It baffles me how I’ve been studying in NUS for more than one and a half months now yet I still haven’t posted any pictures of it up on my blog. I guess I really have been doing too much “living” than that of posting.
I can’t help it though. When you’re forced to live on your own with friends, you can only have so much time for a sufficient amount of regular blog entries. I’m not complaining of course, the all nighter parties and trips outside the country are all so worth it– but that’s another story and another entry.;)
One thing that totally blew me over with NUS is its size. The majestic buildings scattered across fields of greenery make Ateneo look miniature. I found out about the massive area the hard way actually. When me and my parents first visited the campus, I took it upon myself to be “one with nature” and walk from NUHS (our in house hospital) all the way to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS).
What was estimated to be a 30 minute walk became thrice as long because we got lost along the way. Clearly I have to brush up on my map reading skills. Halfway along the way, I resorted to pleading surrender and received laughs from my parents followed by their banter of I-told-you-sos.
NUS is passionate about sports and fitness. They have quite a number of tennis courts in the campus, along with a track oval, a roomy multi purpose sports hall that houses all the other sports courts, and three gyms with a fourth one currently in development.
The Yusof Ishak House(YIH) is one of the first places I went to during my introduction to NUS. They had a talk prior to the orientation that was meant for exchange students wanting to continue on exploring Asia during their stay in Singapore.
Exchange students are pretty easy to spot during the first few weeks of classes. Besides the obvious differences in appearance, they’re either looking up at the signs in the buildings or sighing when they realize just how far they are from where they’re supposed to go next.
Back in Ateneo, foreign students don’t take up much of the student population. It’s a whole different ballgame in NUS though. I think there are around 600 exchange students in this semester alone.
Due to the campus’ massive size, NUS offers its students 4 different kinds of shuttles, each having its own counterpart at the opposite side of the road. From what I hear, it takes 40 minutes for the main bus (A1/A2) to complete one route. Pretty intense, huh?
The Deck is the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ (FASS) cafeteria. It’s been awarded the best one in the campus and I’ve heard it’s got a lot to do with the Laksa and the variety of fruit juices served. Oh, and did I forget to mention that it’s three floors high?
Classes here are usually divided into two components: lecture and tutorial. Lectures are what I’d compare to Ateneo’s Masterclasses in Philosophy where the lecturer gives an overview of the lesson to everyone taking the subject. Tutorials on the other hand, are taught in classrooms, offering a more hands on and one-on-one approach with the professor and his/her students.
The Central Forum is where I usually alight from the bus. It holds the Central Library, serves as the passageway for the buildings of FASS, also becomes the grounds for numerous weekly bazaars.
I love how automated everything is in Singapore. Besides the EZ Link card which helps me get around the country via public transportation, I have three other additions to my wallet.
My Matric card’s what others would normally call a student’s ID. It allows me to enter the different libraries of NUS and the best part about it is that it’s what I use to get my food in my dorm’s meal plan. All I have to do is let the reader scan my card, wait for my details to pop up on the screen in order to tell the cafeteria ladies my diet preference, and pick up my filled (and heavy) plate.
Next is my dorm’s key card. Key cards are only usually found in hotels, but considering that my dorm’s community actually resembles that of a hotel’s, well, let’s just say that it all makes perfect sense.
The third card’s my Identification Card (IC). It’s equivalent to a Student Pass for my stay in Singapore. It’s what helps me steer clear of the long For-Foreigner lines at immigration during my travels. Instead, I’m privileged to opt for the Long-Term-Pass-Holders lane instead.
NUS is beautiful to say the least. I only wish the skies were visually appealing so that these pictures could do the campus justice. Oh well, looks like these will have to do for now. Stick around for more entries on my semester in NUS! For now, let me resume finishing a paper for my theatre class!