Diana’s PSA: Let Dreams Take Flight – Student Exchange Woes

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Student exchange can be a very exciting time of our university life. You get to experience life in a completely different environment from what you are used to, meet people of different cultures and backgrounds, and even get to pursue your interests in the partner university! However, embarking on a student exchange programme can be a big decision, especially if it is an overseas one. Here, I’ll be giving my thoughts on various scenarios that you may encounter when deciding on your student exchange programme!

1. Don’t know what university & course to choose

You may be spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of universities and courses that are on offer. But the answer is very simple—follow your passion. If the course is something you like and can foresee yourself doing in the future, that’s the right choice for you. In addition, do your research on which universities are stronger and more well-known for the course you are interested in. When the school has a niche area in your passion, that’s even better as you will be challenged in a good way for your growth! So work hard and aim for that coveted spot!

2. Deciding between going on exchange with friends or going alone

Going overseas can be scary, and all the more when you will be in the foreign land all by yourself! This is a big reason why many students want to go to the same exchange location as your friends—the company will be comforting and great memories will be forged. However, do remember that it is more important for you to study something you like, rather than something else just because your friend is taking it. If in the case that you and your friends will go to different universities or even to different countries because your passions are different, you can take it as a challenge of going by yourself! Besides, there are perks of going alone as well: you will be pushed outside your comfort zone to get to know more people and forge new friendships which may last a lifetime as well! Or, take the time to discover yourself as a person and how you can thrive in environments by yourself. And not to mention the freedom you will have to do the things you want and visit the places you want! The ideal situation, of course, is you and your friends chasing the same dreams together; but if not, chasing your respective dreams is okay as well, as you know you are all doing what you love and you will always have one another’s back no matter where you go!

3. Want to go overseas but have finance concerns

Sometimes dreams come with their own taste of practicality. And one form of practicality is something that makes the world go round—money. If you are planning to go on an overseas exchange, of course finance will play a big part. However, if finance is a concern, you can try to work around it by checking if you are eligible for financial aid, or working part-time to save up money. Find practical ways to finance the exchange, but if all else does not work out, realise that you do not always have to go overseas to study what you want. I understand that there’s a certain ‘glitz and glamour’ about going overseas on exchange, but it is not a must for everyone. You can look for local and less costly options that can work as well!

I hope the above will help shed some light on your decisions and maybe give you some useful advice! If you have any other scenario, feel free to let me know, and I wish you all the best 🙂

Need any help navigating uni life or hearing a different point-of-view? Fret not, for I’m here to help! Send in your queries to theridge.brunchbunch@nussu.org.sg and hear back from the team!