15 things i learnt on exchange


END OF EXC2016. I apologise for this extremely late post, but the weeks since i’ve been home have been packed with events/meet-ups/errands to run that i’ve only had the time to touch up on this post!

And so, i am really happy to be home in sunny(and rainy) Singapore! Exchange in Europe has been wonderful, but it really does feel good to be home. Catching up with friends over the past few weeks have been the best, and this Summer for me is really just to do the things i want(me being lazy and thus decided not to work). My days have been basically spent on events like SG Coffee Fest, Beer fest, attending various workshops and spending time with loved ones. It’s really a time i will treasure before beginning my last year at SMU and venturing into the working world.

Exchange has taught me a lot, so i decided a post on my experiences might help those intending to go on exchange/studying overseas. Might i add the disclaiming fact that this is written on my perspective of being in Spain, but i think most of the country-specific statements can still be applied to yours if tweaked just a little-

  1. Independence is a choice-you can choose to live your exchange with a whole bunch of friends, new people, or alone. But the best way to learn to be independent is via the last one IMO.
  2. That doesn’t mean you’re alone 24/7. There’s a difference between being alone, and being lonely. Being alone can be very invigorating.
  3. Be open to everything, and i mean everything. Be guarded, but not defensive. Not everyone out there wants to steal your cash.
  4. “Fake it till you make it” is a very true statement. Even if you don’t know what or how to go about doing things, acting like you do helps a whole lot.
  5. Keep a positive mindset about everything. Even if something goes wrong e.g. You missed your train, you got pick-pocketed etc, it helps to just laugh it off and move on. What happens after that is entirely your choice.
  6. You don’t have to be seeing every single thing in the city you’re in, if you feel tired or sick, rest. That cathedral or museum will still be there tomorrow.
  7. Be patient. Observe what people do and then proceed, being hasty isn’t the best thing to do in any circumstance.
  8. Learn how to manage your finances, and make an effort to actually track your spending. You’ll be surprised at how much you spend/waste/can save.
  9. If you need help, a s k. You’ll find that people are actually really nice and willing to help.
  10. Wine(or beer in some cases) makes any day better. Drink lots of it.
  11. Exchange is the only time where your GPA doesn’t count(for my case that is)-so really take the time to enjoy lessons and learn what you can without worrying about what you have to learn.
  12. Always take advantage of the sunshine. Go out even if you don’t have a reason to, it helps you to recharge.
  13. Things can change while you’re on exchange-take the the time and distance apart to process, think, and sort out all those thoughts by yourself. The entire process helps you grow for the better.
  14. Time is a precious asset. We don’t consume it, we are consumed by it. So if there’s extra of it, better make something out of it.
  15. Everything happens for a reason, even if you don’t know the reason. So just go with the flow, take things easy, live in the moment, and see the positivity in everything.

That’s a few tips/lessons i learnt i guess!! I have another 2 months before school starts again, and i will be a final year student when that happens. For now, i just look forward to life.


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I drink too much iced coffee for a single human being.

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