Business Exchange Program

Around Southeast Asia I Went!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Written by Clarissa Suharli, Foster undergraduate

Although it is small, Singapore is a major hub to so many other cities in Southeast Asia. And to complete the exchange experience, I went to several other cities during school breaks, so many of which left me a lasting impression of amazement and gratitude.

From Singapore, I went to…

1. Siem Reap, Cambodia
I never thought that I would ever come to this city before, and coming there was one of the best travel decision I ever made. Although it’s famous for the Angkor Wat temple, everything here is amazing – the food, the people, the temples, even to the things sold at the souvenir shops. I felt so lucky to see the sunrise from Angkor Wat – if there’s a chance, please, please, please go there to witness the beauty. The picture won’t do the justice.
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2. Bangkok, Thailand
Every exchange student I know went to Bangkok at least once over their exchange period, and that says a lot. There are amazing architectures, tons of opportunities to shop, and scrumptious food, everything for cheap. There’s no reason not to go here.

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3.Krabi, Thailand
I went to Krabi hoping to go to the Phi Phi Islands from there, and boy, they have the most beautiful beaches with crystal clear water. And because it’s still in Thailand, they also have the yummiest food. Must go.

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4. Malacca, Malaysia
A small, charming city just 3 hours away from Singapore, Malacca is nice for a day trip – it offers a lot of food and shopping options, and most tourist attractions are within walking distance from one another. A nice break from the hustle and bustle of Singapore.

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5.Jakarta, Indonesia
This might be a bit subjective since it’s my hometown, but there’s always something to do at Jakarta. I flew home to go to a huge annual jazz festival in which I was lucky to see my favorite local musicians, along with Christina Perri (who coincidentally was on her Asia tour) play live. Before going back to Singapore, I also made sure to eat my favorite Indonesian foods: bakmie ayam noodles and podeng ice. Yum!

People say that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer, and I wholeheartedly agree. I closed this chapter of my life being a lot richer in experiences, and a gazillion times more grateful to be able to experience everything in this short, but sweet and rewarding semester.

 

The Last Hoorah

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Written by Amy Shin, Foster undergraduate

With just under three weeks left in the land down under, a couple of crazy kids decided to venture even further south to Melbourne and drive the Great Ocean Road. Our adventures would be jammed packed with no time to waste in the four days we would spend together.

 

Our flight was set for 7:30am because we are cheap college students trying to save every last buck. Even though we were all a little groggy and a lot hungry when we arrived in Melbourne, we did not let that stop us from taking a bit longer to walk around and find the best brunch spot possible. And boy, did this place not let us down. (Check out the Hardware Societe if you are ever in Melbourne)

 

After our stomachs were satisfied, we hopped on a tram to explore more of the city. We visited the celebrated landmark Hosier Lane, which is home to urban street and graffiti art. Afterwards, we opted to travel on sets of wheels and rented bikes from Melbourne’s bike share system and rode alongside the Yarra River to a playground, which we of course played in. At night we walked to the famous Queen Victoria Market, which was packed with amazing street food, shopping booths, and music.

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Now for the road trip. Were we hesitant to put our lives in the hands of someone who had never driven on the left side of the road before? Yes. Was that going to stop us? No. We packed our rental car with our luggage and set off on the open road while jamming to our dear friend, Spotify. Our goal was to make it to the Twelve Apostles by sunset and along the way we stopped at some amazing beaches along the Australian coastline. We made it to the Twelve Apostles just in time and for an amazing view. It was so breathtaking that we went back the next morning to see it in a different light. Though our trip may have been a short one, the five of us had plenty of laughs and incredible sights to last us for the rest of our time in Australia.

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Reflection

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Written by Kimberly Matsudaira, Foster undergraduate

Studying abroad in Milan at Bocconi University was one of the best moments in my life. A cliché thing to say, I know, but honestly there’s no other way to describe my 5 month experience in Italy.

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I made life-long friendships, had incredible experiences (even the not so good ones I’ll look back fondly on) and learned so much about the world and myself. I discovered my strengths and weaknesses throughout my travels and learned ways to improve myself.

