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My Time in the Red Dot: Exchange at NUS Singapore

Tina Ta-Ting Ja, GMBA Class of 2016 

For the first half of my second year of the GMBA program, I decided to study abroad, and I chose NUS in Singapore. The reason I decided on Singapore is I wanted to explore the main financial hub of Southeast Asia. Knowing the weather I would be facing for the next few months, I packed my entire summer wardrobe and was ready for my semester in Singapore. At least I thought I was ... 

I guess I want to dedicate this article to people who are considering doing an exchange here or moving here for a career. So, here are a few things I’ve learned from my time here (aside from school that is). 

Be prepared for the weather: For the first two weeks, I was running around looking for an apartment to rent for the semester, as there was not enough on-campus housing for exchange students. The apartment hunting was not the issue; it was the intense heat and humidity. I basically took a three-hour nap every day because I was exhausted from the humidity. For someone who is not used to a tropical climate, it took some time to adjust to this change. However, despite sweating uncontrollably, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this beautiful and lush city-state. There are also times of sudden downpours – so always have an umbrella with you, whether to hide from the blazing sun or the torrential rain. 

Be open to exploring: Beyond all the obvious touristy places, what I love about Singapore is the mixture of cultures, the rooftops, the hawker centers, and the eclectic neighborhoods. I loved trying out different local foods at different hawker centers – the best way is to go with a group of people so you can try out different foods together. I also enjoyed going to different neighborhoods and finding gems that I otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. 

Be active: Even though the humidity took some time to adjust to, I can certainly say I eventually did. ere are many hiking/running trails, parks, gardens, and reservoirs to be explored, and these places are truly worth the sweat. One of my favorites is the MacRitchie Reservoir Park. This place will make you feel like you are no longer in Singapore, but rather, in some tropical forest. I was literally hiking with monkeys and armadillos. Another one of my favorites is running along the Marina Bay at night. Even if you are not a runner, you should try walking along the Bay. 

The view is incredible there, even more so at night, in my opinion. 

All in all, I am glad I got a chance to explore this beautiful and vibrant city-state. My time in Singapore was truly enjoyable.