International student Ankur has taken the opportunity to spend a year abroad in Singapore through a study exchange programme.
My plan was to spend my summer on an internship. All that changed when I packed my bags for Singapore instead. How did that come about to be? Well, it involved a stack of paperwork coupled with meeting with professors at my university. In the end, my application to spend a year abroad on study exchange at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore was approved.
But first, my end-of-the-year exam results. I got a First as well as coming sixth in my particular pathway, which I hope counts for something when I start looking for professional placement for next year.
Now, back to Singapore - a country that cannot grow outwards, so it builds skywards instead. Space is at such a premium here that every square metre has been utilised for one or the other multi-storey housing project or opulent malls. I have only just begun exploring Singapore and what I have experienced is a fascinating melting pot of Western and Asian cultures.
Nanyang Technological University is one of Singapore's three largest universities and the one focussed on engineering. It is well known for its strength in electronics and computer engineering, which played no small part when I had to make my choice of where to go for study exchange. This place is massive! There are parts of campus that you'll have to take a bus to unless you're up for walking for ages.
Settling in once again in a new country is an experience in itself. I am at an advantage here, since I have went through a similar situation when I joined Surrey. For many of the other exchange students though it has been uphill task since this is the first time they are living on their own in an alien country so far away from home.
The local students here are reserved, so it's often we (the exchange students) who need to initiate a conversation. But once that period is over they are exceptionally friendly.
To be honest, I can't definitively speak about academics here yet since I've only had about two weeks of lectures. Yet, what I have seen so far is impressive as each lecture usually has upwards of 200 students.
I also discovered that one of my professors is the on the IET Singapore Local Network committee - he introduced me to the IET student club members here, and I look forward to a science and engineering challenge they will be holding at Sentosa island resort later this month. I was delightfully surprised to find that IET helped me plug into a network here, even when I hadn't been expecting it.
While I'm in Singapore, I plan to travel around in South East Asia and participate in events that make this place "uniquely Singapore", such as the Singapore F1 Grand Prix. At the same time, hunting for my professional placement will be one my major concerns this academic year. Let's see how things progress.