Guest Post By: Iris Leung, a Junior studying Finance and Information Systems. She studied abroad through Foster Exchange at the National University of Singapore in Queenstown, Singapore, during Autumn Semester 2023.
When signing up for this exchange, the only expectation I had for Singapore was that I would be suffering from the heat and humidity. However, after being in Singapore for two months, I can confidently say that although the weather is probably the first thing you’ll notice when arriving, the country has so much more to offer.
During my first few days in Singapore, I spent most of my time exploring campus. However, I quickly realized that walking 10 minutes in Singapore doesn’t feel the same as walking 10 minutes in Seattle. Thankfully, NUS has an internal bus system that can bring you to various stops on campus. Some of the places I explored were the on campus museum, convenience store, library, and of course, business school. Looking around, the architecture was one of the first things I noticed. Every building was designed differently, and was beautiful in its own way. Additionally, just from walking around campus, I noticed how big of a part community plays in NUS student life. Everywhere I walked, I would see a large group of people wearing the same shirt while doing something together whether it was eating, dancing, gymnastics, or frisbee. I later learned that the shirts represented the various halls and residential colleges that NUS has, which emphasize student bonding.
After my first couple of days in Singapore, more exchange students from UW started arriving. Together, we explored more of the tourist attractions in Singapore. One of the first places we went to was Marina Bay. We were lucky enough to catch some fireworks while at the top of the sky tree, which made the experience so much better. Some of the other places we visited includes Chinatown, Little India, the Botanic Garden, the National Museum, and the ArtScience Museum. While visiting all these places, I got to see more of Singapore itself rather than NUS which gave me a clearer view on Singapore’s culture. On Singapore’s National Day, a local Singaporian brought some other UW exchange students and I to see the celebrations. There was so much to see including a military performance and a firework show. Overall, from the amazing architecture to the cultural diversity, I’ve learned that there’s always something new to explore in Singapore.