“I was positively surprised by the personal connection teaching staff and students seem to have. Students were not merely a number.”


In this article, Peter Richard Dirk van der Wal from University of Twente, The Netherlands,  shares his experience studying at SUTD and the memorable things he did in Singapore.

Singapore and The Netherlands, it’s different… but the same?

When I reflected back on my exchange in Singapore and SUTD, I could not have been happier for my choice of destination. Singapore has been great as everything is very well organized. Transitioning from a Dutch to a Singaporean lifestyle was relatively smooth. The cleanliness, the fact that almost all Singaporeans speak English, and the good public transportation system allowed me to get the most out of my exchange term.

SUTD is very comparable in teaching style and environment as the University of Twente. I was positively surprised by the personal connection teaching staff and students seem to have. Students were not merely a number.

The local students were super open and welcoming to exchange students. I got invites to be part of project groups for courses that I took, which was welcoming as it prevented me from having the feeling of being the odd one out. The group-based and project-oriented education at SUTD was also a great way to get to know more local students.

Find out more about SUTD’s unique academic structure here!


Staying in or staying out?

At the beginning of the term, I was staying off campus as there were no more rooms available at the SUTD hostel. Lucky for me, I was informed that there was a room available after a few weeks and I moved in.

While staying off campus, I noticed that I missed out on a lot of social interaction because I always had to go home and was thus not able to join spontaneous activities. Staying in the hostel allowed me to partake in more activities and I even played for the University soccer team. I trained with the team for several weeks and played several matches in the SUNIG tournament. If I had not lived on campus, I am not sure whether I would have been able to do that.

Find out more about the SUTD hostel here!


Final thoughts about Singapore and SUTD

Going on exchange to SUTD in Singapore had been a great experience. The SUTD environment is very pleasant as it is small-scaled, making it easier to integrate with local students. Next to that, the city state is rich with its diverse culture which allowed for exploration of many new culinary options.

Initially, I thought that the strict rules and regulations in Singapore would bother me. However, I started to appreciate some of these rules as it did add to a more comfortable and streamlined society.

Advice for prospective exchange students

Really try to integrate with local students! Even though the group of international students was very nice, local students would be able to show you Singapore in a different way which would definitely contribute to your overall experience.


Find out more!

If you are interested in experiencing Singapore and SUTD’s unique curriculum, come for an exchange term at SUTD!

Pictures courtesy of Peter Richard Dirk van der Wal, University of Twente

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