Today marks the first week of classes (or called modules here) in Singapore! I am taking four classes here: two at my host college, Yale-NUS College, and two at the larger university system of NUS. Both of my Yale-NUS classes are in-person! One of my classes is called Global Health Governance. It will be my hardest class of the semester. We already signed up for dates to present in front of our class two times for an hour. As someone who does get nervous with public speaking, it will definitely be scary; however, our professor is super helpful and will help us prepare for those two big days. I am very excited to take this class since the topic is so relevant today and an aspect of international studies I want to pursue a career in.
My other Yale-NUS class is International Relations. It is considered to be the introductory class to the Global Affairs Major here. In my case, International Studies is different from International Relations since I have not taken a class that specifically analyzes the relationships between nations (ex. war, trade, etc.). Therefore, I feel like this class would be a nice addition to my major. Unfortunately, I had to miss my first class last Wednesday because I had to go to my university hospital. All of the exchange students were required to make an appointment to have a serology (blood) test to confirm that we have the antibodies for COVID-19 from our vaccinations. Luckily, I was confirmed to have the antibodies!
Both of my NUS classes are on zoom. My first class is probably my favorite class because it hits close to home for me: Beginning Tamil. Being a Tamil myself, I never had the opportunity to learn my language and so I cannot read or write in my mother tongue. Now, through studying abroad, I can learn about my language in an educational setting. I was very emotional during the first class. When my teacher said “Vanakkam” (Hello) to our class, I was like “I did not just hear that!” I could not believe that I was having my whole classroom learn about my ethnicity. I never thought in a million years that could happen, but it is now a reality. I am so looking forward to this class! My other class is my Intro to Geography class, a fun, relaxing class to learn about the basics of human and physical geography. This class has around forty students so it is definitely a different environment than what I am used to at Vassar.
Besides academics, I had so much fun this week! One of my suitemates took me out to dinner and we had chili noodles and chocolate waffles! Some exchange students and I went to a nature park a few minutes away from campus and spent hours immersing ourselves in Singaporean nature (while eating McDonald’s). I also went strolling around the city with my two friends. Overall, I had a great beginning to my study abroad experience.