Experience Report Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU)

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1 Experience Report Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU) The school was the biggest University that I have seen in my life. It is located on and between hills. So there is a lot of green, many palm trees, bushes, plants. There are 4 buslines that only run on and around the campus that students can take to change schools or to get to school. Nanyang Technological University also has on-campus housing: There are 14 halls which consist of approximately 4 blocks. A block is a building with up to 6 floors. Each floor has about 20 rooms for usually two, sometimes one student and often a pantry, with a microwave and a kind of camping- stove, as well as a machine that pures out boilded and chilled water (usual tab water is not drinkable). Two halls have a cantine together, one canteen has several places to buy meals, all of those are very cheap: A meal usually costs between 3 and 5 SGD. That is 2-4,50. The biggest canteen where most students go to, and also sometimes meet up to get drinks or just meet up is canteen 2 which also has a supermarket, a hairdresser and a 7eleven. I think on campus this canteen is the best to go to eat. Cooking on the own is not really convenient since the halls have no real kitchen. Singapore is very futuristic. It has sights that differ a lot from the things to see in the Netherlands, for instance the famous hotel Marina Bay Sands. With its 57 floors it is the tallest hotel building in the world. Other sights are Sentosa Island or the bay of Singapore, A garden made up of metallic, lightened trees (garden by the Sands), the zoo or a famous shopping road called Orchard. What differed a lot from Tilburg is that everything is ways cleaner and a lot of things are forbidden and fined with incredible high fines. Also, of course, the hot weather and humidity have to be mentioned when it comes to the way SG and Tilburg differed. NTU is located at the very west of Singapore. To get to the city centre it is necessary to take a bus and the MRT (tram). That way it takes approximately 70 minutes to get to the city centre. NTU has different faculties. I had classes of HSS (Humanities and Social Sciences), which was my school, but also at ADM (school of arts, design and media) and the school of economics and business. But there was also a school of medical sciences, of Aerospatial engineering and a biological school.

2 Some courses only have lectures, others only seminars and the language courses have 2 small meetings per week. The small classes have a length of 1,5 hrs, the long ones and also the lectures of 3 hrs. I did not receive all of the pre arrival information all together, but rather piece by piece. The last information I think did I receive about 2 weeks before I came. That was the one about my classes. Difficult was it to find a room before I came because I did not get a place for a room on campus, even if I applied for one. The University arranged the Visa. I had a temporary one first and the university fixed the one as a permanent resident for all the exchange students about 3 weeks after the arrival. The arrival was organized in a way that there was an arrival event for the new exchange students which took about 3 hrs. I didn t have a pick up. The administration happened in a way that close to the arrival event the students had to register and receive their student card, make a payment for the health insurance enc. I think it was organized and well- structured. There was no real introduction activity offered, but a lunch after the introduction lecture at the arrival. There were some students helping the new coming exchange students. But there were no buddies or mentors. Housing There were not enough dorms on campus for all the exchange students. The university gave some links to websites where to look for housing. I searched for a place before getting to SG but didn t book a place yet. When I got there I found a girl that subleased me her room on campus. But that turned out to be illegal what I didn t know. That caused a lot of troubles and I was forced to move out within 2 hrs after the responsible hall office found it out. Housing outside campus usually is very very expensive and also fosters a long way to school (at least 30 minutes). Some students moved in at condomoniums with other exchange students. But that way they all had to pay about 800sgd (roundabout 550 ) per month, some even more. I was not satisfied with housing in Singapore. When you have Asian landlords in Singapore you should be very careful. They might be very conservative and strict (eg. They do not like it if you bring friends to your room or possess any alcohol). And better doublecheck that the way you rent a room is legal and that if possible you have a contract. Costs My parents payed me some money every month. I also subleased my room in Tilburg so I also used that money. I think the money I spend was comparable to the amount I am spending in Tilburg, but almost all of the other students there spent more money. That is

