Accommodation Awards: John

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North Hill looks like the city!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been appointed as your Accommodation Awards host for Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. I am proud to announce this year’s overall winner is the North Hill Halls, proving its excellence over other halls (…. and because I stay in this hall).

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North Hill at night.

Launched in 2016, the North Hill Halls consists six blocks of condominium styled residential halls built to accommodate 1,600 students with single and shared rooms! The six blocks are organised into three pairs named Banyan Hall, Binjai Hall and Tanjong Hall. They share communal facilities.

The selection process is not an easy task but North Hill triumphs overall:

Best Looks

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Each block has a sky deck like the one in the middle of this picture.
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Viewing platform @ North Hill

North Hill is a magnificent piece of modern architecture. Each block has a beautiful sky deck and multiple communal rooms equipped with air-conditioning and television.

Best Facilities

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Air-conditioned study room! It is usually crowded though.
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I’m running out of excuses to skip the gym since it’s in the building…
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The mini mart at North Hill opens all week long. Reminds me of Munchy Mart.
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Ping pong
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You can book one of these courts online for free @ North Hill Function Hall.

North Hill has a study area, a gym, and a huge function hall where you can play badminton and table tennis for free. North Hill also has a mini mart and several 24-7 vending machines. North Hill is also located next to the NTU’s Sports and Recreational Centre which has a swimming pool, running track, football field, basketball court and a lot more facilities. NTU’s Sports and Recreational Centre is open for access to all NTU students at no cost.

Best Eco

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Trees surround North Hill Halls.

North Hill is designed with environmentally friendly and energy saving features, utilising solar power and wind cooling to minimise power consumption (Source: The Newspaper). Every single unit is equipped with louvered ventilation panels allowing fresh air to cool the room. Lights in communal areas are sensor activated, automatically turning on only whenever you need it.

Best Culture

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Getting my food at hall orientation!
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Jash party at Sentosa Island organised by NTU’s accommodation team.
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Kitchen at North Hill which cooking classes are held.

North Hill halls hold events several times each month which are all subsidised and sometimes even free attendance. These events are great places to get to know your neighbours. Also, there are events hosted in collaboration with other halls as well such as Jash party which is a huge party organised by NTU’s accommodation team at Sentosa Island. The named pairs -Banyan Hall, Binjai Hall and Tanjong Hall also has its own events such as cream puff cooking class! There are also hall sports events open to all residences.

Nominated Best location

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North Hill and its bus stop.
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There is parking for your bike and underground parking for your car.

There is a bus stop conveniently located outside of North Hill which is operatings on the route of both the NTU’s university shuttle and public bus. Since North Hill is located in campus, the distance to most of the faculties is relatively near if you take NTU’s complimentary shuttle bus. However, there are other halls located much closer to the faculties.

Nominated Best Comfort

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Home sweet home! Mine’s a single room with air-conditioning.

The ceiling fan coupled with the huge ventilation panel and windows in every room does its job well to cool the room efficiently. Still, if you are like me and cannot stand Singapore’s warm weather sometimes, it is recommended to opt for the air-conditioned room.

In terms of room size, the rooms at North Hill are a little on the smaller than other halls, but it is still more than sufficient.

Although Wi-Fi is available in common areas, it is not a feature in the rooms. It is also not a feature in other halls at NTU. However, it’s not an issue because you are allowed to use cable internet and your router.

The toilets are communal, and there is a kind cleaner who always keeps it clean.

As this is not a self-catered hall, cooking facilities are limited to one electric stove and microwave on every other floor. There is also a hot and cold water dispenser for each floor. There is no fridge but you are allowed to buy one to put in your room and operate it at additional cost.

Nominated Best Food

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The ceiling fans @ North Hill Food Court are huge!
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The chicken rice shop @ North Hill Food Court. One chicken rice costs $3.
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At the bottom is the Hot Pot and BBQ restaurant which is delicious.

None of the undergraduate halls at NTU is self-catered but all of them have a food court.

North Hill Food Court has a variety of food stalls ranging from mixed rice (where you pick your meats and vegetables) to Indonesian food. There is also a fruit store at the Food Court. The prices are reasonable and the food tastes okay. You can have a meal for SGD3 which is super cheap by New Zealand standards (1 SGD = ~1 NZD).

Unlike other halls, North Hill has three stand-alone restaurants: hot pot & BBQ, Western and Indian restaurant. Although, these are priced higher than the food court but is still reasonable for stand-alone restaurants.

Despite the amount of variety, on average, North Hill’s food is not as delicious as some other halls.

Nominated Best Cost

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Afternoon view!

As North Hill is relatively new, it is among the most expensive in rent. I am currently staying in the most expensive undergraduate room available at campus – single room with air-conditioning at SGD435 per month (1 SGD = ~1 NZD). That is about SGD218 every fort night which is almost half as cheap compared to a similar room in Auckland!

In terms of rooms at NTU’s residences, a single room without air-conditioning is about SGD200 for every fortnight and the air-conditioned equivalent is about 7% more expensive at SGD213. A double room without air-conditioning is cheaper at SGD135 per fortnight and the air-conditioned equivalent is 15% more expensive at SGD155.

