Day 2 (the first full day in Singapore) of the Sri Lanka/Singapore NCP Study trip started off with breakfast at Maxwell food Centre. We then headed to meet with Peter Hyland, a urban land-use strategist, from Cistri. Cistri represents URBIS Australia’s International Business an Urban Development Firm.
From a student’s perspective that hasn’t completed their work placement yet, meeting with an industry professional was a great opportunity to get an insight to what the workplace would hold and especially from an overseas country. Peter Hyland is a very welcoming person, who’s presentation on the Planning of Singapore was fantastic. It was an eyeopener to see how much the country has changed over time, how it all interconnects and what they have implemented to continually improve the city. As Peter described, “Singapore is A Planning Utopia” and that is exactly how it is perceived, everything is planned with a purpose. A nice little surprise was actually meeting a current QUT student undertaking a placement/internship in Singapore, also under the NCP exchange but for 6 weeks. This was a great way to understand from another student’s perspective, how work placement is and what sorts of things are involved (and also the fact that they were completing the placement overseas made it very interesting). She joined us for the meeting and the rest of the day, and took us to her apartment where we met her to other roommates who, coincidentally were also completing the NCP exchange.
The rest of the afternoon was blocked out because we were unsure how long the meeting would go for. The meeting did end up finishing at around 12:30pm so it was perfect timing to go and grab some lunch. The Lau Pa Sat, food market was just a few hundred meters down the road which was perfect because, well Singapore in the middle of the day is very humid/hot.
From here we made our way to Chinatown. It’s fascinating to see the little hubs Singapore has created, just like in Australia. Being Chinese New Year soon the streets of Chinatown were filled with stalls selling decorations. This part of the city was a little more run down so it was great to compare the two parts of the city. To top off the visit to Chinatown a few of us decided to try Durian, and for those who don’t know what it is, Durian is the world’s most smelliest fruit and banned on parts of public transport, hotels and restaurants purely because of the stench. Let’s just say that it tastes just as it smells!!
After Chinatown we walked to the Urban Redevelopment Centre where we were able to have a look at a model of the whole of Singapore. Being able to see the whole city in one go is very cool and you to can gain a sense of perspective on everything. It allows you to see where you have travelled in comparison to the city centre and sometimes finding places we have visited and being surprised as to where they are located in the city. Past Master Plans and Concept Plans were also available for the public to view which was very educational. It was remarkable to see how the plans were put into action and the detail that goes into them is incredible.
The night consisted of meeting the other QUT students that were over here on a NCP for 6 weeks short exchange. As they were staying in a unit we decided to go to their pool, because after walking around all day in the humid environment of Singapore the pool sounded fantastic. After the pool we caught the MRT to Marina Bay to watch the light show on the bay and boy was the light show an experience. The planning of the Marina Bay is truly incredible. One thing that stood out to me was the walkability distance between sites being so close. Light shows, a shopping centre, carnival, hotel and the gardens all being within a radius of approx 1km, and well we just had had to visit all of them.
After the first FULL day in Singapore you start to realise how lucky you are to have been selected to go on such a trip/study tour. Just after one day you start to bond with the group of students you are travelling with and the inside jokes start, you experience things that you may not have experienced if you were not with this group of people and last of all you make friendships that will continue once back at uni. The best part for this, is knowing we haven’t even started the Sri Lanka part of the trip and that will be one eye-opening experience.