University of Reading
Reading is located west of London and in close proximity. This means that it is very convenient to get to London (25 minutes by rail). The university is about a 15 minutes bus ride away and 30 minutes walk from the Reading rail station so it is advisable not to walk (although possible) to the university. The University of Reading has its own campus and school grounds. It has its own sports centre, field, and even a lake! In spite of its slight distance away from the town centre (near the rail station), most students head to the town centre very often to shop or do groceries (if not online).
Reading is very well known for its Law, Speech Therapy, and Business courses. It has a lot of niche courses as well, and is best in the UK for Meteorology.
The school life of a typical Reading student varies from course to course. The average hours of lectures and tutorials per week is 15. While some go as low as 9, some (like Pharmacy) can hit 25 hours a week! Lectures are conducted in a style similar to that in VJC, but the pace is quicker. Tutorials may vary depending on the style of the person conducting the tutorial. Generally, readings take up the most time (except if you’re doing Math), and learning is very self directed. Be prepared to spend many hours reading. Otherwise, the self directed aspect is very much similar to other universities. The University of Reading has a very beautiful campus, with a lake complete with forested areas. Some students choose to cycle around campus, or even to town, and it might be worth investing in a bicycle for 3 years (although I didn’t).
There are 17 000 students from more than 100 countries studying in the University of Reading. There is a substantial number of Chinese, and Malaysians who come to study Business and Law. There aren’t many Singaporeans studying in Reading (5 from my batch), and most of them come from Polytechnics or International Schools in Singapore. This can be a great opportunity to engage with students of other nationalities and not just with Singaporeans or Malaysians (you’d be surprised how food always brings people together).
There is only a meet and greet tea session organised for Singaporeans pre-departure. Take this chance to get to know the Singaporeans, as they will provide familiarity when you first arrive in Reading. While I highly encourage you to break out of your comfort zone and engage with the locals (they are really friendly), it is still good to have Singaporean friends who can help you transit into university life. The cost of living in Reading is only slightly lower than London. Halls are cheaper, with an average of 150 pounds per week for a catered hall. However, most other necessities (food, groceries, items) are very much similarly priced in London. Finally, the fact that the University of Reading is a campus university means that you will be seeing your coursemates, hallmates and friends quite a lot around campus, which could help you feel more at home.
Mathematics and Meteorology (First Year Undergraduate) ’14/15