Exchange report - Student at KI
Home university: National University of Singapore
Study programme: Biomedicine (Master's)
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Autumn semester 2016/2017


After an information session about possible exchange universities during the biomedicine master I got very excited about studying a semester abroad in Singapore. I wanted to go somewhere outside Europe and preferably an English speaking country. Problems before departure were mainly to find suitable courses for master students and finding accommodation. Finding a suitable group for the middle research project was less of a problem for me, several PIs answered quickly.
There were some hurdles with the communication between KI and NUS about which courses we were able to take, since we were Master students but most courses in our field were bachelor courses. At the end we were able to choose between several very interesting 4th year bachelor courses.
There were no additional vaccinations required before moving to Singapore.

Arrival and registration

Since I was working the whole summer I only arrived the Sunday before introduction week started. For some reason the University already arranged some information meetings the week before the Introduction week, that I missed. However, that was not a problem, there were several welcoming events for exchange students organised within the term to meet other exchange students.
 I had a Singaporean buddy that picked me up from the metro station and brought me to my college, which was very nice and I would highly recommend to participate in the program. Registration and changing the courses at the faculty of science were no problem. 


If you get accommodation through the university, living is fairly cheap. Compared to Stockholm I spent less money on living costs, mainly because food was way cheaper in Singapore. But on the other hand I spend more money on traveling during the weekends. You will receive visa information when applying at NUS, but it was not expensive. You have to pay a fee to apply for housing at NUS, however it is worth it since student housing is way cheaper than finding something on your own (see next section). As mentioned before, vaccinations are not required if you stay in Singapore, therefore no costs are incurred. However, if you plan to travel in Southeast Asia outside Singapore, there are some vaccinations you should consider (


Accommodation can be a huge problem when you go on exchange to Singapore, especially as a master student. When I received my approval of application to NUS, they told me I should look for alternative housing because they can not offer housing to masters students. Nevertheless, I would recommend to apply for housing, you might end up getting a place after the second or third application round. I got rejected in the first round, whereupon I emailed all colleges and halls and explained my situation. Luckily, I received an answer that they had a cancellation in College of Alice and Peter Tan (CAPT) and if I want they can reopen the application portal for me. Of course I wanted, because finding accommodation by yourself is very difficult and expensive! Location and standards of university housing are very good and the rules aren't as strict as they seem when you get an offer. 
Living in CAPT was a great experience. I lived mainly with Singaporeans and made many local friends there. If you are open to meet locals, this is the best opportunity and I would highly recommend to join as many activities as possible in your college instead of only hanging out with other exchange students. This way I learned a lot about the Singaporean culture and tried some of the best food I ever had, Singaporeans love to take you out for food!! In most colleges you have a meal plan, which I liked, especially getting breakfast in the college saved my mornings. And again, a great opportunity to make Singaporean friends. My tip: don't sit on the table with all other exchangers but just join one of the tables assigned to your "house" (eg for me Dragon) and start talking to them. Everyone is really open and they are also interested to get to know your culture but that won't work if you only hang out with other exchange students. 

Studies in general

The teaching methods were very good, quite similar to KI courses. The relationship between students and supervisors was slightly more formal than in Sweden, but you can always ask for help. Since there are not many exchange students in the 4th year honors courses, the teachers recognize you as an exchange student and take care you can follow the course. They asked me if everything with the courses was ok and if I needed help. The only difficulty I experienced was that some teachers are very difficult to understand if they speak with an Singaporean accent. However, if you pay enough attention and also find some local friends, you will get used to the language. The exams were a mix of multiple choice questions and written answers. The written answers were comparable with KI exam questions, however the multiple choice questions differed a lot compared to what I was used at KI. But overall, exams were not more difficult than at KI.

Courses during the exchange period

Courses corresponding to semester 3 at KI
I was very happy with the courses at NUS. The lectures were interestingly designed and you learned a lot. The teachers are very nice and have a good relationship to their students and are also interested in you as an exchange student. The exams weren't as tough as everyone says, I would recommend to study a bit but don't stress out about how much Singaporeans study. Have a life outside University, because exchanges should not only be about studying.

I took two NUS 4th year honor courses: Cancer Pharmacology (LSM4214) and Infection & Immunity (LSM 4226). I enjoyed both courses and can highly recommend them. The first was slightly more time intensive, but I have learned a lot. A big advantage of the course was that it was very well structured and the teachers were good. It was a mix of lectures and project work. The Infection&Immunity course was also good, however, slightly more unorganized. The order of the lectures were not that continuously and there was a lot of information. However, it was still very interesting and we had some group work, which was nice to work in a group with Singaporean students. 

Language and Culture

Everything was taught in English but Singaporean English ("Singlish") is sometimes difficult to understand! Again, try to make Singaporeans friends and you'll get used to Singlish.
Of course, there are cultural differences between Sweden and Singapore. However, there are not as big compared to differences between Sweden and other Asian countries. The main difference I experienced was the extreme Singaporean commitment to study for University. Of course, in Sweden we also study for exams, however, in Singapore students study from the first day of the semester on every single day.
Another big difference between Singapore and Sweden, of course, is the weather. Singapore does not really have season, it is mostly between 28-32°C and very humid. Without AC in my room I had difficulties sleeping at night in the beginning, however, you quickly get used to the humidity and temperature. But don't forget to bring long trousers and some sweatshirts since it is freezing indoors in Singapore. They turn the AC very cold, especially in subways, malls and lecture halls. After a few weeks I preferred the heat and humidity over air conditioned rooms. 

Leisure time and social activities

It was very easy to get in contact with other students. There were several social activities planned in the beginning to meet other exchange students. It was also easy to get to know Singaporeans, mainly through the colleges, courses and other activities, for instance I joined the NUS swimming team.
Singapore is an amazing city, which has a lot to offer like concerts, sightseeing and food. And if you want to get out of Singapore, you can easily go to Malaysia by bus or fly to any other destination in Southeast Asia for the weekend. There are cheap flights to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand or Indonesia. It will never get boring!


I can highly recommend an exchange at NUS!! Singapore is an amazing city and it is easy to get around in Southeast Asia from Singapore. Moreover, NUS is a great university and Singaporeans are super nice so you will have a great time there!