As the semester here is coming to an end, I’ll write a bit about the academic part of the exchange. School of Computing and NUS for that matter, is one of the best in Asia, so naturally I had to expect that studying here would be more intense. This, and the fact that I’ll be studying on a completely different continent, surrounded by different cultures and mentalities. To start off, students here have much more freedom over their module choices. Before every semester every student bids on their modules, using bid points. The “notorious” competitiveness is visible right from the start. Luckily for exchange students like me, I don’t need points to bid on modules as we have a separate system. In the end I haven’t fully figured out how all of this works, but that’s probably one of the many ambiguous mechanics that NUS employs- among them is the grading system. NUS uses their own credit system for their modules, as well as employs the bell curve to scale the final grades. Every module scales their grades differently, and it’s hard to predict your result. This makes failing the module, as well as getting top grades quite difficult.
The lectures themselves are much more interactive. It’s not rare to come back to the halls with some sort of chocolate treat for answering quizzes. It seems like the lecturers here are really involved in their subjects and focus more on getting students genuinely interested in the subject, rather than trying to provide the core materials, even if that means straying off the module material a bit and more self-studying. Module grade feels more distributed here- I feel like I’m doing the same amount of work per module as in Southampton, but in smaller increments. Mid-term exams, various labs, weekly project submissions are marked separately to add up to the total mark by the end of the semester. All in all, it’s super interesting to study here and the fresh academic approach sure motivates and keeps me going.