I took the day off work today to attend Registration Day, complete my Student Pass (student visa) formalities, and finally get my phone unlocked.
Registration Day is basically to confirm that you are an NUS student and that you have paid whatever fees you have to pay. It is also meant to help streamline your Student Pass application. While the student visa application process is different between Canada and Singapore, I really like how NUS goes out of its way to help exchange/international students. Unlike UBC, which pretty much leaves its students on their own when it comes to their study permits (aside from sending them the letters/documents that they need), NUS has actually done everything in its power to make life as easy as possible for exchange students in terms of the Student Pass application process.
They actually brought in people from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to process the applications on-campus so that we wouldn’t have to go to them. They even had a photo booth for people who didn’t bring passport-size photos (me being one of them) for their Student Pass ID card (charge of $7 for four photos), and went through our documents before letting us go to the ICA counter, which was really thoughtful and made things so much easier.
It’s like they were expecting people not to have everything together – they even had printers for people to print out last minute items they forgot. The thing is, you had to pay to use the printers, but luckily I found out about free printing at the Yusof Ishak House, so I didn’t have to pay. Yeah, I cheaped out.
I also got my NUS Student Card (aka the “matric card”), which will be useful in terms of getting into the office at the Bukit Timah campus, as well as using facilities at the Kent Ridge campus. I’m not sure what other services I can access with my matric card, but my supervisor at work really wants me to get it soon so I can access the office (it works kinda like a key).
Overall, Registration Day was smooth and easy.
Unlocking my iPhone and getting a sim card
So one of the things that I didn’t do in Vancouver before going to Singapore was to unlock my iPhone 4S. Luckily, TELUS has a way of remotely unlocking iPhones (for a charge of $35). They were able to set this up for me on Sunday night (Singapore time). However, there was a catch: I needed to plug my iPhone into my laptop, and reset it in order for the unlock to take effect.
The thing is, my laptop’s OSX is not updated, so I wasn’t able to do anything. At first, I looked into getting my laptop upgraded to Snow Leopard, which I guess I should do, but none of the Apple Stores I went to near NUS Kent Ridge Campus had it – I had to order it online, and it would take two weeks to ship out.
Luckily, I got my matric card today, so I was able to access and use the Mac Computer Commons at University Town’s Education Resource Centre. I was able to reset my iPhone, finally get it unlocked, and then went to a mall in Jurong East to buy a new sim card from SingTel. Again, there is a catch: all of the numbers I had in my phone are gone, as I couldn’t back my iPhone up on a public computer. So if you know me and have my number, I do not have yours. But at least I’m reachable now, and won’t have to use my Canadian number to call local numbers here!