Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to live in the future? Perhaps you can visualize a city among a garden? In the winter vacation of 2019, I had the opportunity to travel to a country that most other nations consider as the ‘model city’ – Singapore – an enchanting modern metropolis. A city planned 50 years in the future, and I did not believe that myself until I saw it with my own eyes.
Combine this with the opportunity to study an exchange at one of the world’s best universities, the renowned Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and this trip was even more amazing. Over the 4 weeks in June-July, my 5 friends and I from UTS embarked on a trip of a lifetime, discovering every aspect the tiny nation of Singapore had to offer.
NTU has one of the best campuses of any University, it has its own residential dorms, bus lines, gyms, pools and fast food joints like McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks etc. It was also an incredible learning opportunity to be taught by professors with over 30 years of experience in their respective fields of Cyber Security and Project Management.
One of the most interesting aspects of Singapore was the food. Delicious, cheap, abundant and diverse. It makes me wonder how a country with no agricultural space, hot-humid annual weather and a huge population can have such a huge variety and seemingly endless supply of food. I also got to try the highly anticipated Chili Crab but was left a little disappointed.
Travelling was a breeze. Singapore has developed one of the world’s most technologically advanced and efficient infrastructure for the Metro system (MRT), public buses and ride sharing services – GRAB. Automated trains run from sunrise to midnight at an amazing frequency of 3 mins and buses are not a minute late. Singapore may be small but it is hugely dynamic and fluid.
Singapore does not have the natural beauty that many other countries in the world are gifted with, but oh boy do they impress with their modern architecture. Singapore has a vast indoor, underground and vertical infrastructure rivaled by few cities. One of their most magnificent structures and landmarks is the Marina Bay Sands hotel in the heart of the bay. The huge towers are a symbol of prosperity, art and affluence. At night, water shows, and light shows in the neighboring Gardens by the Bay bring the city to life. It was here I spent a majority of my time exploring and admiring the city. We also spent a lot of our time enjoying the cooler climate in the many shopping complexes around the city which are open till 10pm daily! One of my most favourite shopping destinations were the famous Orchard Road and Jewel at Changi, a new entertainment hub recently inaugurated.
Singapore also has some unique natural attractions to offer such as Sentosa Island and Henderson’s Waves. It was fun to visit the Southernmost part of continental Asia, visiting the largest Merlion on the island and riding on the Luge with friends at Sentosa.
Singapore has a rich history and it was humbling to learn about the birth of a nation through my visit to the National Art Gallery, National Museum and visiting several heritage places such as the Supreme Court, Pulau Ubin, Haji Lane, Little India, Chinese Gardens and so on.
Whether it was attending 8-hour lectures, exploring the city in 35C heat, playing Uno on campus with friends or relaxing at Marina Lighthouse and seeing the city at night, Singapore was a truly fairytale experience and one to cherish for many, many years to come.
If you get the opportunity, do not miss a chance to visit the Garden City yourself!
– Ahnaf Rahman
Bachelor of Information Technology Co-op