Imagine packing up your entire life, only to unpack it again in a country and environment unlike anything you are familiar with. Such is the journey of the international students at TUM Asia, choosing to step out of their comfort zones to enter a whole new world, as they pursue their higher studies. With a huge variety of nationalities among our student body, we hear from Ricardo Molina on spending two years in Singapore and how he as a Mexican has adjusted to the city’s life.
Q: Hi Ricardo, will you give our readers a brief introduction of yourself?
Ricardo: I am Ricardo Molina from Mexico and I am a mechatronic engineer completing my Aerospace Masters degree. I have been in Singapore for two years so far and I am currently at the end of my Master Thesis and about to leave for my internship in Munich, Germany.
Q: Can you tell us when and how did you start preparing for your graduate studies?
Ricardo: The Aerospace Engineering domain was relatively new to me, since I have a background in Mechatronics. However, I must admit that I did not take any special preparations prior to my graduate studies. It helped when the professors briefly introduced the basics at the beginning of each course, so it made the classes easier. My advice for other students just like myself would be that you should ask for the content in advance and if you are unfamiliar with the topic, start your revisions early in order to smoothen the learning process.
Q: It is not easy to decide to move abroad for your studies. How did you manage your fears about moving to a foreign country?
Ricardo: I completed my undergraduate studies abroad and so I have lived away from home for a few years now, therefore I was not worried about moving to Singapore. In fact, I was more interested and curious about this new experience and I wanted to keep an open mind that was free of any prejudgement.
Q: After spending two years in Singapore, would you share your experience about moving to Singapore?
Ricardo: At first, I found that finding a suitable accommodation seemed to be a troublesome matter in Singapore because I faced a situation where the prices looked increasingly expensive. But the truth is you can definitely find a nice place for a decent price, especially if you are willing to share. It worked out for me eventually as my room was simply a place of rest – Singapore has loads to do that you can definitely find a place for.
I wouldn’t be worried about transport since it is quite straightforward, and I learnt that taking short walks in Singapore is also a great way to explore this city. Food is also easy to find, with many options for all kinds of diets. Seafood lovers will rejoice the most! Restaurants are the more expensive option, but I would consider them more of an alternative than a need, since the food courts are a good and reasonably-priced (in most areas) option most of the time. In the end, I would say that the real main concern if it was going to rain or not.
Q: Can you tell us how did you adjust to living in Singapore and to the class schedule at TUM Asia?
Ricardo: Singapore has a strong influence of the western culture, and because English is widely spoken, this is a huge advantage to getting adjusted. With the classes, the schedule is quite simple and easy to follow even though the courses are quite fast and intense at times, but this is nothing that a coffee cannot solve. There is sufficient time to study and to hang out but I would advise that some classes will naturally be more demanding than others.
Q: Give our new students a recommendation on what to do in one’s free time.
Ricardo: I would tell you to be involved in the events and activities that Singapore has to offer. Whether it be the parties, museums, performances or nature reserves, do look out for interesting things to do. And of course, if it is possible, I will recommend that you spend your holidays exploring the great cities and countries surrounding Singapore.
Ricardo is a student in the joint TUM-NTU Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering programme. More information about the programme can be found here >>