I did my year abroad in Singapore. It was a very spontaneous decision to go there!
At the beginning of my second year I decided that I wanted to do something else, so I tried to look for different options of where I could do and then where I could go.
I didn’t want to go somewhere else in Europe because I thought I might get bored and the travel is very easy there and I felt like if I go somewhere for a year then I want to go somewhere far.
So I checked my finances and considered my living costs and I thought maybe Australia and America are too expensive for me so maybe Singapore is a good option. Even though it is considered one of the most expensive cities in the world! But I compared accommodation prices and food prices and it was somehow better compared to Australia and America. And I have always had a fascination with South East Asia and the people who live there and their culture.
To be honest I was super, super anxious about it because I thought I would be the only European person there and it would be hard for me to study there – I created future worries for myself!
It took me a lot of effort to apply. And then when I applied I thought “well, if I don’t get in or get accommodation then I just won’t go” so I always tried to run away from the idea but then in the middle of the summer I got accepted and got my accommodation so I just needed to sort out my tickets.
I think it was one of the most frustrating summers because I was working a lot that summer to save money to go to Singapore and I was so frustrated and anxious about going there because I thought I was not capable of studying at a good university in Singapore. I was so negative about it but the moment I got there everything changed and it was completely different to how I expected.
I met so many different students from all over the world. From Australia, America, Uganda, Spain, China and it was crazy how different and diverse the people there were. I was living with a Singaporean and she introduced me to her family so I got to know about Singapore traditions and customs and a different type of people.
I became very good friends with a girl from Uganda and another from New York and I am just so grateful for that because we are still friends. And I had the chance to travel during my spring break. I went to Hong Kong I went to Malaysia and Bali and I have visited so many different places – I went even to the Philippines and I thought “is this even real?” because I thought to myself at school and how I wouldn’t even have imagined being there one day and it’s an honour to travel to such places and I never thought it would be me there.
I feel like the whole Singaporean experience helped me to evolve as a person. I feel more confident to do things on my own. I always found it difficult to love myself and that I am undeserving and I always feel like I am not working hard enough and when everything is good I think it’s not right. I think the bravest thing we can do is to love ourselves the way we are and to accept ourselves. I have this saying: what is meant to happen will happen and you’ll find you way. Any decision we make in our lives will lead us somewhere – even if it’s a bad decision, because we learn from it.
I also learned that I shouldn’t overthink everything about the future and that I should focus on being in the present more. Before going to Singapore, I was having panic attacks every day and I was having trouble sleeping. Our minds are trying to trick us all the time into thinking the worst scenarios. But it’s not like that.
A few nights ago I was walking home and I looked around and realised how beautiful it is here and the evening was so warm and it was a beautiful sunset and while I was walking the trees looked so mysterious and I thought “how nice is that.” I am grateful for so many little things, you just need to know how to see them.
I think it’s important to be grateful and appreciate things. Everything will happen the way it should be and that makes me happy. And it’s calming for me to try to think in a positive way.