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My first 28 days in Singapore…


It’s been 28 days since I landed in Singapore, and also 28 days since I last had a coffee. If you’re a black coffee drinker, don’t panic (but sorry if like me, you like nice fresh milk in your coffee!! 😐).

But all jokes aside, Singapore has been amazing so far. Even in this first month I feel like I’ve adapted to the ultra humid climate, and the uni life at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). I can’t thank enough my fellow UTS exchangers at NTU who I’ve been honoured to share the excitement (and some stresses!) of this journey with.

Arriving in Singapore

Our exchange gang took the first Singapore Airlines flight out of Sydney, and landed exactly on schedule around 2:15pm. Getting through the airport was a breeze, just make sure you have your IPA Approval letter and NTU enrolment letter handy.

At the airport we purchased prepaid sim cards and EzyLink cards (kind of like Opal), and were ready to roll. We took an Uber to campus (which is literally on the other side of the country) and checked-in to our respective halls. Honestly a super easy process, just make sure you get to the hall admin office before the office closure time (hence catching the first flight).


Living on-campus

This is my first time living on campus and I’m loving it. It’s a great way to be super close to class, friends and all the university action. NTU has an extremely active campus life, and most students are involved in loads of co-curricular activities (CCAs). More on the CCAs later.

The campus is packed with food courts and facilities, and best of all, food is CHEAP and facilities like the gym and pool are FREE! Admittedly I was in shock, being used to home where everything has a price tag!

I should mention the campus is enormous, like a community in itself (a bit like UNSW). Unlike UTS where you walk through the city streets to get to class, NTU is virtually self-contained. In saying that, there are lots of free campus loop buses and paid public buses to help you get around without raising too much of a sweat in the climate.

The local students are also super duper friendly and kind, but you might need to initiate the conversation first as they’re a little shy 😀

Enrolment & subjects

I’m enrolled in 3 subjects at NTU: Chinese, Arabic and Business Operations & Processes. I’m taking these subjects as my final electives before graduation (yay!). I’m loving the classes and the lovely classmates I’ve become acquainted with.

A word of warning: the NTU Add/Drop process is awful, and you’ll appreciate the easy-peasy UTS system so much more once you’ve experienced this (trust me). This was probably the only stressful experience I’ve had so far on exchange, since subjects aren’t finalised prior to the semester commencing, and are allocated based on random computer allocation, rather than first-come-first-serve. HOWEVER, everything does work out in the end, and there is help available from the uni if you’re still stuck towards the end of Add/Drop week.

University life: academic workload

My 3 subjects are worth 10 academic units (AUs) here in Singapore, which is basically equivalent to 18 CPs back home. You’ll find the local students take around 20 AUs (which is CRAZY 😐), but I’d recommend just sticking to the minimum load required by UTS. This way you can enjoy Singaporean life, CCAs and do some travels without being bogged down with too much study.

University life: CCAs

CCAs are basically clubs and societies at uni and the locals are involved in heaps. Personally I’ve joined the NTU Archers, Shooters and Navigators, which I thought were a nice mix of things I do at home, plus trying something new. Singaporeans don’t take commitment lightly, so make sure you’re willing and able to attend ALL the trainings and meetings before signing up!!

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I think that pretty much summarises my first 28 days in Singapore from a logistical and academic perspective, and hopefully I’ve given you some meaningful insight into exchange life at NTU and in Singapore! Next blog post I’ll let you know about how my subjects are going, and some travel we’ve got planned during the mid-semester break 😀


Monica Axiak
Bachelor of Business
Nanyang Technological University

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