Puspita H., Singapore – National University of Singapore (Global Studies)



1. What types of classes did you take abroad and how did they compare to UCSB?

I took a lot of classes in the Southeast Asia Studies Department for my major. Why I took so many classes there is because there are not a lot of classes that focus on Southeast Asia at UCSB. Since it is a small department, classes were small and my professore were also my TAs, so I was able to get to know my professors without needing to go to office hours.

2. What was your favorite class abroad?

I have 2 favorite classes from NUS. One was Traditional Dance in Southeast Asia and the other Research in Southeast Asia. My favorite thing about these two modules was that it came with a field trip. I got to go to Bali and Phuket with my classmates. I learned traditional Balinese dance while I was in Bali and I learned how to create a research proposal in Phuket!


3. Did you intern, volunteer, or conduct fieldwork or research abroad? If so, tell us about your experience.



4. How would you describe your host institution?

NUS is a really prestigious school. It was ranked the #1 school in the Asia region, so it is no wonder that all the students there take school very, very seriously. With that being said, the students are not just studious. They are very involved in clubs and organizations and throughout the year they put out a lot of events.

5. Are there student clubs/organizations that UC students can join?

There are many clubs students can join, however I notice that commitment is very important so if you join one, it is expected that you keep participating in their events every week.



6. Describe your housing situation.

I stayed in Prince George’s Park Residences (PGPR) the whole time I was there. I had my own room with my own bathroom and aircon. Having my own room was nice, however I found myself getting lonely often, and it did not help that PGPR was considered the quiet dorms. However, this dorm is close to a 7/11 so it was useful when I got hungry late at night.


7. Where did you eat most of your meals?

I ate a lot of my meals in the school canteens and sometimes I would go out with my friends to hawker centers near by. School canteens are probably one of the cheapest places to get food on the island!

8. How much was an average meal? Do you have any budgeting tips for future students?

Food in Singapore is very cheap! $5 USD can get you a good meal with a drink!

9. Would it be difficult for vegetarians/vegans and others with strict dietary restrictions to find meals?

I find that my vegan/vegetarian friends did not have a lot of trouble finding food that fit their diet. A lot of Indian food stalls are vegetarian/vegan friendly and affordable!

10. Describe your most memorable dining experience abroad.

My most memorable dining experience was getting McDonalds at West Coast park with some friends after our second semester finals and sitting near the water and just reminiscing about the past school year.

11. What local food or drink do you miss most now that you are back?

Chicken rice and Mala specifically from NUS Arts canteen, Wonton Mee, and Fish ball soup!



12. Describe your host city.

Singapore is a very small city-state with people from many different ethnic groups. You can learn about so many cultures just by living in Singapore.

13. Was it easy to get around?

It is very easy to get around Singapore. They have very efficient public transportation systems. You can easily look up how to get to places with google maps and it will also tell you how to get to places through public transportation.

14. Did you feel safe in your host city? Do you have any safety tips for future students?

Singapore is known to be a very safe country. While I was there, I could leave my stuff without asking anyone to watch it and it would still be there. Singapore is the only place I have been to where I did not feel unsafe while walking around late at night.

15. What were some interesting/fun things that you did in your host city?

Singapore is very small, so you can explore the touristy things in less than a week. Even though it seems like there is not much new things you can do after you’ve done the touristy stuff, there are always free events at Gardens by the Bay to attend! Also even though it seems like Singapore is a concrete jungle, there are so many biking trails to bike on.



16. Describe any cultural differences you experienced while abroad.

I did not experience much cultural differences since I have lived in Indonesia and some mannerisms are quite similar.

17. How did you handle culture shock?

I did not experience much culture shock while I was there.

18. What is your favorite aspect of your host culture?

My favorite thing about Singapore’s culture is that it is a mixture of Asian and European culture. It is nice for someone like me who has lived both in Indonesia and the U.S., I get a little bit of Asian culture and a little bit of Western culture.



19. What was your biggest fear about studying abroad that turned out to be no big deal?

I was scared at how much money I would have to spend because Singapore is known to be an expensive place to live, however I discovered that most of the necessities I need are either cheaper than U.S. price or the same price.

20. What was your biggest challenge abroad?

My biggest challenge abroad was making friends with local students. It took a lot of effort and time to get close with some local students, but it was worth it.  

21. How have you changed as a result of your time abroad?

It sounds cheesy to say that studying abroad changed my life, but I think it really did change it for the better. I learned more about myself while I was abroad. Studying abroad has helped me realize what I would like to do with my life in the future.

22. What is your advice to prospective UCSB EAP students?

Study abroad!! It is an amazing experience that you won’t get when you’re in your 30s already working.

To those who are planning to, remember to be open minded during your time abroad.

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