Rain Wang, Singapore – Summer Global Internship (Computer Science)

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Merlion statue at downtown Singapore

ACADEMICS

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

For the Summer Internship Program, we took a course accompanying the internship. It was more casual and mostly seminar-based.

  1. What was your favorite class abroad? 

We only took one complimentary course, the main focus of our program was the internship.

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

Yes, I did an internship at Singapore. I worked at a IoT (Internet of Things)/smart device startup company. I was an applications engineer on the team, and spent most of my time developing the frontend User Interface of the smart device control platform that we were working on. The internship was very intensive.

HOST INSTITUTION

  1. How would you describe your host institution?

Our host institution was CIEE, an organization that matched us with our companies and also organized events on weekends.

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

We didn’t get involved in any student clubs/organizations because this program is not on campus. However, there were some organized events and talks during the weekends which were fun.

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CIEE group trying dragon boating

HOUSING

  1. Describe your housing situation.

We lived at YMCA Singapore, it was a hostel type place. Each room was shared by two people, and the room was rather small, but we had private bathrooms. The location was amazing, in the heart of downtown Singapore, very central and convenient.

FOOD

  1. Where did you eat most of your meals?

I usually had breakfast at YMCA (where we lived), which had breakfast included. For lunch, we usually ate at hawker centers or underground malls/restaurants near our workplace. For dinner, I would eat at malls or food centers.

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

An average meal at hawker center is around $5-8 SGD, and $10-15 in a mall/restaurant. Of course, if you want, there are fancier options. I think the most budget-friendly option to eat is at hawker centers, there’s really no way to go cheaper than that. It might also help if you can cook at your place.

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

Personally I am not on any dietary restrictions, so I’m not experienced in that. However, I do think it might be difficult and cost you more if you are vegetarian/vegan, because at hawker centers, it’s usually Asian food, so you don’t really have much options there. Thus you have to eat elsewhere and spend more.

10. Describe your most memorable dining experience abroad.

My most memorable dining experience was having Chinese food with my co-workers at a very traditional restaurant.

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

I miss sugarcane juice so much!!! It’s sold at every hawker center, and it’s extremely refreshing in hot Singapore. Other foods I miss, just to name a few: durian, cendol (a shaved ice dessert), crispy roast pork, kaya toast …

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All Sorts of Juice

HOST CITY

  1. Describe your host city.

Singapore is a huge international metropolitan city. It’s very lively and there are lots of places to have fun. There are lots of nightlife options and just so many malls. The weather is hot and humid, but you’ll get used to it, plus there’s always AC indoors.

  1. Was it easy to get around?

It was, there is a subway/metro system called MRT. In addition, there are lots of buses and Grabs (Southeast Asian Uber).

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

Singapore is very safe, you can walk around in Singapore 24/7 no worries. One thing to notice is to look out for cars when you’re at small alleys or crosswalks. In the U.S., you would naturally expect cars to stop for you at a crosswalk, but Singapore drivers won’t stop for you, so it might be a bit dangerous to cross the street when you see a car coming.

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

There are lots of scenic spots in Singapore and honestly Singapore is so photogenic! My favorite memory was swimming in the Infinity Pool at Marina Bay Sands, it was a one-of-a-kind experience.

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Me faking it at Marina Bay Sands


HOST CULTURE
 

  1. Describe any cultural differences you experienced while abroad.

In Singapore, especially at hawker centers, they rarely provide napkins, so you have to bring your own. Many people make fun of “Singlish” accent, but you will really appreciate Singapore for speaking English after you visit other countries that don’t speak English at all!

  1. How did you handle culture shock?

One culture shock was the long hours Singaporeans work. I think they are partly influenced by the Chinese corporate culture of 996 (works 9AM-9PM, 6 days a week). As interns, we often have to stay late for work, but you shouldn’t be pressured to work on weekends.

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

My favorite aspect is that Singapore is so diverse and welcoming. They have ethnic groups from everywhere.


TRAVEL
 

  1. Tell us your favorite travel story from your time abroad.

My friends and I went to Batam island (Indonesia) which is right next to Singapore.

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REFLECTION 

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

I didn’t really have any fear before going.

  1. What was your biggest challenge abroad?

My biggest challenge was definitely the intensity of the internship. Our boss expected a lot from us interns, and we did the best we could.

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

I am more familiar with the IT industry and I’m able to critically incorporate technical details with business decisions.

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

Go study abroad! There isn’t really anything you should worry about. For those of you who are doing internship programs, think about what you want to get out of it, it’s not just about completing tasks for that specific company.


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