Editor’s Note: Nineteen international students from the University of Michigan – Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute (UM-SJTU JI, JI hereafter) are now in Singapore attending the one-semester Study Away Program starting in August. During the semester ending in December, they can take JI courses as well as courses of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and get access to facilities and services of the Singapore university. They also have opportunities to participate in many extra-curricular activities experiencing Singapore’s unique history, diverse culture, and cutting-edge technology in person. Below are some pictures and stories shared by a few students on their life in the tropical city state.

Group photo of JI students attending the Study Away Program

Choo Lee Wen, JI sophomore student from Malaysia 

The study trip to Singapore opens my eyes. The first thing that greeted me is the multicultural atmosphere in Singapore. You can meet many of people from various backgrounds here. It also enables foodies like me to experiment with various exotic cuisines.

 Vietnamese, Chinese and Indian dishes I tasted in Singapore

I also joined the school’s archery club and took part in archery trainings during the past few weeks, learning how to use a recurve bow and compound bow. Throughout the training, I made a ton of local friends thanks to the fascinating experience.

“Hygge” at Lee Wei Nan Library offers students a virtual reality (VR) experience, allowing them to experience the interaction between virtual and real world. I like to relax here after a long day of study.

Isa Kimura, JI sophomore student from the United States

It’s a fresh experience for me to travel to Southeast Asia for the first time. I received so much support from my classmates, seniors, and even local Singaporeans, which made me quickly feel at home. I participated in local cultural events like National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival, and tried a variety of delicacies.

The courses in Nanyang Technological University also enabled me to learn about topics like logo design and brand history that are not frequently covered in JI. Overall, this exchange program helped me broaden my horizon and deepen my understanding of different cultures.

Angela Shiang, JI sophomore student from the United States

I want to express my gratitude to JI for this opportunity. NTU and Singapore are both fantastic options for me to meet up with my peers. Everything is convenient here, and there are many opportunities for us to hang out and travel together. Overall, it is a really memorable experience.

Walking along the Sentosa beach

Visiting a moon cake workshop at Jurong West

Sofia Velasquez Shum, JI sophomore student from Costa Rica

I’ve grown to love Singapore for its modern cities, beautiful tropical gardens, and delicious cuisine. The country has a diversity of cultures that has fostered respect for one another. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to study at the prestigious Nanyang Technological University in one of the most developed countries in Asia.

It is very exciting to communicate with classmates face to face. I got to know my classmates better as we explored the city, ate around, studied together, and had fun. Even the online classes become more interesting, and I feel more involved in the community life.

Tasting ice-made Chinese dessert at Chinatown

Niladri Saha, JI sophomore student from Bangladesh

My learning experience was elevated to a completely new level by the exchange program in Singapore, which deepened my understanding of Asian culture. I was able to continue my studies in a renowned laboratory in Asia and learn from esteemed global leaders. I gained a lot of knowledge about mechanics, and I now know more about the many divisions within my department. I was exposed to a wide range of cultures and gained better knowledge of Asians.

Seungyeon Yang, JI junior student from South Korea

A semester at Nanyang Technological University is relaxing and enjoyable. One of the courses I took at NTU was business and finance, since I am greatly interest in these fields. It was a good experience for me to learn something outside the JI courses. It is very interesting to listen to lectures, do surveys, prepare group presentations, and present results.

Also, the size of the classroom and students made me feel like a real “college student”. The education system of Nanyang Business School is very different from that of the engineering school of Jiao Tong University. We have to be more involved than simply listening and understanding. The process was also enjoyable for me, perhaps because it was an area I had never experienced before.

Many activities were held during the program, such as GEM trabilizer, TEDX, Huawei Tour, NUS Laboratory Tour, etc. NTU has many activities and festivals, and there are some extra-curricular activities almost every week. In addition, without this project, we would not have such a good opportunity to enter the laboratory of Huawei or NUS. I am beyond grateful for the university for serving us delicious Singaporean food, arranging tea parties for us to discuss any issues, and organizing activities for us to gather together.

Since we do not live together, it is not easy for us to communicate with local students. However, this is a great opportunity for us to explore life in Singapore. It is a regret that I cannot enjoy campus life in Shanghai. However, for me, having the opportunity to live in Singapore as a student is definitely a great experience.

Heeseung Han, JI senior student from South Korea

As an exchange student, a semester in Singapore was a very meaningful experience, allowing me to experience the world, interact with people from different cultures, and broaden my horizons. Unlike South Korea and China, Singapore is very multicultural and I was able to make a lot of new friends.

Taking classes at Nanyang Technological University is an excellent opportunity. NTU has a high reputation in Asia as well as around the world. The course I took at Nanyang Technological University was Fundamentals of Semiconductors, which features large-scale lectures in theater-sized classrooms. There were also weekly group tutorials to help us understand the course better. I enjoyed this course very much and it inspired me to think about my future career as a mechanical engineering student.

The learning experience here makes me look forward to interacting with more people, and living and learning more actively after I return to JI. In addition, I was able to participate in various activities in Singapore, including visiting the Huawei company, campus labs, the National Museum of Singapore, and the orientation activities at the National University of Singapore.