Experiences at Nanyang Technological University
It just so happens that every time I mention that I am from Singapore and I am a student of English Literature, people automatically assume I am from NUS (National University of Singapore). I am not. There are indeed other Universities in that little island including Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU). I am a student of Nanyang Technological University and contrary to popular belief, we do have a wide range of non-technological faculties.
My personal experience in NTU started in 2007. After finishing GCSE A' Levels on November 2006 in Singapore, I waited 3 months for my results. I then waited for another 3 months trying to decide if I wanted to accept the offers into the local universities present in Singapore or pursue higher education overseas. With much persuasion from parents and nights of sleepless dilemma, I chose the former.
NTU has in total 11 engineering, 7 science and 5 humanities subjects. It has also one of the top ranked business schools and is currently the only university in Singapore offering Communication Studies to undergraduate students as well as Arts, Media and Design. NTU's campus is situated alongside the National Institute of Education (NIE), which caters to individuals who have decided to later pursue a career in the teaching field. This brought me to my second dilemma of subject choice. Till then, I had been a student of the Science faculty, but somehow I knew being a doctor I would kill more lives than I saved. I thus chose the Arts.
Thankfully I live not to regret it. On the first day of the new term, I arrived in a huge auditorium allocated for all the arts students. I was about 10 minutes late. Hundreds of eyes peered down at me. I scanned the room for familiar faces and found none. I slid into the nearest chair on the empty third row as a lady spoke about the education life and various university experiences offered in NTU. She spoke of its rich history of over 50 years. NTU was first started in 1955 with the help of millionaires to humble trishaw riders. It is a university created for the people by the people. Now, half a century later, it stands as a worthy successor at its original Yunnan Garden Campus. We were also informed that to complement the diverse races present in the student bodies, the Global Programme in NTU offers a comprehensive education programme where student exchanges occur with top-notch universities such as Stanford, MIT, Waseda, Cornell and so forth. There were also summer programmes overseas and work attachment programmes. We were informed of the various details and just as the talk was getting too mundane to handle, we broke out into various subject groups and took mini tours of the university.
With the minor exception of the first 2 weeks where I was constantly lost and trying to figure out the huge campus, I have to date enjoyed my university life. The campus situated at the western end of the country is rather secluded. In fact many describe it as a town of its own. First Year students in NTU are given an opportunity to live on campus dormitories. Each hall has their own cafeteria. Living on campus allows students to indulge in other vital aspects such as different co-curricular activities. To accommodate the diverse culture present, there are various cultural student clubs including the Malay Chinese Indian Society. Not only that, there is the Sikh Society and Spanish society. The Sikh Society in NTU has gained much publicity over the years in organising many cultural programmes for the student such as trips to Gurdwara temples, Punjabi Mela, Bhangra Nights and such. In my first year, I chose to join the English Literary Society 'Epiphany' where we organised a massive Literary week with street fairs, performances, theatre acts and even basking. This event received much media coverage being the pioneering student organised literary event taking place in Singapore. It was also parallel to Singapore's shifting attention towards the arts scene.
The student council body in NTU is extremely dynamic. It comprises of students from various departments coming together collectively for the betterment of the university as well as its students. Career Weeks and Workshops organised by the Student Council gain attendance from both the curious new-comer and the seasoned graduating batch. These workshops inform students of the job market and prepare them with various skills needed in attaining their very first jobs.
In Nanyang Technology, libraries and scholarly journals were at our fingertips. Research was not a hassle anymore. Of course, to live up to its name, computers are in abundance and close proximity in all departments. For the ease of students, libraries and computer rooms were allocated department wise. In the main campus itself, there are two canteens allocated. One is on the North Spine, the other on the South. This spine, you may be wondering, is merely a fancy name for a passageway connecting the campus. Along these spines are car parking slots for students as well as lecturers.
My months and years in NTU went by faster than I could imagine! I know that NUS has gained its due respect and status over the years in the households of Bangladesh and its students looking to go over seas however I am here to offer you an alternative. Start your fruitful university education at NTU. Sure, you might be intimidated by the name, but I assure you, Chinese is not the main language spoken in our university!
(Rezwana is a Sophomore at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)