By Monika Kvassheim, National University of Singapore
As most other exchange students, if I could do it again, I would. I had a great year in Singapore and have been home for a while thinking about it. I wanted to write about the highlights of the year that I haven’t mentioned so far.
I had a family, sort of a host family, who invited me for dinners and get togethers once in a while, a highlight was the Chinese New Year dinner cooked by the grandma. Or when we made a promo video for one of the board games designed by my host’s husband.
Only a couple of weeks after arriving I took classes to get my diving license. The course finished in beautiful Tioman.
Although the music scene in Singapore doesn’t compare to Manchester’s, I had a great time at Laneway festival in January. Music matters was a free festival in September with local and international artists playing in different locations across the city.
When my friend Rebekka came to visit, we went to George Town in Penang and found a lot of street art.
After a visit home I left early Christmas Day to meet a friend in Sri Lanka. It’s a really nice place and we got to see a lot of it since Eirin had done an amazing job planning it. People there were so nice.
Before the start of second semester there was just enough time to meet some semester 1 friends in South Vietnam. We went to Mekong delta, hired motorbikes and started driving out of the city down roads we thought looked interesting. We drove through tiny villages on trails and started asking for a nearby hotel once it started getting dark.
Manchester friends came to visit during their easter break! In limited time we explored Singapore and I had a great time.
In second semester I went to visit the friend I made first semester in Korea. It was a really cool way to see the place, as I got to stay with her and her flatmate in Seoul. She showed me great food and interesting places in Seoul and some days I travelled to other cities on my own which I also enjoyed a lot.
After climbing the mountain in Nepal, Lakshmi and I went to India and visited her family. I was blown away by their kindness. First we stayed with her aunt and uncle in Goa and they took us around the place. Then we took a train to her parents in Kerala, where they did the same. I even got to come along for her friend’s wedding. It was a very special trip.
I had a fantastic year. I really hope other people going to Singapore will have the same impression of it as I do. It is a great place with great people.