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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA student takes on adventure in Singapore

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Courtesy of Kyron White

Kyron White, a political science junior, poses in front of Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore in August. White is studying abroad in Singapore for the fall 2014 semester.

Meet Kyron White, a political science junior, who is currently studying abroad at the National University of Singapore with the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

White is well-traveled in Southeast Asia and has previously visited Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia. In the interest of learning more about the region’s traditional culture, he said he wanted to visit a country with a diverse background and a “vibrant political community.”

“There’s a bunch of regulations, the ports are very busy and you see so much going on around you,” White said. “It is amazing; you’ve never seen anything like it.”

White wasn’t always sure he was going to be able to afford going to Singapore due to the intense application process. According to the scholarship website, over 2,300 scholarships were awarded to students this year.

“You had to have a good GPA, 3.2 or above,” White said. “My GPA is about a 3.4. And honestly, when I submitted my application, I didn’t think I’m going to get this scholarship, because my GPA isn’t a 4.0. But I got a callback a couple months later, and it was the best call of my life.”

White ended up receiving the $5,000 scholarship, which White said made this trip affordable in addition to the low cost of living in Singapore for foreigners.

“It’s definitely affordable,” he said. “The cost of living for a Singaporean is very expensive, but for a foreigner, it’s very affordable.”

The diverse food choices in Singapore are, on average, cheaper than in the U.S., White added.

“The food in Singapore is really diverse,” he said. “You could get Indian food, [Malaysian] food — anything, honestly. The average meal in America is $7 to $10, and here, it is $2 to $5 on average.”

Despite the low cost of living, White added that the fines in Singapore are exorbitant.

“If you eat or drink in a subway, it’s like a $500 [fine] just eating or drinking if they catch you,” he said.

He also said the $100 fine for chewing gum did not deter him from doing so in Singapore.

“I knew about the gum coming into Singapore, [but] I haven’t been scared to chew gum in public,” he said. “I’ve been a little rebel and popping my gum.”

Even though there are some cultural differences in Singapore, like the way students use libraries and the dependence on public transportation, White said he is adjusting well to their society.

“There’s one thing I’ve had to get used to here,” he said. “People use the library a lot.”

He added that they do so because of their beliefs on how it affects their well-being.

“My local friends will go to the library from 10 a.m. all the way to only 9 p.m.,” White said. “They say that staying at the library past 9 p.m. is really bad for your health. [They prefer] to stay there until 9 p.m. and then get a good night’s rest and be ready the next day.”

Some other problems White noted were the lack of air conditioning units in the Singaporean hostels he lives in, the humidity in the region, trouble keeping up with family and friends in America and the “struggle” of finding good coffee in Singapore.

Despite these issues, he recommended this trip to UA students majoring in political science or communications, because of the culture and the NUS’s new major. According to White, NUS offers a new major called Communications and New Media. In this major, students study social media and how it relates to communication, White said.

“It’s a really cool thing to get around and grasp, because [I] never knew how much social media influences political science,” he said. “One of the things that the National University of Singapore emphasizes is that you are very dependant on social media, and because of that, you have to study it a lot and take courses on it.”
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Follow Felipe Moreno on Twitter @chilenodude

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