Exchange in Singapore

Field of study in Wageningen: Tourism
Study period exchange: 02/08/2022 – 03/12/2022
Country (exchange): Singapore
City (exchange): Singapore
University (exchange): Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Faculty (exchange): Business

2. Motivation for exchange

Why did you choose to go on study exchange?

I wanted to go on exchange to broaden my horizons, to be able to travel and see more of the world. In addition to living in another country which makes the experience very different.

What is the reason you chose for this country/university?

At first I wanted to go to Australia, but in regards to covid still being a bit uncertain at the time of planning and the costs were very high I looked at alternatives and came to Singapore Still in Asia, where I had never been before, but a good mix between Asian and western I thought. And affordable campus housing.

3. Accessibility to reach destination

Do you have any tips to reach your exchange destination?

Singapore is very well connected by plane from various airports.

Once you arrive the MRT system to the campus is not hard, but it just takes 2 hours and with luggage I decided to take a grab taxi (which costed about 30 Singapore dollars).

4. University and studying

Could you provide some general information about the followed courses?

How is the study formalized?

Most courses have lectures/tutorials where you either listen or are a bit more interactive. Some of the lectures were online. In addition, almost all courses (for business) have group projects that account for between 30-60% of the final grade. And attendance/participation usually accounts for like 20% of the final mark (when the course consists of tutorials). Finally some courses have a final examination, but not all of them. The work load is fine, but you can get yourself drowned on the local way of working, which makes the workload very high.

What is the culture of the university?

The student life on campus is amazing. However, getting in contact/making friends with locals is very difficult since they’re not very open to it and in addition they don’t want exchange students in their groups because that (most likely) negatively affects their grade. Since the grading is based on a bell curve students try to out beat each other which causes a high work pressure, they want to be the best and only an A+ is seen as if they have succeeded. The teachers are very approachable and helpful when you need something.

What does the university offer the student additionally?

On the campus terrain students can make use of free sports facilities (they have literally everything you can think of). There is a lot of associations you can join. The hall organize a great deal of activities, you do have to make sure you get into the loop though. There is a very basic kitchen in each hall (but cooking is not normal here). There is a canteen in every hall where you will  eat every meal of the day with your exchange friends. There is laundry facilities 1S$/wash. Campus is far away from the city centre. 1,5 h by public transport, 20-30 min by taxi.

5. Housing-travelling-living

What are the possibilities for housing?

Campus housing is the best option, housing in city is unaffordable and far away. Not all halls are maintained as good as hoped. But the prices are really good ranging between 230€-400. Both shared and single rooms, you can give your preference, but not guaranteed.

What is the culture of the country like?

There is a lot of meat in most dishes (not ideal for veggies). There is some western food, but very basic options otherwise they have all types of Asian food. Because of the competition the vibe can feel different, but with exchange students you don’t notice this. Singapore is small, so there is not a lot of variety in activities you can do, mostly campus life.

Could you give a general price indication of the place of residence compared to living in Wageningen?

Housing: 230-400€ Food/meal: 2-6€

Could you give some information about public transport infrastructure?

Transport to city MRT : about 2€ (can get you everywhere, it just takes a while). Taxi to city (4 pers): about 17€.

6. Free time

What are must-sees in the area? 

All the normal highlights in Singapore and then you also have time to do some less touristy things and go to JB Malaysia for cheap food and shopping.

What does not appear in the travel guide, but is worth a visit?

Night safari at the zoo. Ladies night at Wednesday (free entry and drinks for girls).

Do you have general tips and tricks about leisure time?

Going out is expensive in Singapore. Club entry ranges from 20S$ – 50 S$. Price of a beer starts at 10S$ in a bar (then you have a good price). Mix drink around 15$. Buy a bottle of alcohol at the airport duty free and have parties at campus (mainly at hall 7 rooftop terrace).

7. Challenges & best moment abroad

What was a challenge you have experienced?

The culture shock was very big and the fact that locals are so distant and speak Singlish makes it very hard to connect. And then especially if you’re the only exchange student in a class it can feel very lonely.

What was your best memory abroad?

All the f*cling cool things I have done with my exchange friends and the bond that we build together by having dinner and lunch every day and these experiences!!