5.12.2016 14:47

What is it like to study in Singapore?

So what is it like to study here in Singapore?

I have been here now almost 6 weeks; studying 5 weeks – well actually just 4, as I had medical leave for one week.

Anyhow it is hard to compare two totally different countries, and continent, as obviously studying in Asia is different than studying in Northern Europe.
But here are some facts what I have came across while studying in Temasek Polytechnic.


You will not call your teacher with first name. Either you won’t call them “teacher”. You will use words like “Mr.” and “Ms.” And then last name of the teacher.
Informal discussion, you might use first name, but it is always better to use the formal way just to be sure.


Classes are divided into two different categories; lecture and tutorial.
So there is not class, where is both at the same time.
At lecture we are just listening about the topic, and writing notes.


lectureAt tutorial, we are doing exercises, group work and individual work.

In airline business we almost always have some kind of presentation in tutorial. So if one tutorial last approximately 2-hours, it means that we have to come up with presentation in about 45-minutes. It was very hard for me first – because I am used to think much beforehand, and it is not easy to come up with ideas in so short time.

However, I think it is very important to learn fast thinking, as in the future it might be very good skill.

Lecture & Tutorial notes

Locals print out everything. We have online learning platform (as schools in Finland), and latest at day before class there will come lecture & tutorial notes available for students.
Usually notes are missing words or sentences, which students will fill up at the lecture.

For Finnish students that probably sounds crazy. At least it sounded like that for me first.
For slow writers, it is impossible to write everything down in short time.
For me, well it is possible.
But I just can’t print everything, and then hope that I will learn something.
I don’t learn that way, I have to write in order to understand and remember.


My way to write everything have surprised teachers here, and students.
At my first week, everyone kept asking do I already have access to our online platform. I always had to clarify, that I will not print anything. Of course it is not always easy to write in such hurry, as some lectures are only 1 hour, so there is much things to learn and much notes to take. But it is possible.

There is one teacher, who has said that I should teach Singaporeans how to take notes. So that also Singaporeans would learn better 😀 and save nature…


There is usually three or two type of bigger assignments in each course. At least in tourism and hospitality.

Field trip

Field trip means, that you actually have to join some kind of tour or you need to go to visit the place by yourself and then make assignment based on your visit and research. It is possible to visit place/tour with group mates, but work is individual, so same answers is not allowed.

For example, I have had visit in airport, had to choose one terminal where to go, and then answer questions in the assignment.


Just doing one individual assignment..


Meaning, you are doing it alone. Usually it is just one bigger assignment, what covers much percentages of your final course grade. So it is important to do it wisely and start it early.

Usually it is at least 5 pages, sometimes less.


Obviously meaning, that you are doing it in group. Usually 5-6 people in the group.
I have to say, that sometimes and especially at first week, it was hard to understand everything what my group members were talking – because of Singlish.
Now I am more used to it, and obviously I am not that shy to participate to discussions.

What kind of courses I actually have?

First of all, I am studying tourism & hospitality in school of business in Temasek Polytechnic. If someone didn’t know yet 😉 In Finland I’m studying in JAMK university of applied sciences.

I think I have already wrote something about some of my courses, but here is more detailed explanation.

Contemporary Special Interest Tourism (CSIT)

I’m very bad explaining what each course is about. Maybe because I am still little lost in the courses 😉
Anyhow, this course is about developing special interest tourism. Nowadays it is not always just a travel, because people want better experiences in some specific area.
For example, nature tourism, cultural tourism, religious tourism, sport tourism etc.

In this course, we only have two bigger assignments; group report, and individual report – which I write about sport tourism.

And then one exam (class test as locals call these ”smaller” exams).


Changi Airport visit

Airline Business Management

This was actually course, what I was not planned to take, but when there wasn’t one another available this semester, I decided to take airline business instead.
I don’t regret.

Airline business is obviously about airline business. How is it to work in different parts of airport, what kind of work there is, safety etc.

We have two different assignments, both individual; Field trip assignment – this is already done. And it was the visit in the Changi Airport. Second assignment is individual assignment.

Travel & Tour Business

Basically this course is about travel and tour business, as it name tells – planning, operations, selling, costing & pricing.

Assignments; field trip – go to some actual tour in Singapore, there is list of the tours where to choose from. And then answer to assignment questions.

Destination Planning & Development

Last, but not the least.

I find this course very interesting, however I might feel little lost once in a while…


Visit in URA

For example, for Field Trip assignment I had to visit URA city gallery. We had a plan to visit there with my group mates, but then my bad luck decided to step in, and I was sick.
Finally, I had only week time to do the assignment, and I was stressing about it, sent message to the teacher because I didn’t have enough pages etc.
But I finished it, and hopefully will pass it 😀 Visited even twice the gallery, as first time I didn’t finish my worksheet before the gallery closed.

It is free of charge to visit there, and it was interesting, but however as the assignment was about developing and planning Singapore, it is little hard for me. I don’t see things as Singaporean, who can tell how URA should develop Singapore in the way it would be best for the residents.
I see how they should develop it for tourists 🙂

However, the good thing is, that course teacher is my tutor (, and his courses are very interesting and also funny.
Easy to understand, but still not too easy.

It’s actually for third year students, so as I am second year student, I’ll forgive myself if I don’t know everything 😉

Just 4 courses in 5 months?!?

I know, this was my first reaction also. But the fact is, that one course is 6 credit units (in Finnish/European scale), and it is kind a lot to have at the same time 4 courses with 6 credits.
Local students have 4-6 courses, usually 5.

Exams (class tests)

I had my very first exam on Friday evening at 6pm. It is not good time to have exam, but luckily I started my school at 2pm, so I wasn’t there whole day. However, I still lost my concentration after first 30min doing the exam, and then I started to re-think every question where I already answered. This was airline business exam.


Studying for the exams…

My second exam was on Saturday morning at 10 am. Not best time either, not for someone who realized after midnight, that it would be good to go to sleep, in order to be early in school.
That exam was travel and tour business, and well it was interesting.
–> 12 pages, and 1-hour time to do it. I didn’t have enough time, because if it would’ve been exam with short answer questions, then maybe yes. But when there was huge calculation exercise… I think it is impossible, even for fast writer and for math genius.
When teacher told that it is only 20min left, I panicked. Literally. My brain stop working, and I was again re-thinking all my answers. Even changing currency was too hard for me, and I totally just messed the calculation part.

Both exams were kinda similar with Finnish exams; short answer questions, longer answer questions and then essay.
Biggest difference was of course the time and huge exam paper in my second exam.
And another one was the pre-reading time. On my Friday exam there was not separate reading time, but in Saturday exam there was 5 minutes’ time to read exam. And if ready with reading before 5min is gone, then just put the exam paper on the table and wait until the time is over.

Oh and one difference more, it is must to write answers with blue or black pen – normal pencil is not allowed.

For now I don’t have any other things to say about studying here.. Might get some new ideas after Christmas holiday 😉

If you have any ideas what you would like to read about, just tell me 🙂

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