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Cinque Terre, Italy

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Prague, Czech Republic

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Malta
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Budapest, Hungary

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United Nations at Geneva, Switzerland

Ultimately, studying abroad was so rewarding and enriching. My final advice: don’t ever have doubts about studying abroad. JUST DO IT! Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Daily Life, Singapore Style.

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Written by Clarissa Suharli, Foster undergraduate

Being one of the most liveable countries in the world, I’ve always wanted to stay in Singapore for longer than just a few days. However, being just a tiny island country in Southeast Asia, one reservation I had prior to choosing this place is that I’ll run out of fun things to do. I mean, it takes less than two hours to get from one end of Singapore to the other. But this place proved me wrong. Not only did it become a loving home, but were always interesting things to experience. Here are my top five.

In Singapore, I…

1. Went clubbing on top of Marina Bay Sands, the most iconic building in Singapore…
Look at the view. Enough said.

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2. Went to the Universal Studios whenever I was bored…
Sentosa Island, a small island just south of Singapore, has a reputation of being Asia’s favorite playground. It hosts Universal Studios Singapore, a similar theme park to the one in California. Thankfully, it’s only half an hour away from campus so whenever I’m bored with studying, it’s nice to know that taking a break just to ride some attractions is doable.

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3. Drowned myself in food…
And the best way to do it, of course, is by appreciating all the amazing food Singapore is blessed with. From the national dishes, such as chicken rice and chili crab, to Peranakan cuisine like laksa, to yummy Indian butter chicken to yummy waffle brunch to burrito bowls similar to Chipotle, Singapore is a food heaven.

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4. Never felt unappreciative of amazing architectures…
Design-wise, this art school is my favorite building in the world. And it’s located in Singapore.

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5. Picked up some Singlish, the unofficial language of Singapore.
With vocabularies consisting of words originating from 6 other languages, learning Singlish and picking up some foreign words in the process is a fun everyday challenge.

“I’ll never regret my choice of going to Singapore – it’s truly an awesome place to spend your semester in.”

Apt 3, 11-21 Rose Street

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Written by Amy Shin, Foster undergraduate

New country, new school, new everything. Of all the new things that were undeniably about to enter my life, I was most anxious about was the people I was going to live with, my roommates. I went in trying not to have too high of expectations and telling myself that if we didn’t get along, I could always hang out with different people. But who was I kidding, I knew that these humans were the ones I would wake up with, go to sleep with, and basically see more than anyone else. With all of this in mind I moved into my apartment.

 

For being strangers, we were actually not awkward at all and I seriously thanked the heavens that I could at least converse with these people. Within the next few days we learned more about one another and explored Sydney together as roommates. At this point we were all fairly comfortable around each other, but still missing the close friendships back home.

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*Beginning: notice the awkward space between

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Me, Madison, and Ant(oinette)

I could not tell you at what point that the switch flipped from being just people that cordially lived together to people who are now depressed beyond words to be apart. It could have been that we were literally living in a confined space for five months and named ourselves “Club Diversity”. Maybe it was our weekly dinner outings and love for MasterChef Australia. I could even blame it on the alcohol. No matter what the reason was, we had an infinite amount of inside jokes and endless group messages by the end of the semester.

 

I was lucky enough to find people that I could be my completely weird self around, people who I now don’t think I could have survived Sydney without. I know that this is the most cliché and cheesy thing to happen after studying abroad, but I am beyond happy that it happened to me and wish it upon anyone abroad.

College Life, Singapore Style.

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Written by Clarissa Suharli, Foster undergraduate

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Have you ever achieved/seen/tried/tasted/been exposed to so many new things in such a short amount of time? Well, I did during the four wonderful months I was in Singapore for exchange. Granted, this is not my first time living abroad far away from home, but life hasn’t been this rewarding for me before. It’s difficult to sum up everything into just a few blog posts, so I figured that I’ll make short lists about my experiences. In this post, I’ll talk a bit about my school, the National University of Singapore.

