Friday, January 6, 2012

The blur of Singapore

I just returned from a semester studying at the National University of Singapore. It's a vibrant place, with tonnes of activities, motivated students, and funky British spelling. Perhaps the things I'll remember the most are my frustration at the multilevel, bus-linked, maze-like campus and my amazement at the subsidized textbooks and food. I had had high hopes for my classes, because of the global stature of the university and its breadth in research. A school that has a sizable computational biology department and a world-class Centre for Quantum Technologies must do a pretty good job training its undergrads, I thought. As it turned out, my lecturers left a whole lot to be desired, and my best experiences on campus were extracurricular cultural activities I signed up for — archery lessons, exploration of buddhist texts with a former monk, an inter-faculty ping-pong tournament, being in a short video shoot with a pair of amateur filmmakers, and meeting undergraduates from Delhi to Denmark.

After the break, a few photos that give an overview of the semester.

Bangladeshi foreign workers in yellow hard hats group together for a morning meeting in their temporary housing area before heading off to work. Construction was everywhere.
On Flag Day, NUS students gathered under the skyscrapers of Marina Bay to cheer on the performances by each faculty. Notice the crane in the background.
I logged a lot of hours on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) shown here, as well as on the incredible bus system. I found it pretty hard to get lost, which is especially impressive for me.
Improving my eating dexterity in Little India.
Despite our training, we still lost to the other unbelievably intense teams.
And of course, lots of studying. 
The change in climate took a toll on me, and I never felt quite settled. But I experienced a whirlwind of cultures, food, and assignments that I'm sure I couldn't get anywhere else. The rush of everything meant that I left a whole lot of stuff back home unattended too. I'm hoping to get back on track with my research interests this semester. I'll keep you updated!

No comments:

Post a Comment