Reflection: John

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It has been an eye-opening journey to complete my student exchange programme at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. I definitely would love to go on exchange again.

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At the mooncake festival
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Priests at a Hindu ceremony

It was joyful to experience the Singaporean culture. I always enjoyed my attendance at local celebrations and ceremonies. They feel different than the ones back in Auckland. For instance, at the mooncake festival, I was having fun with my lit-up lantern until my friend accidentally burned a big hole in it. Despite the unfortunate incident, I had an amazing experience because I was able to participate first hand.

Getting to know the locals is a benefit. I learned a lot from my local Singaporean friends. For example, it is polite to remove your shoes before entering a home, and it is respectful to address older people as ‘aunty’ or ‘uncle’ according to their gender.

I like the local food in Singapore which is a fusion of Chinese, Indian and Malay food. If you would like to know more about Singaporean food, I wrote a post about it: click here.

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My good friends Albin and Holger with me on a trip to Malaysia

I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people from all around the world. Other than meeting friendly locals, there are about a thousand exchange students from all over the world at NTU. In fact, I made good friends in Singapore who are from Europe who I have plans to visit in the future.

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The Singaporean evening skyline
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Inside the Cloud Forest which houses the tallest waterfall in the world at 50 meters high
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You can actually dine on top of the ‘Supertrees’ at Gardens by the Bay
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View from the tallest brewery in the world – LeVeL33
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After a fun day at Universal Studios Singapore

I had the chance to travel frequently as I only have classes four days per week and I had three days off every week. I took this opportunity to travel around Singapore often. While travelling, I am always astonished by Singapore’s architecture. For starters, Singapore has a beautiful busy skyline. Singapore also has an impressive 50 meters tall indoor waterfall which is the tallest in the world and a bright ‘Supertrees’ garden, both which are built on the same reclaimed land. On top of that, I visited the highest brewery in the world located on the top of a 33-level skyscraper and was able to do beer tasting. It had a fantastic view of Singapore’s city accompanied with delicious craft beers. I also visited the Universal Studios Singapore theme park which was a blast with adrenaline pumping rides. I actually made a vlog of my Singapore travel experience: click here.

There is one thing I wish I would have done more which is to travel more to the neighbouring countries. Many exchange students used the opportunity to visit Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and had a wonderful experience.

Lastly, going on exchange makes financial sense too. If you are a New Zealander, you might be able to qualify for the Prime Minister’s Scholarship which pays almost for your entire exchange experience including the expensive flight tickets. As an international student, I did not qualify for the Prime Minster scholarship, but I was able to obtain a University of Auckland’s Auckland Abroad Awards which was able to cover my flight costs to Singapore. However, the cost of living at Singapore is still less than Auckland.

If you are contemplating on going for an exchange programme, just go for it! It will be an eye-opening experience which you will not regret. I would do it all over again. I miss Singapore.

Questions?

I am always happy to help anyone interested in going exchange to Singapore. Make sure to comment on this blog post, and I will reply whenever possible. Alternatively, you can email me at jlee575@aucklanduni.ac.nz

If you want to check out more of my pictures, please follow my Instagram account: johnleekw.

As this will be my last post, I would like to thank the incredible 360 International team for making this opportunity possible!

Cheers!

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