Upon reflecting on my experiences in Singapore, I came to realize that I have grown, both personally and professionally. I came to Singapore with little to no idea what I wanted to do in the future. Sure, I had my economics classes where I learned about some theory about banking and how our financial system worked, but I had no idea what job I wanted to do or what skills would be most transferrable for jobs in the financial sector. I was able to clear up many of my questions by studying in the business school. The National University of Singapore business school took on a much more hands-on approach with courses. Instead of having just lectures and exams, much of my coursework consisted of semester-long group work, allowing me to really understand the core of the subject I was studying in a real life context. For example, in my marketing class, I was able to understand how to assess a country’s openness to new industries and companies and the best way to penetrate the market using consumer analysis. For our project, we were responsible for bringing a US-based company to Thailand and pitch a viable methodology to our class at the end of the semester. Throughout the semester, our teacher would throw problems at us, and we would have to figure out how to solve it in creative and innovative ways. The course was super enlightening for me and allowed me to realize what kind of environment I want to work in in the future.
Along with professional growth, I think I was able to personally grow as well. I was welcomed to a culture so different from my own- from not wearing flip flops in the showers and learning to always take shoes off before entering the hall to learning about local student experiences (such as the mandatory draft for boys- leading to all the male students being two years older). I also learned some practical knowledge. Before coming here, I had never fully planned for trips, and being on my own really opened my eyes to handling personal finances and allowed me to have a better understanding of budgeting when it comes to vacations or weekend getaways. Obtaining visas, understanding how to use a SIM card, and balancing my schedule was never something I really had to do or know about while at Northwestern, so in that sense, I gained some life skills as well.
I know I will miss Singapore. I made a lot of new friends that I already miss, learned a lot from the courses that I took, and really grew a lot in terms of the direction and path I hope to take in the future. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to have studied abroad here.