SBE Exchange Stories • part 3 • Study Association Aureus

SBE Exchange Stories • part 3

- Aureus

SBE Exchange Stories, the last ride! We asked two students yet again to answer our exchange questions. Read on to find out more about what it’s like to study in a big and busy metropole like Bangkok or Singapore. Let’s go to Asia!

To kick off our last exchange blog of this series we talked to Tijn Simonis, an EBE student who went to Bangkok!

Where did you go and why did you choose this country/university?

For my exchange period I went to Bangkok. I studied here at Chulalongkorn University. To be honest the main reason to choose for Bangkok was that there are plenty of opportunities to travel around in Southeast Asia. Bangkok is located in the middle of Southeast Asia and is seen as a place where a lot of backpackers start their travel adventure. I spoke to some former exchange students and they told me that the city is amazing and that the academic level at Chulalongkorn University was okay but not that hard. This gives you the opportunity to make a lot of trips next to your study. Also the nice weather in Thailand was for me an important factor. Living for 5/6 months in a country where the temperature is always between 26 and 32 degrees, what else do you want?

How did you prepare for your exchange?

Before my exchange, I spoke to some former exchange students and did some research on the internet about Bangkok and Chulalongkorn University. It was my first time in Asia so off course I wanted to know something about life in Asia in advance, but I also knew that there were many more exchange students who were in the same situation and that you will figure out everything there with each other. After 2 weeks you are used to everything and it really feels like home.

What was the campus of your university like? Did it have good facilities?

The campus of the University was really big. It is located very central in Bangkok so the location was perfect. You can’t compare it to the campus of the VU. There are studying over 38.000 students and there are Chulalongkorn busses to drive you from one side to the other side of the campus. There are plenty of good facilities like a gym, swimming pool, library etc.

What courses did you take at the university? Did you learn a lot from these?

The courses I followed at the University were Production/Operations Management, Principles of International Business Management, Consumer Behavior and Man & Environment. I had to follow only 4 courses because I already followed 1 course for my minor at the VU. The first 3 courses were really good courses and I think that I learned a lot from them. The Man & Environment course was not really what I expected from it. It was a real science course and had nothing to do with business or economics. In the end I passed all my courses and had a nice time at University!

Was the exchange overall what you expected it to be? Or even better?

For me the exchange was even better than what I expected from it. We lived together with around 150 international students in Nonsi Residence and this made the exchange period amazing. I made a lot of new friends from all over the world and traveled a lot with them. After the semester we met with a big group of us in Bali and celebrated Christmas there together, amazing! It was also really impressive to live in a big, chaotic city like Bangkok. You are never bored and there are plenty of things to do. You can live like a king in Asia for the same amount of money you spend in Amsterdam. I really loved it. I can really recommend Bangkok as your exchange destination!

What is one of the nicest things you’ve done there?

I visited a lot of places in Thailand. Mostly islands with beautiful beaches and amazing parties, but also some cultural cities like Chiang Mai. But for me one of the nicest things I have done in my exchange period is the trip I made to Vietnam. After the midterms, I traveled with some people for almost 2 weeks in Northern Vietnam. We started in Hanoi. Later we stayed a couple of days in a homestay in Sapa and saw how the local people lived there in the mountains. It was like we lived 30 years ago. This was a really nice experience. After this, we made a motorbike tour through the mountains with amazing views and we have been to Cat Ba island and Ninh Binh.

Did you have any bad experiences?

Luckily I don’t really have bad experiences but be always on guard for scams in the Southeast of Asia. I think this is way different from how we live In the Netherlands. It happens really easy while you are not aware of this. But I never felt unsafe or something and Bangkok was really pretty to live in!

Are you planning to ever go back there?

Definitely. I am really looking forward to visiting Bangkok again in the future. Also, Thailand is a beautiful country and there are enough places I still want to see. I did a lot but 5 months studying in Thailand is definitely not enough to see everything.

Describe your exchange in one word

Amazing!

 

And last but not least is Floor van den Driesschen, an IBA student who went to Singapore!

Where did you go and why did you choose this country/university?

I went on exchange to Singapore and studied at Singapore Management University (SMU). There were a few reasons why I wanted to go to Singapore and study at SMU. First of all, my main aim of the semester was to travel a lot. Singapore is centrally located in Southeast Asia, and therefore a perfect basis to travel from. Second, I wanted to live in an Asian metropole, but still have all Western facilities. Third, I wanted to go to SMU specifically, as it is centrally located in Singapore and does not offer campus spots. I really wanted to live the true Singapore lifestyle rather than live on a student campus.

How did you prepare for your exchange?

In my first year of my studies, I did not know yet where I wanted to go on exchange. However, I knew I wanted the opportunity to pick any place. Therefore, I made sure to build a nice resume, participate in the ESN-VU buddy program and obtain high grades. In this way, I had a high scorecard and could decide myself where I would go to. Once I knew I was accepted at SMU, I immediately started to arrange an apartment and search for roommates.

What was the campus of your university like? Did it have good facilities?

SMU does not have a campus. The university is centrally located in Singapore, and the people studying there are also more ‘city type of people’. The University is relatively young, and therefore looks very trendy and has all modern facilities you need.

What courses did you take at the university? Did you learn a lot from these?

My main aim was to travel a lot. So to be honest, my main concern was to have an ideal schedule. In the end, I only had classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which allowed me to travel a lot. The courses that I followed were: Public Relations Strategy, Advertising, Social Media Strategies, and International Macroeconomics. The communication courses were certainly not the most difficult ones. However, many professionals were invited to talk about their careers, so you really got an understanding of what it is like to work in those fields.

Was the exchange overall what you expected it to be? Or even better?

It was everything I wished for, and even more! I wanted to live the Singaporean city life, travel a lot, and make as many local as well as exchange friends as possible. And I most certainly succeeded at that.

What is one of the nicest things you’ve done there?

Traveling to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Bali, and seeing the most magical places! However, if I have to name an event in Singapore it was definitely the Formula 1 race, which completely turned the city upside down for a weekend. Me and my friends bought tickets for the qualifications and concerts on Saturday, during the concert of the Chainsmokers, a lady approached us if we wanted to go to the after party at Ce La Vi (the club of Marina Bay Sands hotel) for free. Of course we said yes, and right after the concert we went home to dress up and head to the club. There, we met really nice people who invited us to an epic party on Sunday at this hotel with the best view over the whole race track. It was my first time watching the Formula 1 race, and I don’t think there was any better way to do it. It was an amazing experience, and I could literally throw something on the track from above if I wanted too haha!

Did you have any bad experiences?

Unfortunately, after being in Singapore for one week I got really sick. I had really strange symptoms and did not know what it was. Eventually, I was diagnosed with Dengue, a tropical disease transmitted through a mosquito. Due to this, I missed my first month of university, had to drop a course, and had some complications for a longer period of time. So, my advice to everyone going to tropical destinations: put on mosquito repellent all day, every day!

Are you planning to ever go back there?

Yes, definitely! If during my career I get offered to work in Singapore as an expat for several years, I would most certainly say yes! Furthermore, I plan on whenever I go to Southeast Asia to have a layover of a few days in Singapore. It really feels like my second home now haha.

Describe your exchange in one word

Rollercoaaaaaaaaaaster!

This was the last blog of our SBE Exchange Stories series. Do you want to read more exchange stories or do you have an amazing story to tell yourself? Contact our Blog Team on blog@aureus.nl or read all the other exchange stories here.