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Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Nanyang Technological University is a massive and surprisingly well funded campus. The first thing you will notice here is the vast numbers of cleaners, gardeners and ground staff scattered around the campus, spotted through bus windows and while stumbling lost for class. Similar to the stereotype of Singapore itself, image and the portrayal of wealth is a staple of all buildings and design here. While some student halls look unmistakably ‘tropical’ with their low and open hall design, the vast majority of the university’s facilities are breathtaking. So far, this has not translated into a dramatically different experience however. All classes are run in English by a diverse mix of teachers and lecturers, some recorded and some compulsory. The first major difference in teaching culture that I noticed however is that local students talk during the lecture (… the horror!). Of course, this was not something seen as rude, but the felling of a collegiate between local peers is certainly strong, and the interaction in lectures and classes is just one way this shows through.

NTU itself boasts a respectable position in global performance and university rankings, however attending class alone would not have given me this impression. The teaching quality and materials are no different to home; a lecture is a slide show and a tutorial is still a roundtable conversation. However, it seems the culture here to achieve comes from the environment around the classroom. Top quality sporting fields, tennis courts, indoor courts, gyms, pools, and even performance spaces and halls are all free to use and encouraged for all local and exchange students… I have certainly been making the most of these. A day in the campus life looks like a holiday; an hour or two of classes, lunch with friends from almost every corner of Europe, gym, pool, and $3 dinner at the hall canteens. Food is so affordable it takes discipline to not gain weight in a single meal.

On the most part, the exchange students have all stuck together and ridden out the confusion and fear of the first month together. Local Singaporean students are quite reserved towards us, but you can easily catch them practicing breakdancing in the middle of the shopping centre on campus, running a stall for the Student Representative Body for Aerospace Engineers, or asleep at 2am in the study rooms. Once I’d finished catching the wrong bus off campus to the local shops when I was already late for class, the buses around NTU are very easy as well. Even drinking in the canteens was allowed to slide for 2 weeks until a kindly worded email was directed to all 1300 exchangers, briefly reminding us of the risk of imprisonment for effectively any crime in Singapore. Just remember, don’t drink water on the train…


  • Teaching classes: 7
  • Campus: 8
  • Buildings and tech: 9
  • Public transport: 10
  • Safety: 9
  • Locals safety around exchangers: questionable
  • Recommend: 10/10

Nicholas James
Bachelor Advanced Science
Nanyang Technological University  

Australian Government New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient.

For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit:

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