October just started a couple of days ago, but the first MIM semester in Singapore is already getting to its end! When most of the CEMSies were still enjoying the summer anywhere in the world, CEMSies here, in Singapore started their MIM adventure already in July.
Given the fact, that none of us managed to get on-campus accommodation and was informed about this only one week before our semester started, made the beginning of our MIM semester really an adventure. Living together, in a tiny hostel for 2 weeks made the new CEMS family come together. Visiting the Block Seminar every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and making the flat-hunting at the same time was not an easy task, but finally most of us found his/her room (probably the most expensive one we have ever had) in a typical Singaporean condo with a nice swimming pool and gym for the upcoming months.
Adapting to the new environment also posed some challenges.
Eating at the Singaporean food courts which has three main characteristics: lack of hygienic standards, extremely spicy food (even if you ask for non-spicy, it is something that doesn’t exist here) and unknown Asian meal names. And rice and noodles, rice and noodles, rice and noodles, everywhere.
Balancing between the heat and the freezing cold every time you enter a building, a bus or metro station, because as we now all know, Singaporeans love air-conditioning! And they especially love to use it at a low temperature of 17 degrees which results in our continuous level of sickness during our stay in Singapore.
Coping with unknown flies and insects’ bites, trying to understand the Singaporean English or discovering salty desserts.
But during adapting to the new settings we also realized that there are some other and better factors we have to get used to it. Let’s see them!
Amazing view at roof-top parties
Skyscrapers and famous buildings all around
Jungle, beach and islands just next to the city
Week-end trips to Malaysia, Thailand or Bali
Although, some might think now that studying in Singapore is only fun and travelling, I have to say no. To use the words of one of my professors ‘CEMS at NUS is not a fun program, at all!’. And it is true, indeed. It was clear after two weeks for every CEMSies that the workload at NUS is extremely though and probably the flat-hunting period was the last time when we had the chance to see the most from Singapore. From the second week of the semester we mostly spend our days at the University and the library.
Attending the 3-hour classes, doing the heavily reading assignments, case-study write-ups and essays for Managing for Public and Private Environmental Sustainability, working on individual and group projects for Global Strategic Management, taking care of our own brands and products in the simulation market of Applied Market Research, solving case-studies for Financial Management of Family Business, preparing indexes and Pivot-tables for Analytical Tools for Consulting or creating presentations for the Business Communication Skill Seminar are just some examples of how we spend our weekdays and often our weekends recently. But working within our CEMS Family make it worth for it!
I started this post introducing the Singaporean MIM as an adventure, but looking back now, I would rather say that a CEMS semester in Singapore is challenge. It is indeed, in every respect. But facing challenges, isn’t it something, we CEMSies strive for? I think the answer is obvious.
So, go ahead and...
...keep up the CEMSpirit!
If you would like to know more about the myths and facts of exchange in Singapore, at NUS, check this out!
Story and photos: Éva Kadocsa