Jarrod - Singapore Management University

B Commerce/B Economics
Semester 1, 2023


My motivation for participating in the exchange program in Singapore stemmed from my desire to expand my connections in Asia and gain a deeper understanding of trade, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the ASEAN region. I recognized the value of building a strong and diverse network and believed that immersing myself in a new environment would provide unique insights, personal growth, and development opportunities. Additionally, I was eager to learn about the region's dynamic business landscape, and I saw Singapore as an ideal hub for experiencing its unique blend of cultures, markets, and business practices.

Personal Development

During my experience, I gained extensive friendships in Asia, North America, and Europe, which has been incredibly rewarding. These connections have made me a more globally minded person, opening my eyes to new cultures, ideas, and perspectives. I now consider opportunities outside of Australia to be more attainable, thanks to the support and encouragement of my international friends. In addition to the friendships, I explored new places and learned about different customs and traditions, which has helped me develop empathy and understanding for diverse cultures. This experience has undoubtedly changed me, making me a more well-rounded, open-minded, and adaptable individual.

Academic Development

Academically, the workload during my experience was similar to that at UQ, but the academic system was different. A challenge I faced was the uncertainty of course assignments, which made planning for my time in Singapore difficult. This required me to be more flexible and adaptable to new situations. However, I enjoyed the practical and application-focused nature of the different academic system, which allowed me to develop real-world skills and enhance my understanding of the subjects I studied. I also appreciated the opportunity to engage with professors and students from diverse backgrounds, which provided me with a broader perspective on various academic topics. To overcome the challenges, I remained flexible and adaptable, embracing the unique learning opportunities available, and actively seeking guidance and support from peers and professors.

Professional Development

During my experience, I developed valuable skills such as flexibility, planning, and resilience, which will contribute significantly to my professional development and future employability. I overcame challenges by being proactive, adaptable, and focusing on problem-solving, which allowed me to navigate unfamiliar situations and become more confident in my abilities. Additionally, my exposure to diverse cultures and working styles has enhanced my communication and collaboration skills, making me a stronger team player and better prepared to work in multicultural environments. These skills and attributes will undoubtedly prove beneficial in my professional life, setting me apart from others in an increasingly globalized job market.


I used an exhaustive budgeting technique, allocating funds for necessary expenses, fun activities, and a margin of error. I carefully tracked my spending and adjusted my budget as needed to ensure that I could enjoy my experience without unnecessary financial stress. My advice to future students is to budget more for traveling outside of Singapore, as it was one of the best experiences of the program. Be mindful of all expenses, including accommodation, transport, food, and travel. It is essential to strike a balance between enjoying your time abroad and maintaining financial responsibility. Prioritize the experiences that matter most to you and seek out cost-effective alternatives when possible.


The funding I received was beneficial because it allowed me to travel across Asia, make more connections, and secure accommodation closer to the university and exchange social circles. This enabled me to be socially active and make many friends during my time abroad, enriching my overall experience. The funding also provided me with the financial freedom to explore various cultural, academic, and professional opportunities that I may not have been able to afford otherwise. I am incredibly grateful for the support I received, as it played a significant role in shaping my experience and personal growth.


I found out about my accommodation options through a co-living agent, as my host university did not offer any suitable options. The pros of this approach included having other exchange roommates, who I eventually traveled with to five different countries. These relationships provided me with a built-in support network, making my transition to a new environment smoother and more enjoyable. A con was the expense and the need for lucky timing to secure a good living arrangement. My advice to future students is to research housing options thoroughly and consider co-living spaces to create a supportive network. Reach out to past exchange students and university resources for advice, and start your search early to ensure the best possible living situation. Keep in mind factors such as location, amenities, and cost when making your decision. Don't be afraid to ask questions and seek help from others who have gone through the process before you.


The highlights of my experience were numerous, but two experiences stand out. The first was playing volleyball with local Vietnamese people in Sa Pa during my travels. This experience allowed me to immerse myself in the local culture, build connections with people from different backgrounds, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the region. It was an unforgettable moment that taught me the importance of engaging with local communities while traveling. The second highlight was exploring Bangkok with a diverse group of friends from various nationalities. This trip allowed me to see the beauty of cultural exchange in action, as we shared stories, experiences, and perspectives from our home countries. These shared adventures not only created lifelong memories but also deepened my appreciation for the value of multicultural friendships and experiences.

Advice/Top Tips

For future students considering this experience, I have several pieces of advice. First, plan for more travel outside of Singapore, as exploring new destinations and cultures is an invaluable part of the exchange experience. Budget carefully and make the most of your time abroad by seeking out unique and enriching travel opportunities. Second, I highly recommend finding exchange roommates, as this can create a supportive network and lead to lifelong friendships. Sharing your experience with others who are going through the same journey can make the transition to a new environment easier and more enjoyable. Third, have a plan for socializing and engaging with others. Research clubs, organizations, and social events in advance, and attend host-organized social events to connect with other exchange students. Be proactive in building your social circle and seek out opportunities to engage with local students and community members. Lastly, keep an open mind and embrace every opportunity to learn, grow, and make lasting connections during your time abroad. Your experience is what you make of it, so don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and make the most of your time in your host country.