A Semester Spent Awestruck: The Marvels of Singapore September 06, 2018

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/08/2018 to 05/11/2018 with

National University of Singapore: Singapore - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot from my experience abroad in Singapore, but in specific being on Exchange allowed me an incredible freedom. A typical American study abroad program would have you live with other Americans and go on many fixed trips or exhibitions. As an exchange student, I was treated as a regular student at the university, living with a mix of local and other international students, and free to do as I pleased with my time. The opportunity to cultivate independence in a foreign country without any guidelines being set for me was a priceless one.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

NUS is truly a top university in the world- there is a spectrum of courses (modules) offered for all academic levels, and while many of them are of a very high level, a student who attends university in the US will find the pacing of Singaporean courses to be much lower stress. There is a greater emphasis on studying and learning independently outside of the classroom setting, but NUS has an incredible amount of resources available to students who are struggling.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The campus of NUS is absolutely beautiful. The on-campus dorms, or "hostels" are all very well kept and comfortable.

* Food:

There is a wide variety of food options at NUS across the campus. Everything was of a much higher quality than the university food I was used to, from the meal plans in the dining halls to the food courts and cafes.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

While Singapore is inherently a Southeat Asian nation, it has a rather unique "Western" familiarity that made it easy to grow accustomed to the local culture, even if one never truly assimilates into it.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Singapore is without a doubt one of the safest places on the planet, if not THE safest. The crime rate is near non-existent and the general population are very alert and helpful, I never once felt uncomfortable being outside alone or late at night.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

The basic necessities in Singapore (food, public transit, university housing, etc.) is very reasonably affordable. However, anything beyond necessities in Singapore is quite the opposite. Restaurant dining, nightlife, and entertainment are all some of the most expensive in the world.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be sure to give at least some thought to what you want to do for your semester/year abroad BEFORE you get there. If you plan on traveling to many countries that don't directly neighbor Singapore or if you hope to frequently participate in the nightlife, you will need to consider doing some rough budgeting ahead of time.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Access to one of the most advanced cities/countries in the world
  • Making local friends, but also befriending other international, non-American students
  • The incredible amenities offered on NUS campus; food, clubs, housing
* What could be improved?
  • The university is massive and students from smaller US schools could very easily feel overwhelmed and never be reached out to
  • The application process to go on exchange to NUS is very counter intuitive and confusing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Once you settle in to Singapore, your access to things is unlimited. It's so easy to get across the city, to travel to other countries in the region, and to simply explore Singapore aimlessly. The pace of the city can be intimidating to a Westerner at first, but the sooner you start breaking boundaries and going on adventures, the more time you'll have to see all the incredible things that Singapore and the Southeast Asian/Pacific region has to offer!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.