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Meet Pirates in Singapore!

Spring Semester 2016
National University of Singapore

What have you gained from deciding to study abroad?

Traveling to other countries, especially those where English is not commonly spoken, always provides a healthy dose of humility. It reminded me of the childhood days when I used American Sign Language more than spoken language, feeling a deep sense of connection and appreciation with those who understood me but feeling like an outsider with non-ASL speakers. However, my most important lesson learned abroad is that letting go of plans and expectations brings about an unexpected sense of joy and contentment. While it is still smart to plan ahead, I have found that the best experiences stem from spontaneity and at times, discomfort – being absolutely tickled at the fish spa in Malaysia, eating a late-night dinner with locals in Thailand, getting the best massages in Cambodia, and attending a five-day life-changing “Art of Living” course on my campus in Singapore and (soon) an outdoors leadership camp at a rainforest resort in West Malaysia. My Type A personality would have probably resulted in me not doing any of the aforementioned things before my study abroad endeavors, but now I am so glad I did. Lastly, I am sure I have gained (more than) a few pounds as well; Southeast Asia is known for its food! ;) 

What is something you did not expect about your host country?

How much it has made me appreciate my culture and mothertongue! Tamil is one of the national languages here in Singapore, and while I consider myself a fluent speaker, I did not realize the value of my background and language skills until arriving. I felt at home as soon as I stepped off the plane, and even more so as I ate Indian food every other day on campus and conversed with other Tamil students. By far, digging deep into my roots by eating, meeting, and celebrating has been my most cherished experience in Singapore.

What other countries have you visited?

3 is my lucky number, so 3! I went to Malaysia over the Chinese New Year long weekend (Kuala Lumpur and Malacca/Melaka), Thailand over recess week/spring break (Bangkok and Chiang Mai), and Cambodia over the Good Friday long weekend (Siem Riep and Phnom Penh). Seeing the sunrise over the Angkor Wat temple at Siem Riep has been my favorite memory in another country, though I did not want to leave Thailand’s people, temples, or food!

Email Keerthana at with any questions regarding studying in Singapore.