Relishing community support
Q: How have you found the transition from living in Sri Lanka to working in Singapore?
A: The transition wasn’t too difficult because I’d already completed four years of university education in Singapore before I began working here.
Studying in Singapore enabled me to gradually acclimatise to Singaporean life. I was able to find several communities with whom I connected; and I’m lucky to have a support system here.
There is a relatively large South Asian community in Singapore, which includes a few other Sri Lankans. We were able to bond over our cultural similarities and they are still an important part of my life.
Since I was an avid debater in school, I joined the National University of Singapore (NUS) varsity debating team where I met people who shared the same passion.
My coworkers at NUS were instrumental in helping me make the transition. They accepted me even though I was a foreigner – and our shared passion for sustainability research ensured that we worked well together.
Ultimately, it was the communities I engaged with that enabled me to transition smoothly.
Q: Have you encountered any unique opportunities for career growth in Singapore that may differ from those in Sri Lanka?
A: Certainly. My field of interest is the environment and sustainability with special focus on the application of computational modelling in environmental research. There are many unique opportunities in Singapore to conduct research in this field.
NUS has one of the best civil and environmental engineering departments in the world, dedicated to conducting sustainability research.
As a research engineer, I work with distinguished professors who have not only excelled in the field of environmental engineering but also guided, supported and given me every opportunity to succeed and build my career.
I have also benefitted from funding from both government agencies and the university, who are committed to furthering sustainability research in Singapore.
Q: What attracted you to work in Singapore, following your higher studies?
A: I chose to work in Singapore because I was given an opportunity to engage in interesting and impactful projects in the field that I’m passionate about.
Looking to the immediate future, I’m aiming to pursue a PhD in environmental engineering at NUS, focussing on the application of AI and machine learning in the field of the environment and sustainability.
As for the longer term, my plans are not set in stone as yet. I’m open to pursuing a career in Singapore but also have other options in mind – such as relocating to the UK or Australia.