Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nanyang Technological University

I’ve officially been “studying” abroad for a little over a month now, though I’ve been lacking in the studying part.  Classes are structured much differently here than in Madison.  I don’t have any homework assignments, quizzes, midterms, etc.  My grade is heavily weighted on the final (70% in some cases).  With finals seemingly in the very distant future and such beautiful weather ALL THE TIME, my incentive to study is minimal.
So what the heck have I been doing on campus during the week?  Nanyang Technological University (NTU… I just realized I have hardly talked about school that I haven’t even mentioned the name) has a beautiful, green campus where I can usually find something better to do than go sit in the library.  Depending on the day, you can find me at dance or yoga class, and my friend has recently agreed to start giving me tennis lessons!  If I’m not there, I’m most likely laying by the pool and getting a tan.  I wear sunscreen of course because I’m living on the equator!  I also just got my new camera!  So I’ll be working on my photography skills.

North Spine, where some of the classes are held.

Such a green campus.
The Art, Design, and Media building.  It’s so cool!  You can go on top of it.
A typical canteen.
They have these things over most of the sidewalks on campus to protect you from the sun or rain.
The NTU pool!

My hall.
This concept of doing things that I actually love doing is so new to me.  In Madison, the little free time I do have is spent at some desolate location within the engineering campus crunching numbers and attempting to understand functions of the human body.  The transition to this lifestyle has been far from difficult, though I can’t imagine it will be as easy adjusting when I return to “real life”.
As far as my studies go, all my classes are pass/fail (I just need a C), so I think I can just wing it in the final.  JUSSTTT KIDDING, Mom and Dad.  My favorite class is probably Chinese.  I can’t say that I’m very good at it, but I think foreign languages are very cool and it’s not often that I get to take a class that isn’t math and science.  One interesting thing about Mandarin is that it doesn’t have different verb tenses like in English.  The same phrase could mean “I am eating”, “I ate”, or “I will eat”.  We’ve also been writing and learning characters.  A lot of characters are combinations of other simpler characters based on the meaning.  The character for “good” is the combination of the characters “female” and “sun”.  The character for “America” is the combination of the characters “beautiful” and “country”.
NTU is acknowledged for their strengths in science and engineering, which is pretty cool.  The school has about 23,000 undergraduates.  All the other exchange students are amazed by how big it is, but I’m kind of used to it with the 40,000 undergraduates in Madison.
I love the campus and the school.  My only issue is how far away from the city it is.  It takes about an hour with the MRT or about a half hour if you take a cab.
I still can’t believe this is my life.

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