And how are things in Singapore?

Singapore, the tropical city-state in Southeast Asia. I've come here to do a 3.5-month internship to complete my master's degree in Biomedical Engineering. This hyper-modern, multicultural, and extremely clean city is in many ways incomparable to Eindhoven, but for me personally, that makes the experience all the more enjoyable and interesting.

photo Ayush

While Eindhoven was experiencing snow in March, Singapore's average temperature stays around 31 degrees Celsius throughout the year, which is quite a contrast. With the abundance of sunshine, it feels like summer all year round. If you arrive here in winter, like I did, it can take some getting used to. Thankfully, air conditioning is literally everywhere to cool you down when the heat gets too much.

Living and working in Singapore is, as expected (and hoped for), quite different from Eindhoven. Having dinner at 6 pm like a proper Dutch person is not the norm here. People tend to eat later and mainly dine out. At one of the many hawker centers, which are outdoor markets with dozens of small food stalls, you can have a delicious meal for a few euros. However, one thing to keep in mind is that alcohol is expensive here, so you won't find a beer for two euros.

Transportation is also vastly different. Bicycles are less common, and people tend to rely heavily on the metro, which is super modern and goes to every corner of the city, with some lines even running a train every minute! This makes it easy to reach all the different neighborhoods, such as Chinatown, Little India, and Marina Bay. If you love skyscrapers and modern architecture, the latter is definitely the place to be.

The most expensive thing in Singapore is housing. Expect to pay over €900 a month for a small room. However, many apartment complexes come with their own pool and/or gym, which is a plus. I live in a modern and clean apartment, as everything in this country seems to be, and share it with people my age from Singapore, India, Switzerland, and France. We explore the country and take trips together.

I am currently doing my internship at the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI) in the lab of Jennifer Young. The MBI is part of the National University of Singapore and is located on campus. My research is focused on the influence of stiffness and shape of a hydrogel on the development of breast cancer cells.

The MBI lab is spread over two floors (9 and 10, so a great view included!) where multiple research groups work. Young's team is very close-knit, as we have gone ice-skating together, run together weekly, and recently celebrated the lab's two-year anniversary. Furthermore, I have a lot of freedom in structuring my days as Jennifer finds it is also important that I have the space and time to enjoy Singapore.

Apart from my internship, there are so many things to do in Singapore, like hiking jungle trails, swimming at idyllic beaches, or visiting one of the many impressive buildings, temples, or museums. The beauty of Singapore is that everything is within an hour's reach. Singapore is also known as an international hub, so it's relatively inexpensive to visit countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam for a (long) weekend!

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