After a 3 year stint at Volvo Trucks, Bangalore, providence has landed me in Singapore, on the 14th of July, for a one year Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at NTU. I was accompanied by my father, who had decided to make this his first post retirement trip. I was quite excited as this was my first international trip, but at the same time, was extremely tired as I’d been working till the 11th. The last couple of days had just zoomed away what with all the packing and last-minute purchasing. Our flight was from Chennai and we took a train from Bangalore on the morning of the 13th. We reached Chennai early in the evening and then boarded the flight at 21:45. Fortunately, everything went smoothly and there were no hassles during the journey.
We arrived at Changi Airport at half past five and a took a cab to a relative’s(Amara aunty) place. She stays at Taman Jurong, about 45 km from the airport. We were there in next to no time as there was absolutely no traffic and were greeted by both her and her son. They were up early that day, watching the finals of the FIFA World cup. We were ushered into our room and both me and my dad were out like lights, exhausted after the long journey.
The next couple of days were just amazing. Singapore is probably the cleanest and most organized city in the world. Coming from Bangalore, I could actually feel how far behind we were in terms of planning. The first one hour of traveling we spent marveling at each and every tiny aspect which made the city so efficient and beautiful. It’s quite an eyeful to one who has lived in the chaos of Indian cities. Also, there was the culture shock of seeing people from so many ethnic backgrounds around. I really must confess that I did a lot of staring that day 🙂 .
We visited NTU in the morning and, woah!, it was the most massive campus I’d ever seen in my life, spread around 500 acres, which is about 8 times the size of R.V College. It was mind-blowing, we actually got lost inside the university the very first day. It was the first time I was getting a feel of a full-scale international university, and, boy oh boy, was it awesome!
The first thing I did was to collect the key to my room in the hostel, an electronic one. To cut down expenses I had chosen a double room which I would be sharing with another student. The room was very well planned and had all the furniture I needed along with a bed as shown below:
I also met Sankalp a classmate of mine from RV who will be staying in the same hostel a level below ours. He was with us at Volvo for a year and now will be studying the same course as me here at NTU. Over the next few days we completed all the joining formalities like registration, opening a bank account, medical test, tuition fee loan application and exploring the campus. Also we had to register for the various orientation activities organized by the Graduate Student Council, the elected representative body of graduate students at NTU. I also purchased a local SIM and an EZ-link card which is required for traveling by MRT as well as bus. The MRT system is just fantastic in Singapore and can get you to almost all locations in the city including the airport. Travel is very cheap this way and just about 100SGD is required per person for visiting all the must see locations in the city/country.
The one thing which really stands out in Singapore is the variety offered when it comes to food. You can find Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Western, Malay eateries in almost every mall, each of these again serving multifarious dishes. The prices are also quite reasonable ranging from 3 to 6 SGD for a full meal. The past 10 days I must say have been a gastronomical delight for me. Amara aunty, who we were staying with, added to this experience by churning out delectable dishes in every meal she cooked for us. All in all, I should confess that our tummies must have had a really hard time digesting all the stuff that kept going in at regular intervals.
I joined my dad in touring the city once I completed all my joining formalities. We visited Sentosa, Marina Bay, Singapore zoo, Little India, China town and also traveled extensively within the city. I will refrain from giving detailed descriptions of all these places as I feel the reader ought to visit and discover these places in person.
My dad returned to India on the 23rd and I moved into my room in the hostel the next day. Here, I will begin my journey as a student once again after working for 3 years now. I am looking forward to my time here and am hoping to meet a lot of interesting people. Also at the same time I will do my best not to let down those numerous friends of mine who have specifically asked me to have fun during my stay here 🙂 . Let me leave you now with one of my favorite quotes by Thoreau.
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods