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					Singapore Spring 2008

Resources
Where did you find good information on:
• The university: web site www.nus.edu.sg • Social events: facebook group for international students. Search for NUS Exchange Student or something like that • Movies: who cares…do something else • Shows: Search for the Esplanade online (for musicals, plays, concerts, dance). It’s their fancy shmancy claim to being “artsy.” There may be other places for shows but I don’t know. • Maps: google. Get an NUS campus map on campus. • Tourist information: talk to people. Ex. If you want to go to Malaysia you can take the MRT red line to Kranji and then catch a public bus (#170??) to the crossing point. You go thru customs, get back on the bus, go thru custom again and get back on the bus. It will take you to the Johor Barhu bus station. You likely want to go to Larkin, not the other one. From there ask around about tickets other places. Don’t plan on getting schedules online, there’s no infrastructure for that. Though in Thailand the government trains are really well organized. I think its www.railway.com.th or something

International office at the host university
• How was the staff? Really nice. Free food at the events. Go to them. They are not nerdy • Was there any relevant information that you did not receive? No, they were very helpful. I turned in a paper housing form when I needed to fill it out online and they tracked me down and told me • If so, how did you obtain it? • What type of reception did you have upon arrival? “Here’s your room. Fill out these forms. Turn them in and pay by this date” The first university related thing was to register and it wasn’t cool at all but there was time to chat and meet people. The people who run the facebook group did a lot to facilitate initial interaction. I hope its till around for you. • Were you met at the airport? They have a buddy thing but I didn’t do it • Were there orientation activities? Ya, I don’t remember what they were. There was a “Singaporean culture” thing right away that I missed that I heard was funny. You should go to the programs though • Were people available to answer your questions? yes • Were there social activities? yes

International Perspectives
• Please comment on the International Perspectives course offered at UW prior to your departure in relation to your time abroad. Reading the articles helped me to learn some things about the country before I went. You don’t want to go and be totally clueless.

Academics
University
• What areas of specialization does it offer? Engineering (“engine”), business (biz), arts. Biz doesn’t have majors but most people say they study finance • How many students? • Graduate, Undergraduate, or both?

Singapore Spring 2008
• Enrollment? • International student enrollment? They sign you up for classes according to what you requested. You don’t get your schedule until biz orientation and then if there are issues you deal with them after that. • Internship (if applicable) –how was it set up and was it a good one?

Structure • Lecture format? Once or twice a week. LONG • Discussions offered? Most classes have one. Upper level classes may not. And they may not have a final during the final period. But they WILL be harder. • Availability of the professor? Pretty good

Homework
• Was homework given? rarely • How much reading was assigned each week? Expected to read along with class material but its up to you. Marketing 1003 tested on book material that wasn’t covered in class. • Was homework (if given) graded? EVERYTHING is graded. NO grade inflation. Everything is curved so you have to outperform Singaporeans. Participation in discussion 10% of grade.

Exams
• What types of exams were given? Multiple choice. Problems. Less essay • How did the exams compare to those at UW? • How long was each exam? 2hrs usually. • When were exams given? They have fewer exams that are weighted more heavily.

Grades
• Flat scale or curved? Everything is curved • What are grades based on (exams, papers, homework, and/or participation)?

Campus
• Is there a centralized campus? Yes for business. One building like here. • Where do students congregate at school? • Are there computer labs? Yes. In business school and libraries • Are they accessible? Yes but not all hours. Most classes start at 9 at the earliest and the lab doesn’t open until 9…..stupid • Are there any libraries in which to study? NO. j/k. of course

Miscellaneous
Costs
• Please provide cost estimates for future students. Be sure to indicate the currency (US dollars or host country currency) and the period of time this covers (per month or per semester): • Housing $1500 if you stay PGP • Food $2 a meal and up • Books $150 • Local transportation $40 per month • Entertainment up to u. drinks are expensive • Travel tickets around Asia 100-250

Singapore Spring 2008
• Additional expenses. Please explain what they were.

Visa
If a visa was required, what tips do you have for obtaining the visa? No visa. Get you student pass after arrival. You don’t have to get it right away. I want on two weekend trips and then got it. The issue is they take your passport for a while to process it so plan accordingly.

