My names Jennifer and I’m currently spending year 3 of my law degree studying at the National University of Singapore. I’m just over half of my way through my first semester and finally getting round to writing about my time here. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my first couple months in Singapore and so glad I’ll be staying here for semester two. It’s amazing how quickly you begin to feel at home when in reality you’re at the other side of the world. The transition was definitely made easier by the fact I’m staying in university halls and have met other exchange students from across Europe which is very comforting when you arrive alone in such a huge city. The hall life at NUS is very different from that in the UK. All halls of residence are catered and we have regular dinners and events together as a group; it has a real community feel which I think was something that helped me settle in so well. NUS has a very international student population and it’s nice to be constantly meeting new people from all across the world. I was extremely lucky to arrive in Singapore at the time i did as in August Singapore celebrated 50 years of independence, this was met with celebrations and fireworks and an overall great atmosphere.
Singapore’s location in the centre of the South East Asian region has allowed me the opportunity to spend my free time travelling. I’ve already visited Malaysia and Indonesia, with trips to Thailand, Bali and Lombok planned later in this semester. Travel is very affordable in the region and as my first time in Asia I’m really trying to make the most of these opportunities.
However, you don’t have to leave the country whenever you have a weekend free as there’s always something going on in the city. There’s always plenty of shopping and eating to be done as well. Wherever you go there are food courts and restaurants; even many MRT (train) stations have their own malls and dining areas attached. You’re never short on options for dinner in Singapore and the variety and price of the food available has meant that I haven’t cooked a single meal myself since I arrived. I have to admit that there are a few home comforts i am starting to miss and i think i will be staying clear of rice and noodles when i return back to England for the Christmas vacation.
Although, it hasn’t all been fun and travelling and recently the workload has increased as I start to prepare for final assignments. The workload generally has been much more manageable than I anticipated although seminars continuing until 9:30pm is something I certainly will not miss. The choices of modules available at NUS is huge and it’s been a great opportunity to learn about areas of law not offered at Southampton. There’s a focus on international law here at NUS which is something I’m particularly interested in. The style of assessment has also allowed me to carry out independent research and has been a nice break from exams which have dominated the first two years of my university experience. I recently sat my first (and only) exam of the semester which was in the form of a six hour, 4000 word essay. The question was posted online and you could use all your materials and the internet to allow you to answer it; which i learnt was a common style of assessment at NUS and other universities in the region.
I can’t believe it’s only been three months since I arrived off my 22 hour journey across the world. I’ve felt at home in Singapore since day 1 and it feels like I’ve been here for much longer. I’m so happy to know I’ll be returning after the Christmas break although many of my friends who I have met here will be leaving for good.