Philip Issac – Countless Gains

“Asking me what I gained from my time on exchange at NUS is like asking for the integral of e to the power of x squared. Alright, maybe not, but it’s not so simple. In short, I have loved my time here and would gladly do it again because it was a wonderful opportunity to experience different cultures while having the privilege to work at a partner university along side other engineering science students.

It took me no time at all to adjust to life in Singapore. Singapore, much like Toronto, is a very culturally diverse city. Apart from eating delicious food everyday, sweating 24/7 and seeing the sky decide to rain harder than I had ever seen in my life, for ten minutes now and then, nothing is too different. This was the first time I have ever been to Asia. What amazed me most was how welcoming so many of the people have been. From taking us out for dinner, to just making some recommendations of things to do, people have made Singapore and NUS an even warmer place. I have also enjoyed having the chance to travel to Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia on weekends. It was eye opening to be able to see so many different cultures and places. One thing that I can certainly take home is a new appreciation for different cultures and experience communicating with people from all over the world.

While at NUS, I worked with two other EngSci undergrads on a project to promote science and engineering education by designing and building demos and kits. It was a great opportunity to design devices that turn theory we have learned in class into real, concrete objects. While doing this, I worked at a multidisciplinary lab at NUS surrounded by interesting people and research from several different fields. I also spent time at a workshop and at the Singapore Science centre, using CAD software and a laser cutter as prototyping tools. The most important things that I learned while working at NUS were that nothing ever works first try and that nothing is ever as easy as it looks on paper. I also learned that this is okay; I received a lot of encouragement from staff and students from NUS. Going on exchange and working in a university in general, you learn so many things that can’t be taught in class. I would gladly go on exchange again and encourage anyone and everyone to do the same.”

It was also great to work with other Engineering Science students – not only from U of T, but also from NUS. Based on conversations I have had with many Engineering Science students over the summer, I am more sure than ever that I am in the right program because it will give me the opportunity to pursue a wide variety of career paths – even if I haven’t decided where I want to go yet.

Thank you again for giving me this opportunity for an excellent summer abroad. It has impacted me in many ways and was an excellent first step into a career in science and engineering.”