An exchange student experience in a foreign country helps you learn about different countries and their cultures. I studied at the School of Business Administration of Nanyang Polytechnic (NP) in Singapore for the fall semester of 2018. The school provides four programs to support exchange students from other countries.
|▲ Hong Hye-jin (third from left) and her international friends
Programs for Exchange Students
The City Tour was the first program. It was a half-day city tour of famous places to visit in Singapore. The route included Little India, Chinatown, and Marina Bay Sands. During the tour, students get to know each other and talk freely. Also, we had the chance to look around well-known places and to understand the multi-cultural facts of Singapore.
The Campus Library Tour was a program to explore the NP library and see its facilities. There were computer labs, coffee shops, small meeting rooms, spaces to get some rest, printing rooms and quiet spaces to study alone. This tour helped me a lot when I tried to print some worksheets and tried to look for a room to study quietly.
Director’s Tea Time took place in November. All the exchange students gathered around to introduce themselves and to talk with the directors of the School of Business Administration and the directors in charge of international exchange students. It helped me match students’ names to their faces. There was a time to talk about any inconvenient things that exchange students encountered while using the school facilities and dormitory. We were provided with goodie bags with a school t-shirt, a pen, a pencil, and a water bottle. By receiving those items, I felt as if I were actually accepted as an exchange student at NP, because many local students wear school t-shirts but most exchange students did not have one.
The International Fair was the last event that exchange students had the opportunity to promote their home countries and home universities. It was aimed at getting local students to develop interest in new countries and to encourage them to be an exchange student in different countries. Aside from local students, I was able to know more about other exchange students’ various countries and universities.
Understanding and Overcoming Difficulties
Even though many programs helped exchange students adapt to the school, there were still difficulties. The problem was cooperation with local students on team projects. Because there was not enough description of the project work that we had to do and since English is not my first language, it was actually hard to deliver my opinion clearly. Also, I did not know the style of writing a report in English. I felt like I was not catching up with the rest of my team members.
But I solved the obstacle by asking questions to my team members. I kept asking questions such as what I needed to do, what my part was, and other things that I did not understand. The team members helped me a lot by answering those questions and telling me what to do. Every team project was not easy at first as I had to cooperate with my team members but in the end, I was able to communicate better than the first time. Besides, I participated in several programs, which helped me know about a new country and adapt to school life. There was a difficulty that I experienced but going through such problems made an improvement in how to cooperate with foreign students.
By Hong Hye-jin, Junior, Faculty of Business Administration