Horns meet world. World meet Shivangi Gupta. Shivangi is an International Relations and Global Studies (IRG) major and she spent five months studying abroad on the exchange program at the National University of Singapore and the Maymester: the U.S, U.K, and World Order program at Oxford University.
I have returned from my adventures studying abroad in London and Singapore and now bring my experience to the International Office as a Peer Advisor. Students are always so surprised to hear that I went to such different places and it’s not surprising to get, “well, which one did you like better?”. Honestly it’s a really hard question. They were both amazing, but for drastically different reasons. Let me begin with my experience in Singapore.
Singapore was probably the best college experience of my life. I was in the country for my Spring semester and I studied at the National University of Singapore (NUS) which is still currently ranked number 1 in Asia and number 9 for my major (IRG). What made my time in Singapore really memorable was the people. Being around other exchange students and getting to know the Singaporeans in my classes, I felt the same excitement I had on my first day as a first year at UT. There was always so much going on campus and everyone was so friendly. Coming into Singapore, the only place I really wanted to travel to was Thailand. But before I knew it, I was off looking at Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur and walking through the tea plantations in Cameron Highlands. I got a chance to hit up the Full Moon party in Kho Phi Phi and went wake boarding in Indonesia. I even had the opportunity to hike up two active volcanoes in Bali and Java: Mt. Ijen, and Mt. Bromo. A very new experience as I’ve never hiked or camped in my LIFE. I honestly would never have had the confidence to go on these trips if it were not for the friends I made in Singapore. The country itself is beautiful, safe, and friendly. I rarely had trouble finding my way around, which is quite a revelation for someone as directionally challenged as myself. I still find myself wishing I could go back and see everyone again. I felt like I found a second family for myself living in the dorms and eating the same terrible dining hall food every day. But to be honest I wouldn’t give up a single day for the world.
Being in London was so drastically different from Singapore. London is as beautiful and amazing as is shown in every movie and poster you have ever seen. The people are chic and fashionable and they have an amazing subway system that is mind boggling to the average traveler. People were always on the move and it was a much more vibrant and a fast paced society. I loved turning the corner and finding a new pub or cafe. I loved how much Indian food was at my disposal, but most of all I loved the musical theater. I was in London for around four weeks and every week I went to at least one play or musical. By the end of my trip I had been to 4 plays: Romeo and Juliette, Les Miserables, The Lion King, and Wicked. I had also gotten a chance to sit down with some of the world’s greatest academic minds and visited multiple museums. It was really the experience of a lifetime. I loved the city and I would do anything to go back and get a chance to slow down and really embrace the culture surrounding it.
So overall I would say that I loved Singapore because of the people I met and London for the city I got to experience. If you are thinking about studying abroad, please go! It changed my life, and I am sure it will change yours too. 🙂
Hopefully Shivangi has opened your mind to studying abroad! For more awesome experiences check back with our blog next week to see where else in the world our Horns pop up.