Lauren’s Story | Studying and Living in Singapore

I’ve been completing a double degree in Biomedical Engineering and Physics at Flinders for four years now, with another two years to go. Whilst this may seem like a long time, it has honestly flown by with so many amazing opportunities and experiences along the way.

One of these great experiences is the placement I am currently on. As a part of my engineering degree it is compulsory that I complete a 20-week workplace practicum (which is just a fancy way of saying placement). This is a fantastic opportunity for all Engineering and IT students to experience working life and Flinders University is the only university in South Australia to designate a semester for the placement. As an added benefit it looks great on the resume and many of my friends have actually received job offers with the companies at the completion of their placement.

I have been very fortunate in being able to do my placement in Singapore at Nanyang Polytechnic. A polytechnic is a bit of a mixture between a high school and a university with most of the local students between 17-19 years old. Whilst on placement here I have been completing a research project looking at the feasibility of a proposed idea. This has included researching supporting information from data bases, competing calculations, coding and also designing models and then drawing them up on a computer program. The work has been challenging and definitely has put me out of my comfort zone at times. One of the great aspects of working at such an institution is that there is constant support from the professors, like my supervisor, and also the other students.

I was able to apply for a study grant from the Australian Government for my placement. As a result, my travel expenses, living costs and weekend activities have pretty much all been covered from the scholarship.

One of the best aspects of this placement has been living with 7 other students from Flinders. Honestly some of the best memories have happened back at our apartment, playing cards, cooking dinner and just chilling out. I am so lucky with the other students here and have definitely made some lifelong friends. There are also a heap of other exchange students that we’ve got to know very well from all over the globe. Next time I’m in Europe I know I have places to stay in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands – to name a few.

Another great aspect of undertaking placement in Singapore is that South East Asia is only a short and relatively cheap flight away. Myself and Emilia (also a Flinders University student) travelled to Vietnam, where we spent Christmas at a small island off the southern coast and New Year’s Eve in Ho Chi Minh city. It was one of the most amazing times, spent riding on the back of scooters to waterfalls, eating delicious food and meeting some amazing people. Next weekend a group of us will be jet setting off to Thailand where we will be diving, hiking and hopefully tanning before completing our final week of placement. I’ll also be travelling to Malaysia with my Mum once placement has finished and we’re aiming to hike Mt Kinabula, ending my time away from home with an amazing view of the sunrise. All these incredible experiences I never would have been able to do outside of Flinders and I am so grateful!

My 20 weeks here is drawing to a close and whilst I am excited to return home to see friends and family I will definitely miss Singapore, the people that I’ve met along the way and living with my housemates. My advice to any student or potential student is to look out for opportunities. There are just so many at Flinders and they are often subsidized so now is definitely the time to tick them off!

Good luck for 2018!

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