Sana - National University of Singapore

B Science/ B Arts
Semester 2, 2022


Coming out from a COVID-19 study experience in my first two years of uni, I was motivated to push myself out of my comfort zone, take advantage of the lifted travel restrictions, and immerse myself in a new environment. I was particularly interested in Singapore for its unique confluence of Asian cultures and the expansive and flexible course offerings at NUS.

Personal Development

During my exchange semester, I gained self-confidence in my abilities. Before leaving Australia for exchange, I completed the Zumba instructor training. I was a new instructor, but I knew that I wanted to share my skills when I went to Singapore. In the first week, I met a fellow exchange student and shared my goal of teaching Zumba classes and he suggested that I make a forum and advertise my first class. By marketing my classes in group chats, finding a location for the class and sourcing a Bluetooth speaker, I put on my first class. It was a huge success with a good turnout and feedback. The entire process of pooling resources, drawing on connections I had created and putting myself out there allowed me to build my confidence in my abilities. Due to the high demand for the classes, I taught every week for the whole semester. After this process I was no longer a new instructor, but an experienced one who was able to build a community of like-minded people.

Academic Development

The setting at NUS is similar to UQ, quite academically inclined. The main difference I encountered was that NUS is an exclusively in-person university and did not offer courses online or record lectures. This was a positive change for me as it encouraged me to attend all classes and keep on top of class content as it was delivered. The workload was quite similar, and I am pleased with my ability to juggle both studying and learning on exchange while being able to travel, have a large social life and relax. At times I found the teaching style a little different, with more lecture-only based teaching, but I soon adapted to this way of learning.

Professional Development

Networking stands out as being the greatest skills that I believe would contribute to my employability and can be easily transferred to the workplace. Networking was a key aspect of my exchange. By creating group chats and organising excursions with broad and multicultural group of people who all had a similar mindset of creating the most out of exchange. Through this, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to try and meet and as many new people as possible, as I knew that making friends was integral to a positive exchange experience. The pool of exchange students was such that I for the first time I was able to connect with people from completely different backgrounds to myself and find not only common ground but gain a close connection to them. In fact, through meeting new people I was able to link with them on Linkedin and find ways that we could build our global professional base, this included an invitation to attend a Moot court in Japan. These connections have allowed me to call upon and be called upon by friends around the world for advice, help, opportunities, and work.


I created a spreadsheet with a breakdown of all expenditure I expected to have over the trip. As new opportunities arised I slightly modified my plans and prioritised the things that I wanted to see and do the most. For instance, food was relatively cheap in the uni and 2 meals were paid for in my accommodation, so I spent less on that than I would have back home. But, I really wanted to travel in a couple of places in South-East Asia while I was in Singapore so I prioritised the travel and buying cheap flights and accommodation. I spent around $5000 altogether including the travel. My best advice would be to have a list of priorities for the things that are important to see or do and then budget around that, making some adjustments along the way!


The funding was extremely beneficial for my experience and is something that I am very grateful to have received. Most of the funding went into travel and sightseeing, both within Singapore and out. It opened up the doors of being able to truly immerse myself in cultural activities and sights so that I could not live in a new place, but understand its history and values.


The accommodation options were provided through a separate application link during the application process. I was offered a range of different options such as apartments with kitchens, residential colleges and hall. I chose a Hall with a single room because I was looking for a catered place as it would make my transition to Singapore much easier. Furthermore, I wanted to be in an environment which fostered a community living with games, clubs and activities. All of these wants were actualised in my accommodation, but the best and unexpected aspect was that the majority of my Hall consisted of Singaporeans. This was really good for me because it allowed me to easily make local friends who gave me advice, tips and knew the best food and sightseeing places in Singapore.


The highlight of the experience was the friends that I made on exchange, both Singaporean and local. these connections were the part that I was most apprehensive about before departing for exchange but was the most amazing aspect. I now feel very lucky to have a large mix of international friends who have opened their homes for me and for whom I would do the same. The best part is the range of different backgrounds that they come from and the fact that we got to share one experience in our life which was the same, Singapore.

Advice/Top Tips

My top advice would be to put yourself out there as much as possible to meet new people. Have a mix of exchange friends and local friends by attending clubs, events and by making group chats for difference interest groups. Take all opportunities available and travel and sight-see with like-minded people if possible.