The Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP) is a highlight for most TUM Asia final-year undergraduates. Students spend three to five months at the home campus in Munich, Germany, taking in many new experiences while completing their Bachelor Thesis. In this issue, the DIGEST team catches up with six Bachelor students to learn more about their time in Europe.
We are happy to hear that you are settling well in Germany! How has it been living in Munich so far, especially as compared to Singapore?
Jun Wen: I have noticed similarities and differences between Munich and Singapore. Munich is a modern city like Singapore, with a reliable public transportation system and with most people being able to converse in English. The supermarkets are well-stocked with a wide range of items available. A meal costs around 4 to 10 Euro (6 to 16 SGD) when you eat out but a simple home-cooked meal costs around 2 to 4 Euro (3 to 6 SGD). I had to get used to cooking my own meals, but it has been fun trying out different recipes.
Is there anything about the German culture and lifestyle that stood out to you?
Jun Wen: I learnt that saying hello to a stranger on the street while walking past each other is common here. Eating and drinking are allowed on public transport, and so are dogs. The supermarkets do not provide Yasser (right) enjoying the outdoors with his classmates plastic bags, and so you have to bring your own bag to grocery shop – I wish Singapore would adopt this practice too. Also, when you buy drinks that come in cans, plastic bottles or glass bottles, you will have to pay a deposit that will be returned to you when you return the bottles for recycling.
What would be your most memorable experience so far?
Jun Wen: Coming to Germany in September to October, my classmates and I experienced the Oktoberfest, which is a rare opportunity. But what I truly enjoyed was to go hiking in the mountains – something that cannot be done in Singapore. Munich is surrounded by a mountainous region, including the Bavarian alps, and the view is simply stunning at an elevated height. I have been on two hiking trips – Eckbauer (1237m high) and Jochberg (1565m). The hike is tiring but upon reaching the peak, the view makes it all worthwhile.
“What I truly enjoyed was to go hiking in the mountains – something that cannot be done in Singapore. Munich is surrounded by a mountainous region, including the Bavarian alps, and the view is simply stunning at an elevated height.”
Do you find any difference between studying in Munich and studying in Singapore?
Jun Wen: Personally, I did not find that there is a great difference between the learning experience in Germany and in Singapore. The German supervisors do not mind questions and they expect students to voice out their questions directly and honestly. They would only step in to give assistance when students asked questions, otherwise, they allow the students to be independent. This is the only observation I have made so far in terms of differences in teaching styles.
As you are about to come to the end of your Bachelor studies, what would be your greatest takeaway from your academic journey in TUM Asia?
Jun Wen: I appreciate being taught by the professors and lecturers throughout this academic journey. Each of them carried a different teaching approach and some even shared with us their life’s wisdom. I am also grateful for the friendships forged here.
Lastly, what is one thing you will miss about Germany when your OIP ends?
Jun Wen: I will miss the beer, the pretzels and the sausages. But what I think I will really miss will be the mountains that I can spontaneously go to as and when I like to!
Tan Jun Wen studied in the Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with the Technical University of Munich. He studied in the Singapore branch campus (TUM Asia) and spent five months in Munich, Germany to complete his lab courses and thesis at the home campus of the university.
To read the full interview with Jun Wen, it was first published in our DIGEST newsletter (Jan 2019). View the e-newsletter here >>
TUM Asia administrates the TUM Bachelor degrees together with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). GCE ‘A’ Levels, Polytechnic Diploma and international qualification holders may apply for the TUM Bachelor degrees. Find out more about the programmes offered >>
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