blog posts Living in The Lion City Nov 13, 2018 1:30 pm by James ZurawskiStudent SpotlightAsiaLAS Images When asked if there was one place you would visit again, Jiayi Xu, a senior studying Mathematics and Statistics, replied without hesitation that she would visit her host university – The National University of Singapore – to catch up with old friends and to see the campus again. Delete Edit embedded media in the Files Tab and re-insert as needed. align image leftalign image centeralign image right “Singapore is a fusion of western and eastern culture.” Jiayi is an international student from Beijing, China pursuing a degree within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. After a short trip to Singapore during her high school years, Jiayi has been fascinated with its culture and vowed to return ever since. As an international student studying at Illinois, Jiayi saw no barriers to studying abroad. At the start, Jiayi felt a bit overwhelmed when she arrived in Singapore; however, she was also excited about what she was going to make of the experience. The hardest part of settling in she said was picking up the English-Singaporean slang used in the country and adapting to the course rigor of the host university. “NUS (National University of Singapore) is one of the most competitive universities in Singapore, so the students there are really intelligent as well as the professors.” In fact, the academic environment along with the variety of courses at NUS helped Jiayi finalize the double major she is currently pursuing. “The classes I took set a good foundation for me. After I took this one statistics course, I decided to add my second major – Statistics,” Jiayi explained. Delete Edit embedded media in the Files Tab and re-insert as needed. align image leftalign image centeralign image right While abroad, Jiayi joined a Makeup and Design student organization where she met many local students. Eventually, she became a student trainer within this club and was instructing students on makeup tutorials. Jiayi said this was one of the best experiences she had while abroad because she was able to learn about the culture through the conversations she had with these students and was able to talk about her cultural background as well. Nearing the end of her study abroad experience, Jiayi said that she noticed her English-speaking ability improved greatly and she became more outgoing. The student life at her host university has continually inspired her to perform well at the University of Illinois. After living in the "Lion City," nicknamed after the famous Merlion statue and icon of Singapore, for a semester, Jiayi applied to become a Program Assistant for Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange to encourage and support other students pursuing their own study abroad experiences.