Questions?
I am always happy to help anyone interested in going exchange to Singapore. Make sure to comment on this blog post, and I will reply whenever possible. Alternatively, you can email me at jlee575@aucklanduni.ac.nz

If you want to check out more of my pictures, please follow my Instagram account: johnleekw.

https://www.instagram.com/johnleekw/

 

Cheers!
Adobe Spark (2)

Singapore

This vibrant city offers University of Auckland students two opportunities to study: Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore (U21 including Law). adam-qi_national-university-of-singapore-1163-1

Let’s hear what our students have to say!

On the lifestyle:

“My first impression of Singapore can be summarized in two words- hot and humid. Apart from the killer heat, Singapore is nothing short of fantastic” – Adam Qi, National University of Singapore

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“My first impression of Singapore was that it is an extremely modern city. The architectures are amazing and also interesting. Singaporean people are also extremely friendly. When I was having difficulty finding my way around the university, a lot of the students were happy to help me out and actually offered to walk me to the building. Singapore is considered the most expensive city in the world. However, because I was a student and spent most on my time on campus, I felt that the cost of living was lower than Auckland. What they offer  on campus is heavily subsidized and I did not spend as much as I expected. However, once you go off campus and go to restaurants they are quite pricey.  Although there are cheaper options like hawker centers (which are similar to food courts in New Zealand).” – So Jung Choun, National University of Singapore 

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On campus:

“The campus of National University of Singapore (NUS) is incredibly large. Therefore, it provides students with internal shuttle bus service to help them go between different lecture halls in different faculties. The Kent Ridge Campus (the main one) owns 4 different routes namely A, B, C and each route will access to 8 to 10 stops around the campus. The shuttle buses are always crowded during peak hour even though they come every 5 to 8 mins.”- Annie Lyu, National University of Singapore

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“Life on campus was extremely easy to adjust to. With two food courts, a Starbucks and several grocery stores all within a short 5-minute walk from my room; it’s no wonder walking became such a chore after returning to New Zealand. Local students were extremely friendly and inclusive, always eager to show you more of their country.”  –  Adam Qi, National University of Singapore

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On accommodation:

“My accommodation was located in a newly built “educational hub”, the University Town (“U-town”), which has created a lively intellectual, social and cultural environment via residential spaces, teaching facilities and study clusters. You may eat (there are two food courts and other cafes in U-town), study (U-town provides 24-hour studying facilities throughout the whole semester) and use the sporting facilities – swimming pools, climbing walls, dancing studios and climbing.”- Annie Lyu, National University of Singapore

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“I really loved my accommodation on campus. I was able to experience the university spirit and engage with a lot of local students as well as the exchange students. It was my first time living on campus and found it really convenient. My residence had a dining hall, which allowed me to interact with many different new students each day and in turn helped me improve my interpersonal skills.” – So Jung Choun, National University of Singapore 

“Unfortunately for me, my room at a Residential College on the NUS campus did not come with air-conditioning. However, it did have the basic necessities (with the exception of bedding), all with impeccable hygiene. My accommodation even included a compulsory meal plan which will become the envy of all of your friends who do not have one.” – Adam Qi, National University of Singapore

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On food:

“Singapore is well known for its varieties of fantastic food with incredibly low prices. A meal in a food court, on average, costs around 5 to 6 Singapore Dollars and the price is even lower on campus due to the subsidies from the Singaporian government. However, the Western food is extremely expensive. A simple plain pizza with cheese would cost you around 20 Singapore dollars. Therefore, you will miss cheese so much if you choose Singapore for exchange!).”- Annie Lyu, National University of Singapore

On travel:

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“Being an exchange student in Singapore opened up a lot of opportunities for me to travel around South East Asia. There were a lot of cheap options to travel to various countries and it again allowed me to make a lot of friends from so many different countries. I learnt a lot and became thankful for what I already had in my life from travelling around.” – So Jung Choun, National University of Singapore

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Top tips:

  • Transportation is a breeze with their MRTsystem and extremely cheap taxi fares.
  • Living costs are in general much cheaper than NZ with most meals ranging between $3-$5. Some favourites included the famous Chicken Rice, Young Tau Foo and Kaya Toast
  • Take ‘no’ out of your dictionary – embrace the opportunities offered to you
  • Visit the Esplanade, which is a theatre shaped like the Singaporean fruit durian
  • The heat is the biggest challenge in Singapore – you rely heavily on air conditioning which can be expensive so try to find alternative ways to cool down
  • University Town – This is the heart of NUS’s campus, and features Foodcourts, shops, a gym, study spaces, and a rooftop infinity pool!
  • Attend Orientation – in the first few weeks there were numerous events and activities involving sport, tours around the city, cultural events and parties. This was the perfect opportunity to make friends with the locals and the 300 other exchange students from all over the world
  • It is very affordable to travel to other countries in South East Asia – this is highly recommended!