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NTU Life: Halls

Welcome to the first blog post where I try to introduce you to life as an NTU undergraduate student. Located in sunny Singapore, Nanyang Technological University is also “affectionately” known as Pulau NTU, because apparently only 3 buses go in and out of the campus – 179, 199 and Campus Green. During blooming season, you can observe sakura-like flowers blown in the wind but it’s still hella warm. NTU is like Hawaii, hilly in its own aspect. I’ll tell you more about the campus as we go along…

You might be a potential exchange student looking to see what Nanyang Technological University has to offer and what you can expect to gain out of studying here during your semester/winter/summer months. As of now, I have not studied overseas but I plan to do so in the coming months. But as a student here in NTU, I find that there are so many hidden gems that NTU has to offer which even us local students don’t utilise that much. I’ll try to share as much as I can in a few blog posts… so let’s start with…

Hall life.

Currently, there are 21 halls, not including the Graduate halls. 1, 2, 3… all the way to 17 & 18 (Pioneer and Crescent halls; aka Scholar halls) and the newly built Binjai, Banyan and Tanjong. Most halls are double occupancy rooms which mostly cater to students who are either on exchange, live far away or are foreign students. Some people who stay near NTU can get hall stay during their freshmen year, but it gets more competitive as one goes on. To keep on staying in the same hall, the individual has to calculate distance points as well as activity points.

Not too sure what’s worth what, but I know that it’s not worth it for me to stay in hall because I stay in Jurong West. Oh, staying in hall is not cheap. There are no meal plans available, and double room occupancy is a little over $200/person. Single’s around $400. It gets more expensive in newer halls with air conditioner installed. The cheapest is, of course, Hall 1 but on the whole, prices are increasing because of the demand.

To utilise the air conditioner, a special card has to be used. I’m sure you can get it from the Hall office. What I do know is that you cannot use your matriculation card for that.

Facilities

Most halls have their own kitchen, indoor sports hall, washing machines (pay-per-use – only $1 coins are accepted), recreational rooms/study rooms/TV rooms, gym and printing rooms. From what I know, hall printing facilities are one of the cheapest in the entire school, so I usually tag along with my friends to their hall to print out my notes. North Spine printing shop is expensive don’t ever go there

Contrary to popular belief, halls do not have lifts except for Pioneer & Crescent Halls so if yours is located on a hill then good luck. You may take it in a positive manner though – you’ll have super toned thighs and butt. *thumbs up*

Activities

Hall life is by far one of the most hectic life I would not succumb myself to. I suppose that’s because of my introverted self which stems the very reason why I don’t ever stay in a hall. But I have friends who do – and some belong to the high ranking clubs in Halls.

So halls (to me) are very hierarchical in nature. To get to stay in a hall, or be guaranteed to have a stay in hall the following year, you kinda have to suck up to the committee. JCRC? Yeah, I think that’s it. It’s not bad to suck up – you get to make friends and learn new stuff like managing responsibilities and making sure that the particular hall has culture. Also, admission to staying in hall for freshmen (there’s this school policy that all freshmen are guaranteed hall stay if they applied) prioritises attendance of freshman hall camps. (There are lots of controversies on Hall camps or tertiary camps in general which you can Google because I’m lazy).

So what now, after getting hall stay? You can sign up for clubs and activities – and there are plenty to feed the most inane interests like Dart Club. But there are really nice sounding ones such as the Events team. I guess making sure hall occupants at least enjoy their hall life isn’t so bad.

It does take a toll on your available free time – and you have to manage school work and hall activities well. Otherwise, your grades will suffer and to me, that’s not worth it. What’s the point in enrolling in university then?

Food

This can probably be linked to facilities but doesn’t hurt talking about this in a more elaborated manner.

Most halls have their own canteens. Hall 1 has their own canteen called Canteen 1. Hall 2, Canteen 2. Hall 3 doesn’t have a canteen. Hall 4, Canteen 4. Hall 5 doesn’t have a canteen. Blah dee blah blah. So on and so forth. You can check it out here. Point to note is that the page isn’t updated – there is a canteen in the Binjai, Banyan, Tanjong cluster as well and I heard that the food’s good? I should probably try the food soon.

For me personally, I can only eat halal food, so my choices are automatically limited. Canteen 1 has no halal food, but canteen 2 is just a click away so I don’t mind getting the steamed chicken rice or the nasi ayam penyet (which I haven’t had in a long time). There’s a Giant supermarket and a 7-11 around canteen 2 as well if the canteen doesn’t live up to your expectations. *cough* cook your own food *cough*

Prices range from $3-5 and can exceed depending on how much food you’re buying. Not sustainable if you plan to eat there every day. My suggestion is for you to get out of campus and eat every once in a while because you will get sick of campus food. Having campus food after a long hiatus does taste better though, so not having it all the time is a good way to go.

Food choices for me are limited, as I’ve mentioned. I don’t usually eat at hall canteens because I don’t see a point. I usually eat at The Hive (yes the dimsum building which we all know and love) or at fast food joints in North Spine. I will write about these places in time to come because spamming in one post does not bode well for my sanity.

If you have reached this sentence, I sincerely thank you for sticking with me through my rambles. If I have any more discoveries on hall life, I’ll be sure to update this post! Leave a comment if you have any burning enquiries and I’ll try my best to answer your question to the best of my abilities.

p.s. this post has been added to my ‘guides’ above!

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