Here goes. At NUS, I…

  1. Met the smartest, most dedicated, and super passionate bunch of people: my classmates and professors.
    Being ranked no 1 in Asia, classes are filled with the smartest and brightest. Makes it really hard to be on top of the curve, but the quality of education is top notch.
  2. Lived one building away from an ice cream parlor, a really nice infinity pool, and a 24/7 computer lab and study space.
    Let me introduce you to University Town in the National University of Singapore, also known as the best place to live for college students.Singapore_2
  3. Had access to tons of activities that cater to all sorts of interests…Like going on a midnight biking trip to grab supper, dragon boating in the Singapore River, seeing a poetry reading by Jane Hirshfield (who came all the way from the States, no less), staying up late to discuss beauty from the philosophical point of view, exercising to bollywood zumba, to learning how to sail, these are just a few activities among all that’s offered to students.Singapore_3
  4. Tried archery for the first time
    Singaporeans are keen on exercising and keeping themselves fit, and thankfully there are a lot of options on campus. Now I can proudly say that I can assemble a bow and shoot arrows, like Katniss Everdeen :)
  5. Took an elective class on social media
    NUS is the best in offering fun elective classes – another friend of mine took a class about Popular Culture in Southeast Asia, while another took one about Food in Japan. I mean, I love studying in general, but this is just FUN.

In short, NUS is a wonderful choice to consider for your exchange semester. Not only the school, but Singapore as a city is also a great place to live in. But more on that later!

I’m Actually in Australia

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Written by Amy Shin, Foster undergraduate 

I really had no idea what Sydney would be like. I might have imagined kangaroos to be hopping around the streets, a scene out of Mary-Kate and Ashley’s 2000 film “Our Lips are Sealed” (kudos to you if you get that reference), or the ultimate dream: extremely attractive Australian men around every corner.

 

As I left the airport in a taxi to my new home for the next five months, I couldn’t help but look out the window the entire time and take in the new scenery. My apartment for the next five months was located in the quaint suburb of Chippendale, which I soon discovered was an ideal location close to school, Central train station, and the supermarket. Though I didn’t know my roommates beforehand, I could already tell by our excited exchanges of “hey!” that we were off to a good start.

 

A few days later was our exchange student orientation, which happened to be on what I believe was one of the hottest days in Sydney. As my roommates and I sat in the University’s Great Hall, our makeup melting off our faces, it hit me that February in this country meant the middle of summer and that I really was in the southern hemisphere of the world.

 

After being in Sydney for over four days and I still had not seen the infamous Sydney Opera House. With this in mind, my roommates and I decided to finally make our way downtown to Circular Quay. We clearly looked like tourists trying to navigate the bus system and constantly checking Google maps to make sure we weren’t lost, but after a short struggle later, we could see the water in the Sydney Cove.

 

The Sydney Harbour Bridge was right in front, standing proud in the harbor and as we walked a little bit more towards Bennelong Point, we could see glimpses of the Opera House glistening under the bright Australian sun. It was truly an epic moment as I got closer and closer and took in the sight of what I had only seen through pictures before. I went in not expecting much, it is just a building after all, but trust me, it’s so much more than that.

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At the end of the week, it was about time that I saw some classic Australian animals. The roomies and I took a train to Featherdale Wildlife Park where we could touch koalas and feed kangaroos and wallabies. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more like a five year old since I was actually five years old. I was on a natural high of pure joy from witnessing these creatures with my own eyes and you don’t have to ask, I have all the pictures in the world to reminisce with. And that was officially the beginning of my adventure in Oz.

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Time Flies at WHU

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Written by Davis Brown, Foster school undergraduate

 

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It’s almost been two months since I left the University of Washington and arrived in Germany at WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management for my study abroad exchange. Time has truly flown by. In the past 7 weeks I have met some amazing exchange students from all around the world, traveled to 4 different countries, and gained an international perspective through my business classes. WHU is very different from UW in many ways, but I think that is what makes it a great university (I still love UW). WHU is a private university with around 1,000 students located in a small town near Frankfurt. It is strictly a business focused university funded by companies throughout the region. These attributes are what made WHU appealing to me. After going to such a large university for 3 years, it has been a very nice change of pace to attend a smaller private university. Walking around campus everyday you run into familiar faces and the small population of the school gives exchange students a real opportunity to get to know people inside and outside of the classroom. The school does an amazing job of integrating exchange students with the rest of the student body, which makes being at another university much easier. From day one, school faculty and student leaders focus on getting exchange students involved, whether that be in clubs, exchange tours, school government, or extracurricular activities. Below are some pictures of the university and my travels so far. Cities include Paris, Barcelona, Brussels, and Cologne. Cannot wait for the next half of my exchange. So much to look forward to.

