Life at National University of Singapore
By: Pranjul Mishra (PhD Scholar, NUS)
University veterans will never forget the freshman year at college. In general it is a time occupied with anticipation, anxiety, and self-discoveries. National University of Singapore (NUS) is a lot different than IITs or any other Indian college for that matter. What can you expect as you head off into the wonderful world of higher education? The first thing you’ll notice is the assignments. It will be heavier and more intense than you ever experienced before. All the assignments will be reading intensive requiring a regular brain storming. It can at times lead to doubt, frustration and loneliness but that is where you have to hang in there. These phases will pass. Don’t take any negative decisions regarding your majors or project in a haste. Always consult and take advice of the experienced. Things always look better in the morning.
Try to make as many friends and learn from other’s experience as it will be free. Let the selection happen naturally and you will see, these friendships will be the most satisfying and long term. Living outside your home country can be challenging. And that too in a country like Singapore which can be really strict in their civilian rules. Be careful here. Enjoy your pristine freedom. Explore the opportunities but remember, with freedom comes responsibility.
I will not provide department and course work information here as I don’t want a biotechnology graduate to apply in Chemical engineering department! Rather go for Biological sciences where you will be rewarded more for your knowledge. Here, you will have to equip yourself with least amount of chemical engineering basics that can be painful at the starting. Just to give you a glimpse of Chemical engineering pain that I have gone through, following are the courses that I studied in National University of Singapore (NUS):
Advance Reaction Engineering
Advance Separation Process
Advance Inorganic Nanomaterials
Downstream Processing for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
Advance molecular genetics
First two are the compulsory courses. Next three are department electives. And the last one is one of the cross department modules that we are free to take (only 1 cross dept. module is allowed). With that said, anybody interested in Chem-eng can write to me about the dept. specific queries anyways.
My Project at National University of Singapore
I work to apply systems and synthetic biology to model micro-organism. It basically requires building a mathematical framework to capture the biochemical information of an organism. And then simulate it to characterize its different growth patterns and molecular capabilities. I work under Prof. C. B. Ching and Dr. D. Y. Lee.
The Fun Part
In my 2 years in Singapore, contrary to my expectations and because of unforeseen reasons, I could only manage to visit Malaysia, Hong-kong and Macau. And why I said “only”, is because Singapore is quite near to many countries like; Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam etc. It’s quite central to the south-east culture.
My first trip was to Penang and Langkawi in Malaysia. Penang is an economically important state of Malaysia as well as formally inscribed as UNSECO world heritage site. From there, we took ferry to Langkawi, which is an island in Malaysia. Following is a little glimpse of my journey 🙂
Recently, I went to Hong kong and Macau for weekend trips. It had always been my dream destination where I wanted to play poker, which I did finally (though I would suggest not to indulge in such activities). Here are the few snaps of the trip:
Hope you all would benefit from my experience and my life at National University of Singapore (NUS). An important point I would like to make is that:
In addition to National University of Singapore (NUS), there are others Asian universities like Nanyang technological university (kind of sister concern of NUS) and Hong Kong university of Science and technology (HKUST) which you can eye. The eligibility is the same: GATE or GRE. I would like to emphasize here that it is really an advantage to have GRE score with you in addition to GATE because then you can apply to USA, CANADA as well. Also, GRE is must for some scholarships like SINGA or NGS in NUS.
All the very best to all of you!
Success wished your way!