Grace - Nanyang Technological University

B. Business Management
Semester 1, 2016

Academic experience

While on exchange I did courses in finance, organisational behaviour, retail management and cultural studies. The Singaporean academic system was very different to UQ as there was only one three hour seminar per week instead of a two-hour lecture with separate tutorials. It was difficult at first as their system was so much different to ours, the long classes made it difficult to concentrate however I soon adjusted. Singaporean's are also very study oriented so it was hard to make local friends as they are always busy with university work!

Personal experience

Throughout my exchange, I met a lot of people from all around the world! My closest friends were from Sweden and France and it was interesting to me that I didn't meet any other Australians while I was gone! This gave me a really good opportunity to learn about not only the Singaporean culture but that of my new friends as well. As Singapore is such a central location in South East Asia, I had the opportunity to travel to Malaysia, Bali, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Cambodia. Adjusting to the Singaporean slang (known as Singlish, a mixture of English and Mandarin) was a challenge at first however towards the end of my exchange I found myself using some of their words in my own sentences.

Accommodation

I stayed off campus and quite far away from my university. It took a long time to reach campus and it would have been more beneficial for me to live nearby. I really liked the fact that I was away from the tourist areas as it gave me a better chance to really get involved in the authentic side of the culture. I would advise people to live on campus though as they always have activities for exchange students happening on campus and in the halls!

Budget

Rent is expensive in Singapore and most people who stayed on campus seemed to pay less than those who lived off campus. Food is very cheap, you can buy meals for $2! Transport is also very cheap and incredibly efficient- a taxi can range from $5-$30 depending on where you are going and public transport costs next to nothing! Travel was my biggest cost and I would recommend saving most of your money for that. I budgeted (and spent) around $12,000 for my 6-month stay.

Professional development and employability

Being involved in such a different culture has helped my professional development in many ways. I have learnt how to live and function in a country so different to my own as well as how to interact appropriately with people who are used to behaving in a different way to me. I learnt how to work in groups with people from different countries and cultures and I really believe that when I am faced with this same situation in the future that I can look back and thank my exchange for preparing me for it! Being by myself in a foreign country also helped with my independence which I believe is important for my professional self.

Highlight

Singapore City
Singapore City

The highlight of my experience was living in such a beautiful country and meeting so many people that I got to explore it with. Travelling around Asia was also a huge plus.

Top tips

My advice would be to save up as much as possible and try to eliminate stress before arriving. Once you get to your exchange location everything is a bit overwhelming so being super organised is really beneficial! I would advise you to make the most of your experience and participate in as many of the activities as possible because you meet so many people who will remain friends for life this way!

Grace - Nanyang Technological University