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What I’ve Learned After 1 Week in Singapore

Friday, February 21st, 2014

written by Jeremy Santos, Foster school undergraduate student

#1) I can drink, but I can’t watch “The Hangover.” Crazy, right?! Some friends and I planned to go to the movie theater today to see “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Back in the US, this movie is rated R, so anyone at least 17 years old can buy a ticket. But here, viewers have to be at least 21! Movie restrictions vary (some to 16, some to 18), so it was interesting to see that TWofWS is currently the only movie with this restriction. I’m speculating that the record number of swear words, along with a few controversial scenes, had something to do with it.

We just ate food instead.

We just ate food instead.

#2) I need a map. The spring semester began this week, and it has felt like freshman year all over again. There are people rushing in every direction; then there’s me, wandering around trying to find the stairwell. I’ve known that I have no idea where my classes are, but I just figured that I’ll eventually find the right classroom! Luckily, I’ve found fellow lost exchange students and helpful locals, so this week has still been fun. I’ll definitely find my own way around campus next week. I have an app on my always-on-airplane-mode smartphone (i.e. essentially a wifi device) that gives directions around the NUS campus, so I should probably start using it!

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#3) Class dynamics at NUS aren’t much different from UW. As I prepared for my 5-month study abroad experience, I heard that class dynamics in Asia as a whole are much different from in the US. I can’t speak for other countries, but courses at NUS could easily be mistaken for courses back home. In class, especially in smaller sections and tutorials (aka quiz sections), students are encouraged to ask questions and engage in class discussions. Grade breakdowns usually consist of multiple exams, projects, and class participation. And classrooms themselves are set up colosseum-style, with curved desks forming a half-circle facing the front of the room. With all of this in mind, it sounds like I’m back at Paccar Hall at UW. It also doesn’t help that courses here focus on American financial markets and Wal-Mart, just like at home.

On the other hand, the diverse student population creates a truly unique learning environment. I’ve met people from all over the world, along with students born and raised in the small but dense melting pot called Singapore. In my short time here, I’ve learned the Singlish word “kiasu,” which refers to the fear of missing out. This fear is a major aspect of Singaporean culture, and it can be seen everyday. People queue up to try popular foods (myself included), and in an academic context, students generally don’t want to miss out on class readings. Many courses require readings obtained from the library, which may have only a few copies. Because of the fear of missing out on testable readings, I saw students rush to the library to start studying on the very first day of the semester. While others begin poring through textbooks, I’m still trying to figure out where the bookstore is! Despite the competitive environment here at NUS, I’m not too worried about my classes. Most students are taking classes only in their major, but I’m also taking two non-business modules that don’t seem too difficult. I’m here to have fun, make friends, eat good food, and avoid any dips in my GPA!

Guten Tag from Germany – The International Winter Academy

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Written by Kat Li, Foster School undergraduate student

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Since the course schedule of the University of Mannheim is not really in sync with that of UW’s, I had the opportunity to arrive a month beforehand and participate in the University’s International Winter Academy. It’s basically an intensive German language course (4 hours per day, 5 days a week!) lasting the entire month of January. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take it at first (instead of traveling around Europe for a month), but it turned out to be a great decision.

Because of the sheer amount of hours spent each day in class, my German improved dramatically. I went from only being about to understand really basic phrases to being able to understand, speak and read significantly better. In addition to the classes in the morning/afternoon, there were optional seminars we could attend in the evenings. Their topics ranged from grammar and phonetics to German history and literature.

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And no, it wasn’t all work! There were excursions 2-3 times a week to neighboring cities and attractions within Mannheim. One memorable trip I went on was to Heidelberg, an old city completely un-destroyed during WWII. We took a tour of the ruins of the castle there, which was destroyed by the French in the 17th century. Inside was the largest wine barrel I’ve ever seen, with a capacity of around 220,000 liters!

Finally, because only about 80 international students attended the Winter Academy, we became a pretty close group. We were able to become good friends before the huge group of about 600 international students arrived in February. Participating in the Winter Academy was wunderbar and now I’m looking forward to starting the semester!

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