Transportation
• What modes of public transportation are available? MRT (rail) and bus. Taxis aren’t too bad if you split then either • How/where do you pay for bus or train rides? • Are there any deals to be aware of (monthly or commuter passes)? • Did anyone purchase bicycles? no • Are taxis a viable option? How expensive are they?

Banking options
• Would you recommend opening a local account? Where? Some people did. Then they had to go close it out at the end and it sounded like a hassle. But maybe they got more out of it during the semester. If you have a local bank account you can get a nets card. NETS is like a cash card but I think it works off a chip and not a magnetic strip. It is accepted EVERYWHERE and sounds convenient. SOOO many times I was asked “you have nets?” but I was ok without it • Are there major differences between banking at your location and banking in the States? • Were cash cards accepted in your city? To get cash? To make purchases? People LOVE atm machines there. They were my source of money. I’ve heard capital one doesn’t charge a foreign currency conversion fee so maybe you can save some money if you use them. Some places on accept cash and nets (like the student health clinic in YIH-Yusof Ishak House)

Health and Safety
• How safe did you feel in the city in which you lived? safe • What suggestions do you have for future students? • Were there health concerns specific to your site? • What resources were available in case you needed medical attention? YIH • How easy was it to get refills of prescription medication?

Housing
• Did your host university find your housing? Yep. Dorms. PGP is the way to go unless you’re super independent. I heard people say “live in other dorms if you want to get to know Singaporeans more than international students” but Singaporeans are known a bit for not branching out to be friends with internationals. And they already have their own group of friends. You know how that goes. • If so, are there other options you would recommend? A lot of people in my semester had to stay at Boon Lay (that’s the area but the name of the complex is something like your home our home). Its not so bad if you end up out there. This place is one of the NUS suggested places • If not, how did you find housing? • What were your choices? • How were your accommodations?

Singapore Spring 2008 Traveling
• Is there a student travel agency? • Are there other agencies to recommend? • Are there special travel deals for students in your region?

Phone plans
• What was your local phone plan? Call you company and get your phone “unlocked.” Buy a sim card from SingTel when you get there and buy hot 100 top up cards to refill your prepaid minutes. If your phone doesn’t have a sim you will have to buy a cheap phone there • How did you call home? Skype. • Are there special deals/phone cards/calling plans that were much cheaper? • Where can you buy phone cards? • Is it worth buying a cell phone?

Mail
• How long does it take to receive a package? To send one? A week or two. My boyfriend sent me a bunch of mail I never received. It was really frustrating. • How much does it cost to send a letter home? $S1.50. Packages are expensive • Did you find other options than the state mail service? I didn’t look

Packing tips
• Provide a general list of things to bring. • What did not bring from home that you wish you would have? More modest clothes. People there wear more t-shirts and don’t really show any cleavage. But there was other stuff I brought and never used…like my hair straightener and curler. Just plan on buying lots of stuff there. • What things were easy to purchase abroad that you thought would be hard to find? A power transformer. Found it downtown at a shop that caters to business travelers.

Shopping
Hours (days and times)
• How long are stores open during the week? • What are the hours on Saturdays? • What are the hours on Sundays? • Are stores open on public holidays?

Grocery stores
• What stores were economical? If you go to the harbor front area (busses 10, 30 and 143 (I think those are right) go there from Pasir panjang behind PGP) there is a big mall with a Giant/Vivomart in it. This place has groceries and pillows, bedding, camping, and other home stuff. Also Mustafas in Little India has everything at decent prices but its sooo much farther away. Fair Price food stores are good too. There is one near the Clementi MRT station. • What stores had good quality? • What stores took credit cards? • How did prices compare with the United States? • Are there outdoor markets? Are they worth checking out?

Singapore Spring 2008 Toiletries/Housewares
• What stores are popular/convenient? • Were they economical? • Are there discount options? • How did prices compare with the United States?

Culture
Language
you will run into some funny language differences. Bit everything is in English.

Social Activities
• How were the relationships among the students? Meeting people from all over is way fun. You have a chance to really bond with someone different. • Did you meet students from the host country? Mostly in group projects. They are nice. • Did you get involved in any student organizations? no • Were there any special activities arranged for exchange students? yes • Did you enjoy the atmosphere? yes D. Wigton


				
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