In a world becoming increasingly interdependent, the educational value to students in spending some years living and learning in another country is no longer of any doubt. The competence and understanding students gain through such an experience is crucial to both national interests, as well as to the interests of students themselves.

For me, education is most effective when individuals realise the fullest of their innate potential and resources to cope with the demands of the external environment and to serve the community at large.

Of course the most distinct difference between local and overseas universities is the fee. A local education will cost an average S$7,000 a year and an overseas one between S$40,000 – S$80,000 (including accommodation). If money’s not the issue, then I believe an overseas education can equip you with a training that is unparalleled. Besides scholarships are readily available if you did not fare badly in the ‘A’ levels. And more and more companies are offering overseas scholaraships.

The other major factor of staying put in Singapore to study is that your support system remains intact. Judging by the patterns of most local students, the norm is staying with parents and maintaining friendship with familiar peers. Overseas students may not enjoy this, especially in the initial part of the new semester, in their new environment, they have to grapple with unfamiliar faces, different methods of teaching, and strange accents…. However, it is this unfamiliarity and newness that can be a blessing in disguise.

 

Self-Realisation

The new environment, away from the comfort zone of home, will allow you to explore and be confident with the unique individual that is you. You will probably be asking questions you’ve never asked before. What are your limits? How can you overcome the obstacles? How far can you stretch yourself? How independent are you? Studying abroad allows you to find out who you are and what you believe in. It deepens intellectual and personal maturity, fosters independent thinking, and builds self-confidence. 
 
 
Identify Your Impact

Studying abroad will give you the opportunity to reflect on your life as a Singaporean and earn new respect for all that your country represents. You will better understand the strength and weaknesses of our way of life and probably find better ideas to solving problems and doing business. There are new interests to be found. There are many ways to view the world, and studying abroad is sure to be an eye-opener for you! 

 

Friends From Around The World

Getting to know your new classmates, roomies and temporary family (if you opt for a ‘homestay’) will give you a unique perspective on the host culture. Discover the differences and, more importantly, the many similarities between your worlds. The friendships you make will last long after the programme.

 

Strengthen Your Social Skills

 Not only will you gain confidence and independence, but you will also improve your communication skills. Constant interaction with people from another culture will teach you a lot about how you communicate, verbally and non-verbally. You will definitely see an improvement in your day-to-day interaction with family, peers and co-workers. 

 

Learning A Language

If you opt to study in a non-English speaking country you will be forced to master another language. Taking foreign language lessons just does not compare to hearing natives speak the language to you everyday. Immersing yourself in the language and the culture will improve your foreign communication abilities like nothing else can.

 

Learning New Skills

 Most friends I know who have studied abroad learned to cook while abroad. One scholar wrote in this magazine that he has learnt more ways to cook a chicken while studying at the Cornell University than you can find in a good restaurant.

Most foreign students reside in shared apartments where chores are equally divided. The distribution of responsibilities enable them to build skills which will enhance their later years. Staying on their own becomes a training ground for developing assets such as time management, budget planning and teamwork.

 

Increase Cultural Awareness

Study abroad and you’ll actually be walking the pages of history, not just reading about it in a textbook. While studying abroad, you can experience first-hand all of the things you are learning about in the classroom. See the world’s greatest architecture and monuments… try new food… enjoy a different climate… hear foreign accents.

 

Enhance Career Preparation

Studying abroad will open more career doors upon your graduation. As Singapore becomes increasing dependent on the globalisation of its economy, students who have studied and worked abroad are becoming more demanded. Being proficient in a second or third language will also make your resume stand out in job competition.

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