Eight weeks in Singapore

29 Jul

sawyerIt’s hard to believe I’ve already been in Singapore for eight weeks! Now that the semester will be starting soon, it’s time to share my experiences with you Boilermakers too! I’ve been keeping a personal blog at if you want to read about the first part of my time abroad.

Over the summer I took part in the SERIUS program at the National University of Singapore, where I will also be doing my exchange starting in a few weeks. For the program I did an engineering research internship, and my project in chemical engineering involves testing suspensions of cornstarch, water, and polymer for their changing viscosity when different forces are applied. It was an interesting project but very repetitive. Luckily there are lots of places to see with the other students in the program, who left last week when it ended.

I picked Singapore for my study abroad because I wanted to go somewhere new, having already been to Europe.  I’m the only Purdue student in Southeast Asia this semester, and there are very few Americans here in general. Singapore is also a great location to start from to visit the rest of Southeast Asia, and I’ve already been to Thailand and Malaysia. It’s the third-richest country per capita, though it’s not always that conspicuous. The port is the second busiest in the world, and the government is considered the least corrupt (or, perhaps, has the most transparent corruption). It’s also the only country to become independent against its own will, being expelled from Malaysia in 1965; that’s worked out pretty well for them though.  Singapore’s been called ‘Asia light’, in that it’s very developed, has an international economy, is incredibly clean, and speaks English due to the heavy British influence from the colonial era. Going to Bangkok was quite a change, with its unclean streets, terrible traffic, and general disorderliness. Kuala Lumpur was somewhere in the middle.

Tomorrow I move from Prince George’s Park Residences to UTown, a much newer and nicer residence hall. I’m very excited for that because it’s closer to the main parts of campus and doesn’t have ants, and especially because it’s where most of the exchange students live and is in a more lively area (plus an infinity pool across the green). NUS’s main campus has roughly the same area as Purdue north of State St., but more spread out, with the engineering, science, liberal arts buildings, and PGP in the four corners. Instead of each main department having its own building, those three faculties each have a big complex of about ten blocks connected to each other, and a few other buildings for business and computing. This is partially because campus is very hilly, so each block is sort of built from a different base elevation, and walking from one to another can mean going from the 3rd to 7th floor without taking any stairs, which there are a ton of. On my campus tour the guide said some students joke that NUS stands for National University of Stairs.

Saturday I’m going on a city tour with the Welcome Fest for international students. Luckily we’ll be visiting places I haven’t been yet since I’ve seen most of downtown already. I haven’t taken many pictures of campus but I’ll be sure to add some soon; check my other blog for past pictures around town, though I’ll put future ones here too. I just hope my next four months don’t go as quickly as the past two!


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