News & Events
Flight to Singapore Now Boarding… – LeedsUniAbroad
- December 5, 2020
- Posted by: Aradhana Pandey
- Category: Education
When I was 17 years old, I decided I wanted to study abroad in Singapore. Fast forward 3 years, after blood, sweat and real tears, rejection from the first round, I finally received the long-awaited confirmation email.
“Congratulations we are delighted to inform you, your application has been successful for Singapore Management University”
I still remember the moment, I woke up at 10am and at this point I was constantly checking my emails every day, I rang my mum and cried (happy tears) because all my hard work paid off in making my dream come true. I managed to achieve 65% and over in all my law module assessments – your grades play a part in the process and in this case, there were only 2 places exclusively available for Leeds law students to be accepted into the SMU’s law school. By manifesting my goals and being strategic I got to where I wanted to be. Going to university is a lot more than freshers and a 2:1 degree. Its what you make it. There are so many opportunities and so many professionals waiting to help you. But you have to put the work in and make it happen for yourself.
Studying abroad is also much more than just travelling. When you leave your comfort zone and move halfway across the world to a whole new continent you grow, you glow, and you find answers. You see how happy and content people are despite not growing up with the luxuries our country affords us. You see how different government practices are. Living in Singapore was like living in an alternate futuristic reality, incredibly efficient Mass Rapid transport, surrounded by amazing technology, never ending skyscrapers, such beautiful beaches that even the palm trees looked fake and the whole island city was so clean you wouldn’t even find a speck of dust on the street. Our university campus had AI bots that cleaned the campus floors, rooftop gardens, a swimming pool on top the library and the best food you have ever tasted.
When I first landed in Singapore it wasn’t till the taxi drove past the 165m high Singapore flyer (second largest Ferris wheel in the world) when the realisation hit me. I was about to spend the next year in this place. I was sharing my city apartment with 4 boys and 1 girl who was my roommate. Sharing a room for the first time with someone who I didn’t know wasn’t as daunting as it would seem as she instantly became my best friend. We spent most of our days by the pool, exploring Singapore, having lunch dates by the river, visiting tourist attractions such as gardens by the bay, spectra water light show, the OCBC Skywalk and accidentally ending up at a concert by a Singaporean breakthrough artist Yung Raja.
My morning routine to university would consist of taking the 10 min air-conditioned bus or underground system to campus from my 11th floor luxury city apartment, getting my daily fix of iced coffee and chocolate and peanut butter waffle, before my 3hr seminar. Then during lunch break me and my friends would lie on the grass in the everyday 30degrees sunny weather, make plans and invite each other to a house party that another exchange student is throwing. Every day there was a new motive, every day I would meet a new person from a different country or different industry. Some of the highlights were befriending an actor from a Netflix show called Singapore social and being invited to exclusive events, going to a Jaden Smith concert and weekly pool parties. Most nights were spent either at a rooftop bar enjoying our free flow lady’s night aperol spritz while taking in the breath-taking view of Singapore or cramming in the Kwa Geok Choo law library for a presentation the next day.
To sum up, the past year in Singapore in a nutshell has been the most fulfilling and spontaneous time of my life. I went to countries I never thought I’d be able to visit at this age. I spent 3 weeks exploring Bali for spring break, I went to Koh Phi Phi, Thailand during study break. I flew to Vietnam, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh for my friends 21st birthday, casually crossed the border to Malaysia for the day to do some shopping and shisha. I travelled to islands where the sun sets behind active volcanoes and the only way of transport was bicycling through the beaches. I literally spent day to night snorkelling from feeding fish watermelon, swimming with baby sharks and illuminous planktons. It’s safe to say that Changi airport was basically my second home.
While I had many first-time experiences, I also had hard last time meetings. Saying goodbye to Singapore, saying goodbye to friends I had lived with, travelled with, spent every day with was so heart-breaking. But now I have a best friend in Japan and a best friend in Germany we talk everyday about how we cant wait to see each other and travel together again. This global experience has not only given me a wholesome perspective of the world we live in and the people we are, but it has also blessed me with beautiful memories that have taught me to be present, grateful and to never stop exploring.
By Pooja Bhavsar – Singapore Management University, Singapore
*Entry to the 2019/20 Study Abroad Blog Competition*