of people don’t have an internship at some top firm.
Another thing is that it’s super easy to meet new people in your courses because in most papers, especially, there’s a lot of group work. Most people dread this at UoA because there’s always people in your group that don’t really do anything, and everyone usually leaves everything to the last minute – that’s the complete opposite here. In 2 of the 3 papers that I was taking at NUS, there were group assignments/projects and my teammates literally started it on the first day. I’m not sure if that’s the same across most groups but I was pretty baffled – because I’m one of the students that start on the last few days hahaha.
Last but not least, NUS is very competitive. Their marking system is different to UoA where they mark you according to the bell-shaped curve. You may have heard of this from high school Statistics but basically, your grade is calculated according to how well you do relative to your peers. So, if the mean is 80%, then to get a B, you need around 80%! Which is actually pretty scary, especially considering how hard the locals study here. But it shouldn’t be so important for most exchange students because their papers are pass/fails instead of transferring the actual grade over.
Study aside, students love to chill and banter with friends while having a makan. All the locals call meals a makan so it’d be pretty common to hear something like ‘what time makan?’. At UoA, I feel that it’s pretty common to see people eat by themselves, but here, a good 90% of people find others to eat with. Since everybody has to eat, when people have spare time, they like to walk/bus down to a nearby canteen and have a nice catch up over food.
One tip on when you’re feeling indecisive on what to get – there’s a custom in Singapore where you just get food where the line’s the longest because it’s almost guaranteed that it’s the best food in the canteen.
Personally, I’ve never lived on campus before, so this was a new experience for me. It’s actually so good. You live so close to classes, so when I have an 8am, (I only had one phew) I literally wake up at 7:45am, grab breakfast and make it to class on time. You also live so close to cheap food and even if you live far, you just take the free University bus and you’re there instantly. And once you’re done with classes for the day, you just take a short ride on the bus and then home sweet home. Totalling up your daily expenses, given that you eat out for all 3 meals a day, comes to about $10 – $12, which is the price of a typical lunch in Auckland!
That wraps up the end of my blog for life on campus. Also, feel free to hit me up if you have any questions on the paperwork/admin processes or anything about life at NUS/Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.org! I know the process is gruelling and many factors can dissuade you from going but I’m sure I can turn things around for you!!