By Mark Byrne, Business, Economics and Social Studies (BESS) student, studying abroad in Singapore Management University.
Studying in Singapore has already surpassed my expectations. The humidity and thunder storms have too. The city is beautiful and safe. The greenery that decorates the metropolitan area can’t be justified in any filtered Instagram post. The Singaporeans are so friendly. Although I have only been here for a short period of time I have been made feel at home from the outset.
I have spent the past month studying in Singapore Management University (SMU). The university itself was only founded in 2000 but it already excels in a number of areas such as Management and Finance. I am taking some fascinating modules such as ‘Analysis of Derivative Securities’ and ‘Mergers & Acquisitions’. These challenging classes are interactive and small in size. This has been an enjoyable experience and in stark contrast to some Trinity 1St year modules packed with 400+ people. My lecturers are primarily Asian and they have some interesting views on global markets and current events. It has been refreshing to analyse problems from a different perspective.
One of the main reasons I chose Singapore was because I wanted to travel. I have. So far I have been to the maddest city in the world, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and a more relaxed city in Kuching, Malaysia. Both have been so enjoyable to experience their different cultures. I am also planning a trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia in the coming weeks. Flights are so cheap if you can get them at the right time and hostels are too. I am also staying on top of my studies.
Singapore is known as The Garden City, and not for no reason. With an area less than a third of my home county of Meath, and with a population of nearly six million, one million more than Ireland, crowded was the least I expected of this South East Asian city-state. I was wrong. As a country boy in Dublin, I often found myself missing some greenery, but not here in Singapore. Every street is lined with trees, and parks are abundant throughout the city. Even the highly developed business district, where skyscrapers rarely drop below fifty stories, is lush with greenery. Traffic congestion and its resulting fumes aren’t an issue here either as heavy taxation leads the price of a VW Golf to be a whopping S$120,000 (€75,000)! Such is the result of an incumbent, but democratically elected, interventionalist government party.
Boston College is situated in Chestnut Hill, just a couple of miles outside Boston city. This leafy suburban setting was an interesting change for me coming from Trinity. I pass the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, more commonly referred to as the ‘Res’ on my way to college. At just 8am in the morning, the pathway was already flooded with students eager to squeeze a work out into their morning routine. I quickly learned that very many BC students live up to stereotype that I had read prior to my arrival; health conscious, driven, well-rounded and involved in as many aspects of college life their schedule allows.
My preparation for a yearlong sabbatical to Hong Kong was pretty normal, except for the fact that it only dawned on me when walking down the aisle of the plane that I was leaving home for the first time in my life and decided to travel to the other side of the planet!
I’m on a full-year exchange here at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and so far it is has been a great experience. HKUST is very different to Trinity. One of the great things about this university is the campus itself. We are right on the side of a cliff overlooking the South China Sea which gives us great views. The facilities include everything you would want in a university with lots of dining options, both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, barbeque pits right beside the beach, sports pitches etc. I take classes in the Lee Shau Kee Business School which is only three years old and a great improvement to the Arts building in TCD. The only disadvantage about the university is that we have to take a mini bus and then an MTR train to get into the centre of Hong Kong, which gets difficult late at night and there can be long lines for buses at times. It is very different from Trinity where we are in the centre of everything, but given that the city is so overcrowded and busy it’s not such a bad thing.
By Sophie Donnelly [Georgetown University, Washington D.C.]
Almost three whole months into my year abroad in Georgetown and I finally feel like I’m getting into the swing of things here on the Hilltop! The endless slew of midterms and essays have finally died down before Thanksgiving this Thursday, but final exams in mid-December are looming on the horizon so – true to Georgetown form – the work never stops! Nonetheless, there have been plenty of opportunities in the last couple of weeks to get out and enjoy the absolutely beautiful weather and sights of autumn in DC.
When I first arrived to CUHK my first impression was – I will never be able to find my way around this campus! The best comparison would be that it is like UCD, except even bigger. The campus have their own shuttle busses which loops around all the accommodation buildings and the main campus area, where we have class, all the way down to the metro train station in the university.