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Computing passion applied in Singapore

Meet Kshitij Parashar, a fourth-year computer science student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. We spoke to Kshitij about his experience moving away from home, beginning his academic journey during a pandemic, and how he managed to navigate his way through university life.

Three reasons why

Originally from Qatar, Kshitij knew he wanted to spread his wings and embark on his academic journey outside his home country. “I applied to many places and got offers from the UK, Canada, and the U.S., but one of my main reasons for traveling to Singapore for my bachelor’s studies was the low tuition fees.” Compared to places like the U.S. and Canada, the tuition fees and the cost of living are affordable. Furthermore, Singapore seems to be a jackpot destination regarding tech jobs post-graduation. “Singapore one of the financial and technological hubs of South East Asia.” Kshitij applied to NTU for another reason, this factor was his close community of friends from Qatar who also applied to the university. As an international student, he didn’t need to worry about meeting new people immediately, as he had a group of friends established at NTU. Another crucial factor that informed Kshitij’s decision to study at NTU was the university rankings. Kshitij was aware before visiting NTU that this university was one of the best all-round universities in the world. “At the time, Nanyang Technological University was #11 in the world university rankings.” These were the primary reasons this computer science student chose to study at NTU. Despite being accepted into this remarkable institution, the journey wasn’t as smooth as expected

Covid chaos

“I joined Nanyang Technological University in 2020 during the peak of COVID-19. Things were restrictive, and it was difficult to adjust initially.” He could only travel to Singapore from Qatar in the middle of his first semester due to the pandemic. “I spent the first semester studying at home in Qatar. Everything was delayed due to the pandemic. Even my high school exam results were delayed.” This initially made the transition from home life to university life turbulent. “By the time I arrived in Singapore, all of the orientations and transition programs for the freshman at NTU had finished.” Despite this rocky start to the year, Kshitij acclimated to his new environment. “I attribute my adjustment to the friends I’ve had here at NTU since year one.”

Exploring NTU

Once Kshitij could finally explore the campus and the surrounding area, he described the running joke that the students shared about NTU. “The university is located in the extreme Western end of Singapore. Most awesome places like concerts, malls, and events are in central or Eastern Singapore. So we are located on the outskirts of the action.” Despite this, an excellent Metro service called the MRT system will get you into the center in approximately one hour. “NTU’s location is great; it’s not like it’s in the middle of nowhere, and it has fantastic facilities. It’s effortless to live here,” Kshitij explained. Nanyang Technological University has a broad array of students and faculty worldwide. Most students are local Singaporeans, yet the university is pretty diverse. Many Indian, Chinese, European, and Korean students attend the university.”

Why computer science?

Computer science has always been a passion within the family. For Kshitij, he had started learning computer science from as early as tenth grade as Kshitij had the opportunity to begin studying computer science in high school. “In tenth grade, we could choose two subjects we must study from grade 10 to grade 12. I chose computer science and learned the basics of C++ and SQL.” From there, Kshitij was well versed in these languages and “knew quite ahead into C++” when he started university. Kshitij explained that the syllabus at NTU is “quite modern and up to standard.” Kshitij exclaimed, “You can see that you will use it when you enter the workforce. The balance between theoretical and practical work at NTU is perfect. “There’s so much practical work. I have five modules, and within all of the modules, there are five projects.” These projects, coupled with a compulsory 20 weeks of internships, set NTU School of Engineering students up for the industry. Kshitij explained that these are all great things that students can put on their CVs and will aid them post-graduation. “With projects, you can go into details about the implementation, what results you achieved, and the study's accuracy while also gaining familiarity with different technologies. This then helps to set you up for a career in the industry post-graduation.” The impressive syllabus and incredible academics aren’t the only exceptional parts of NTU, the university offers a range of clubs and societies that make for a superb student life.

Committees and clubs

The student life at NTU is diverse, dynamic, and versatile, with a range of excellent clubs and societies to participate in. “You have the freedom to choose how it goes. You can be really into academics while having an excellent social life.” There are many different activities and societies to choose from, with a large community interested in the same extracurricular activities. “You can choose to learn dance or any sport. You can participate in art classes.” Kshitij explained that he is not a “party animal” and prefers to learn new things while being open to new experiences. “I have participated in a lot of societies like the ‘Current Affairs Society’ and a club that represents all of the students of my school, the ‘School of Computer Science and Engineering Committee.’ Kshitij has also adopted some leadership roles at the university, which involve organizing conferences and events. At university, there is a wealth of new experiences open. Anything is available to you as long as you go out and seize the opportunity.

So, what does the future hold for Kshitij Parashar? Once he completes his undergraduate degree in computer science, he wants to continue his academic journey by embarking on an MBA. While completing his final year of studies, Kshitij wishes to continue enjoying his educational experience at Nanyang Technological University by spending time with friends and participating in social activities, all while finishing his academic studies.