Program of Study: Forest Sciences
Country of Exchange: Singapore
Where did you do your internship?
I am working at the Plant Systematics Laboratory in the Department of Biological Sciences of the National University of Singapore. I began my job search by researching professors working around the South East Asia region, knowing that I wanted field experience in the Tropics. From there, I began emailing professors about my interest in their projects with my resumes attached. The conversations continued about specifics and I finally confirmed a position with Professor Hugh Tan.
What did your job entail?
In a nutshell, my internship mainly consisted of fieldwork and lab work.
In the field, I learned how to identify the most common plants found in the Central Catchment Reserve of Singapore. I then joined teams conducting vegetation plot surveys where we identified, tagged and measured tree diameter at breast height. I have also done some tree surveys on campus and in parks for urban ecology studies.
In the lab, I’ve done some map work, data collection and germination tests for various projects. The lab maintains a native plant nursery where we plant seedling specimens and prepare rooted cuttings.
What was the highlight of your international experience?
One of the highlights of my international experience was to spend time exploring the more hidden side of Singapore. One thing I will surely miss is the hawker-style food courts on campus that serve many different Asian cuisines. Not to mention exploring the different cultures represented in Chinatown, Little India, Haji Lane and much more.
The biggest highlight though, had to be seeing nature every day in a bustling city. Learning about Singapore’s efforts to build their city in a garden introduced me to the idea of urban ecology and kept my curiosity buzzing. Being in the forest too was an enriching experience. The tropics are the definitely vibrant with biodiversity and I’ve come across many interesting plants! My colleagues introduced me to their additional interests in butterfly and bird watching, intertidal ecology and other fun escapades. We have spent weekends exploring the Botanic Gardens, Park Connectors and other little known sites around the island enjoying nature!
Aspirations after graduation
Ultimately, I want to continue pursuing forest conservation research in the tropics. I aspire to learn more about tropical terrestrial ecosystems so that I am better equipped to raise awareness of the issues that relate forests to climate change!