School may be out for most students and undergraduates in Singapore right now, and it might seem counter-productive to spend your vacation days back on campus. However, it might actually be the best time to explore them in all its picturesque spots, now that the grounds are free of stressed-out students and teachers. InstaScram takes you on a tour of two universities in Singapore
The National University of Singapore (NUS) was formed in 1980 with the merger of two universities, the University of Singapore and Nanyang University, which makes NUS the oldest university in Singapore. The main Kent Ridge campus at NUS is an enormous one. To be exact, it encompasses an area of 150 hectares, which is larger than 200 football fields. Some of the spots are surprisingly still covered in dense forest. To explore the entirety of its campus would take more than a day's trek - even on a scooter - so InstaScram shortlists the top three must-see places.
The University Cultural Centre, by The NUS Centre for the Arts, is a remarkable attraction to begin your journey. Apart from being the go-to venue for theatre, music and art events, it also houses the NUS Museum, which has over 7,000 artifacts from all over Southeast Asia.
Right next door, there's another stunning architectural marvel. The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is a relatively new addition to the already photogenic campus. It opened its doors in April 2015 to much fanfare. The museum boasts a diverse range of natural history specimens, some at least 139 years old. Visitors can tour the two galleries indoors, showcasing heritage specimens over a century old, or venture outside to check out the flora and fauna in the open-air gardens. But of course, the undeniable attraction of the museum has to be the three fossil skeletons of the Diplodocid Sauropods, which lived 150 million years ago.
Our final stop is the bustling and dynamic University Town, or UTown. Barely 6 years since it first opened, it has since flourished to not only house residential colleges and University Scholars Programme, but also, it is a good representation of campus life. With its 24-hour Starbucks outlet, numerous eateries, and its great expanse of space, it is common to find students taking a mid-class breather or playing a game of Frisbee.
From the oldest college in Singapore to the newest. The Singapore University of Technology and Design opened in May 2015 and straddles the Changi-Simei area. With a spotlight on the specialised areas of architecture, sustainable design and engineering product development - to name a few - it aims to integrate technology, design and business into a cohesive curriculum.
Even its campus mirrors its cross-disciplinary pedagogy. Its architecture is a unique mix of Eastern and Western influences, with its clean, angular lines and curved linkages, juxtaposed against a number of antique Chinese structures.
There are a few fun facts about the SUTD campus. Firstly, it is an environmentally-friendly building, applying natural lighting techniques and ample greenery.
Secondly, the collection of Chinese buildings, including a large pavilion, was donated to the campus by Hong Kong film personality, Jackie Chan. The buildings were from his own personal collection and are from the Qing and Ming Dynasty, which dates back to approximately 370 years ago. They were restored on site by a team of 24 Suzhou craftsmen. The presence of these ancient buildings allow students to appreciate the art of sustainable architecture, both old and new.
Students - both prospective and current - will find that getting here on public transport will be much easier with the opening of the Upper Changi Station on the Downtown Line 3 in October 2017. The beauty that is to be explored amongst the schools of Singapore is by no means an exhaustive list, and we're sure that with the school holidays, there will be a bit of time to put aside those books and see our schools in a new light.