Study Civil and Structural Engineering at National University of Singapore

Adrian Tan is currently a B.Eng student at the National University of Singapore. Previous to this, he gained his Diploma in Civil and Structural Engineering at Singapore Polytechnic.
Looking back, I can see that my family played a big part in influencing my choice of higher education. Civil engineering was a natural choice because my father, who worked in this line all his life, made it sound so interesting. My elder brother, the Chief Engineer of a large shipping company, had graduated in Marine Engineering from Singapore Polytechnic, while my sister had also studied Biotechnology there. Both of them were living in Singapore. So after completing my secondary education in Malaysia, I decided to enrol in the Civil and Structural Engineering diploma course at the Singapore Polytechnic. Coming to Singapore opened up a whole new experience. Life was very different from Alor Star in the north of peninsular Malaysia, where I grew up. Suddenly, I was plunged into a large campus of 14,000 students in a fast-paced, bustling city. It was an exciting time. The polytechnic offered lots of opportunities that I had never dreamed of. Just after my first semester, some of us were selected to take part in a model bridge building competition organised by a Malaysian institution. Our four entries bagged the first, second and two consolation prizes. I found my course interesting and the lecturers were approachable and supportive. There was one in particular, Mr H. Sia, who motivated us not only in studies, but also to do well in competitions like the Singapore River Raft race, featuring home-made rafts constructed out of scrap materials. It was a wonderful feeling when our team, led by a Taiwanese student, came n first, and several rafts from our department also won prizes. I became very active in the international Students Interest group and was elected Vice- President in my second year. Some of my closest friends today came From this group, which provides a Focal point of activities for all the international students on campus. We played together, studied together, laughed together, shared happy and sad rimes, outings, meals and lots of fun and memories. Among the highlights of my three years at Singapore Polytechnic was the student exchange programme in Japan. Thanks to Kanazawa'Technical College, one of the polytechnic's inter- national partners, each year some luck) students got the opportunity to spend two weeks in Japan, hosted by KTC. We were showered with so much warmth and affection from our host families that it was so hard to leave them. I spent nine unforgettable days with my hosts, and we still keep in touch until today.  All of us had to do two periods of internship as part of our course. I spent the first period of eight weeks with a construction company back in my hometown, learning about site supervision on a housing project in a nearby town. For the second eight weeks I was attached to Singapore's Land Transport Authority, working on road design projects. The internships provided good experience and we were able to earn some money too. Studying at the polytechnic was a very fruitful and fulfilling experience, not only academically, but also because it gave me the opportunity to try many new things. I completed my course in 1998, graduating with a Diploma with Merit. Despite the economic down- turn at that time, I was fortunate to find a job almost immediately. For the next year I worked as a site supervisor in charge of building several blocks of public housing. I accepted the offer of Permanent Resident status in Singapore. Then I decided to enrol in the National University of Singapore last July. With my polytechnic diploma, I was given direct entry into the second year of the Civil Engineering degree programme. I expect to complete my degree in two years' time  Civil Engineering really interests me and I an looking forward to practising as a professional engineer.



School of Design and Environment
National University of Singapore


National University of Singapore
10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260

6775 6666

Fax: + 65 6777 3953