Hello! Long time, no see from Singapore! For those who are reading for the first time, or those who forgot who I am, my name is Brandon Chan and I’m a third-year marine science and journalism student studying at the National University of Singapore (NUS). With about half of the semester already over and recess week (fall break) about to be here, I thought I’d write more about the expectations and reality of traveling during your time abroad.
Whether your study abroad program will be your first time out of the States or you’re already a certified world explorer, one of the best opportunities about living in a foreign country is the ability to travel. Unlike traveling for vacation, you’re able to travel to nearby places from your host country. While some places are easier to get to than others, there’s always something to explore right around the corner, both in your host country and the surrounding areas. Singapore has provided me the opportunity to go to places that I otherwise wouldn’t had even considered going to. Cities in Malaysia and Indonesia are just a short bus or ferry away and are perfect for a weekend getaway. Other places, like Taiwan and Japan, are much cheaper to get to from Singapore than from the States. The possibilities of travel, wherever you decide to go, are always there for the taking.
But through my short time here so far, you always have to remember the study part of study abroad. While travelling around Southeast Asia is a blast, there’s still the weekly grind of sitting through two-hour lectures, meeting with groups to finish projects and homework to be done. Keep your expectations of travelling reasonable for your own workload and what you wish to accomplish during your time abroad. Are you trying to do research? Are you wanting to make relationships with local students and professors? Are you trying to make relationships with other abroad students? Always think about what you want to achieve with your time when considering where and when to travel.
When you do travel during your time away, there are a few things to think about before booking your trip. Keep in mind your budget and the expenses of the place you want to travel to. Some places are cheaper than others but sometimes because they are cheaper, the accommodations might be a little worse for wear than other places. Think about what you want to do after your trip and how the budget of those trips might affect your current plans. Last but not least, always keep your emergency contacts informed about your plans and don’t forget to have fun!
Travelling is a part of study abroad and you should take full advantage of the opportunity to explore the region around you. Whether it’s to another part of the country or another country entirely, I’d highly encourage anyone who is or will be abroad to go just once and see what else is right around the corner.
This post was contributed by Brandon Chan, a 2019 Global Ambassador majoring in marine biology and journalism. He is studying at the National University of Singapore.
Don’t get left behind. Read more about Brandon’s experience at NUS>>