In this edition of #SeniorExchange, Psychology undergraduate year 3 Nadine Chua from NTU will show you a glimpse of how her exchange was like in United Kingdom (UK). Through her insightful and intriguing post, one can find out more about the life #beyondsingapore and be awed by her magical adventures. For the juniors, you’re in for a treat as she will be dishing out several of her #lifehacks and #survivaltips to ensure you maximize your Exchange experiences! So, what are you guys waiting for? Let’s find out now! 😊
1) Why did you decide to choose UK for your exchange experience?
I’ve never been to Scotland before, and I knew I wanted to explore the highlands and the UK. Plus, I knew I could travel to many countries during my exchange because the UK area is super well-connected by trains and buses!
2) What are some of the preparation that you think juniors should do before going on exchange?
Money planning! Check prices of places you want to visit, and of course if you’re going to open a bank account there or just use a multi-currency account (I had some issues with that) since payment there can be quite troublesome. Also, be well prepared with Singaporean food recipes or some Singaporean food pre-mix (eg. chicken curry and laksa) as you’ll definitely miss that a ton when you’re on exchange.
3) What are some of the challenges that you face during your exchange experience and how did you overcome them?
For me personally, it was being away from all my loved ones. But after a while I got used to it, and I thoroughly enjoyed living with my flatmates and being independent. Just remember to put in extra effort to FaceTime or call your loved ones (especially if the time difference is huge) and personally, sending letters back and forth makes it all better.
4) What are some of the things that you learnt about yourself during the entire exchange experience?
I learnt that I can be super independent if I want to! During my exchange, I travelled alone for the first time and although I was scared at first, I ended up loving every minute of it. As such, I kept going on solo trips since I realised that I probably won’t get the chance to travel so extensively again!
5) What advice would you give your juniors before they embark on their exchange?
Be super open-minded and make lots of friends. I managed to try many new things during my travels and visited different places that made the experience so much more exciting. I also made lots of friends throughout my exchange and these were the people that made the overall experience so memorable. So if there’s an orientation at the beginning of the semester or a gathering of Singaporeans for a party, go for all of them! That’s the best way to make new friends and forge unforgettable memories.
6) What is your greatest takeaway throughout the entire exchange experience?
My greatest takeaway would have to be my travels. I have never travelled so much in a span of 6 months ever! If there’s one thing that I regret though, I guess it would be not traveling more. 😂 (Just remember to get your studies in check as you travel, so you can pass your exams. Although, I must say that passing is relatively easy in overseas universities.)
7) If you could turn back time, what is one thing that you think you could have done better during your exchange?
I would have made friends with the locals in the UK. There was a Singaporean society there and talking to Singaporeans felt so much like home. So naturally, the Singaporeans tended to stick together. But looking back, I should have reached out more often to the locals in school and maybe I could have understood or discover more about their culture. But exchange was still an unforgettable experience and I will greatly encourage everyone who has the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone to try it out!
With that, SeniorSays.sg would like to thank Nadine for her insightful contribution and we hope her unique experience provides you a glimpse of the life of an exchange student in the UK! Ultimately, we hope this will help you make better university decisions as you trudge on through your university years. Should you also wish to contribute, do feel free to click on the Contribute section on think.seniorsays.sg and write in to us today! 😉