3 because daily expenses are higher in Singapore, especially public transportation like taxis, alcohol and tobacco. I would advise students to spend most money ion traveling. When I stayed on Campus I spebt between 200 and 300 eur on housing. I only spent money in my first month on books, about 60 eur per month on transportation and maybe 300 per month on food. The arrival date that was set from NTU was the 7 th of January. But I already came the 5 th of January. The last days of classes were between the 10 th and 20 th of April. We had 2 days break around Easter and Chinease New Year vacation for 2 days at begin of February. We had a 1 week break as well in march. Exam period was right after classes finished. It lasted 3 weeks. There was an international office but it was very small and currently under construction when I was in SG. How exactly this office is working and who exactly the responsibles were was not quite transparent for me. I think sometimes they could have provided us with more information. I never heard about possibilities to promote Tilburg University. Otherwise I had definitely done it. There are a lot of Sport Clubs or other Year Clubs students can join. And for those that stay in a hall it is possible to join hall activities and competitions of the halls. Unfortunately there was no association for Internationals. The contact I had to locals was mainly due to my classes. Usually exchange people bond more among another than with Singaporeans. I think most of the other exchange students travelled more than I did. Even though I travelled to some places in Malaysia, to Thailand, the Philippines and to Vietnam. I did not really perceive a culture shock, but of course I had to deal with a lot of differences. I learned about my own culture that we tend to be very open to another and also very direct. And also that gender differences are ways smaller here than in SG. I think that was also one of the differences that I expected to be smaller. I think the culture is westernized in a way that SG is properly developed, but also impacted by its neighbours and the climate. Moreover the culture is very strict, polite and fine. I liked that it was safe and disliked that it was so expensive. I really loved the nature and the climate, especially because it really differed from the one here. I think what I learned was more like learning from experiences. But I did not learn anything about, for instance, the Singaporean history. When I travelled it was by bus or airplane. I had no language problems, even though the English Singaporeans speak is a bit unique. They call it Singlish and some

4 exchange students used to make fun about certain words or phrases. I followed a language course, but it was a Spanish course. I did not follow an Erasmus Intensive Language Course. I have always been interested in foreign cultures, but my exchange even increased this interest.i definitely expect the exchange to have positive impact on future perspectives because it is commonly appreciated if people studied abroad. Moreover I think the exchange made me more mature and independent. I learned from the people mostly to be careful and elaborate more on what I am doing or generally to be cautious. That is also what I would consider when going to Singapore again: being careful and preparing everything as detailed as possible. My worst experiences were already mentioned: The problems regarding accommodation. I think the best experience was to live at a real Campus University which is like a little city in a big city. I will never forget the feeling in the hot climate at the Campus or the flair at the harbour area of Singapore. One month they had a light expositions and shows there every friday, it was such an amazing atmosphere watching that in the still hot and humid, but dark evening hours. All classes at NTU are taught in English, except of Chinese history which is taught in Chinese. Not all courses are open for exchange students. Of those which are I took the ones that interested me the most, and additionally a painting class, even if I knew this would not show up on my diploma. I would really recommend to do a more creative course like painting or drawing, even if extracurricular because it is really resting to express oneself in such a way. I think the courses were similarly challenging as the ones in Tilburg. Courses are either seminars or lectures. Courses I took: Course Prerequisites Exam ECTS Comments Child Written 5,5 Essay Psychopathology Working in the 21 st century Spanish level 2 Basic Spanish skills Written Written and oral 5,5 5,5 Only lectures, essay Midterm and final exam Seminar in Selected Topics: Psychology of Leadership Written and presentation 7,5 A lot of readings, essay

5 All of those courses were Bachelor Courses. I had enrolment problems because it was difficult to understand how the enrolment is working exactly and also because I had to mail back and forth with Tilburg University to ask if they would approve the courses. Students and teachers had a relation comparable to the ones inn Tilburg. I only took courses without prerequisites, but some were restricted for psychology students. Overall I was happy with the academic achievements that I made, I really felt that I learned a lot of interesting things and could gather knowledge and skills. I had oral tests, open question exams, multiple choice exams and written essays. The library and other buildings were easily accessible, opening times were longer in the exam period. There were public computers but less than in Tilburg and also less modern.

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