The 8 weeks placement at NUS went by extremely fast. It took about a week to get used to a new country, a new culture and meeting new people, but after the first week, the placement was
Working in top class facilities with people who are the experts in their relative fields and making an active contribution to projects is extremely satisfying."
immensely fun and intellectually stimulating. Working in top class facilities with people who are the experts in their relative fields and making an active contribution to projects is extremely satisfying. I’ve made good friends with a lot of the other students on the placement and there is an endless variety of activities for you to do together. I will definitely try to keep in contact with the other exchange students, along with people that I have met in Singapore. My initial fear that this placement would be all work was completely unfounded and I ended up having one of the best summers of my life.
During my 8 week placement in NUS, I was working with the Biomedical Engineering department. My first task was to read numerous research papers to review the current standing of hydrogels. This was to give me more insight on the topic but I would also have to purchase the required chemicals. Before starting the actual experiment, I needed to have an understanding of the aim of the project, the procedure and how I would progress with the project. Initially, the responsibilities thrust upon me took me by surprise, but within a week, I began to enjoy the new role. This allowed me to direct the project into an area that intrigued me. The researcher I was working with and the other student in the lab would provide assistance whenever I was a bit unsure.
I particularly enjoyed the freedom of working in the lab: you could decide when to work and when to take breaks. The standard working hours that most people cohere to is 10 to 6, however, you can go earlier or stay later. If I needed to go out early one day then I could make up for it by staying late another day. The atmosphere in the workplace was very chilled which suited me.
It was a very enlightening experience working in a completely different university on another continent. My project included interactions with many people and this was the first time where I have worked with people from different disciplines. I learnt that everyone needs to take responsibility for their part and to be more understanding: what seems like basic knowledge in your field may not be to other people. Therefore, it was vital that there was good communication between us. In addition, it was nice to work with people from different nationalities.
The project I was working on required some work outside of office hours (reading research papers, designs on SolidWorks etc.), but this was towards the start of the project. I was never required to work on the weekends and rarely outside of my time in the lab. This meant that during the evening, and in the weekend, I was free to explore Singapore. Singapore is renowned for two things: food and shopping. There are so many nice malls to go to, but the products are similar to the things in the UK and it is fairly expensive. Therefore, I went to visit a few malls but only to have a look around. The most exciting thing about Singapore was probably the food. You can get it as cheap as 2-3 Singaporean Dollars (exchange rate is approximately £1= S$ 2) at the student accommodations and 4-8 S$ at food courts. There is an enormous variety of food to try: Thai, Malaysian, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, etc.
Singapore, being a travel hub, is very easy and cheap to get to many near-by countries. During my time there, I managed to visit Malaysia and also an Indonesian Island.
My time in Singapore was certainly memorable and very enjoyable. It was a good experience both on an educational front and also as life experience.