As many of you know, I spend around four years in Singapore as an international student. I studied Psychology at James Cook University Singapore from 2013 – 2018.
What makes international students different from local students in Singapore? What is the best experience as an international student? What are happy and sad moments as a student who studies abroad? I shared my challenges during my study in my previous blog, and you can see it here.
I can say that study abroad is not as easy as what people see. People might say that study abroad is always fun, it likes a holiday with studying. Also, a stereotype about international students are never studying, always go for the party and do many fun things. In fact, international students might find more challenges compare to local students. International students have more responsibility since we are not in our hometown. But, challenges will make you become a stronger and more independent.
I know, I can’t complain about the problem while I get a huge opportunity to study abroad. Let me ask you first. Do you think study abroad always gives good experience? Is study abroad easy? I’ll try to answer that based on my experience. I hope my experience will make you strong (if you are international students like me) and motivate you if you are planning to study abroad.
I started to study in Singapore as a foundation student at James Cook University (usually we need to apply to the foundation if you don’t have enough credit or requirement to apply to bachelor). On my campus, all international students required to have a minimum 95% of attendance to have a student pass and all students are required to have a minimum 75% of attendance to join the exam. Yes. In Singapore, attendance is a crucial thing for all students, especially for international students. If you have a low attendance, you will get “something” that you will not expect before.
People said to study in another country is waste more money. But, if you see from different perceptions, more money means you will get more than education from your experience in study abroad. FYI University life is not the same as school. University life is more complex but also more flexible. Yes, you can study as much as you want and whenever you want. But, the pressure and the standard are harder than what you have in school. Also, if you study abroad, university life become harder than you expected. Pressure can come from anywhere, not only the pressure about your grade but also the pressure from social life. Since you will be far away from your family, I suggest you have a balanced lifestyle between your study and your social life. So, have friends as much as possible but don’t forget have friends who able to have fun and study together! Cause, in fact, you also will learn new things from people around you and that can be more interesting than study textbook by yourself. And university life is about have fun and transform to be a better person.
Join An Organization
In my second semester, I got another unexpected opportunity to join an organization that handles Indonesian students in my university, called INDOJCUS. The organization helps Indonesian students to find new friends and adapt to the environment. Join an organization might hard for some people who can’t manage time. But, it is a good practice for you to learn things that you might not get in class. Join an organization made me know more Indonesian people at my university. It is a huge advantage for me. I don’t know a lot of Indonesian students before and it kinda sad for me. I always miss my friends back in Indonesia. After joining the organization, I learn from many Indonesian students and always have back-up every time I have problems. So, you can join any organizations at your university as long as you are willing to learn and manage your time.
In an organization, you will meet a lot of new people from many places from different backgrounds. The first thing that you will learn is to respect others. It can mold you become a better person and help you find your new interest to spend your time in university. I suggest that you use your time as good as possible in University. Learn everything from people and the environment around you, never stop observe something new and always be curious.
Study abroad has opened my eyes and open more options for me to perceive the world. I realised learning is a process that always appear every day as long as you are willing to do it. I also learn that the importance of improving myself to become better and unique to compete with other people.
As an international student, I really thankful to have many friends from different countries who help me understand more people and respect the diversity. If you have opportunity to learn in Singapore, I think you will be amazed with how the local people work and study. They really fast and really hardworking. It motivated me to study as much as them and increase my curiosity in my study. Well, in this era, I found that we need to be unique and smart in the same time to have more opportunity in the society. Therefore, never stop to learn from the environment around and try new things as much as you can.
For those of you who are planning to study abroad, just do it! Never stop dreaming, cause dream will motivate you to do more than you are expected.
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