From sea to SEA

By Nicole Kan, Foster Undergraduate who is participating in an exchange with the National University of Singapore. 

Singapore Nicole Kan 4Two months ago I hopped on a plane to begin five of the most formative months of my life. I sat gazing out the plane window, in awe of the simultaneous sunset and thunderstorm unfolding in the distance, still trying to comprehend the adventure that lay ahead.

Nothing would have prepared me for the whirlwind that was my first week in Singapore.  After some issues with baggage claim, a few bouts of food poisoning, several registration difficulties, and a handful of sleepless humid nights, I finally began to settle into life in Singapore. Despite the initial hiccups, I can confidently say this has been the best experience by far.

Although an introvert by nature, this experience has allowed me to stretch my comfort zones and immerse myself in a foreign culture. Within the first 48 hours, I befriended strangers from Mexico to Germany, Australia and back. I’ve Singapore Nicole Kan 3
since mastered Singapore’s local transit system, traveled to Jakarta to feed monkeys and whip through traffic on motorbikes, visited a fellow #globaldawg in Australia (shout out to Macey), and booked several upcoming trips, all while balancing an intensive Singaporean course-load. But most importantly, I’ve gained a newfound perspective of the world around me.

Singapore, a fairly young country known for its cleanliness and laws against chewing gum, also claims the title for “easiest place to do business” by the World Bank Group for 10 consecutive years. Undoubtedly an excellent country to study business abroad, Singapore has exposed me to the culture of business in Asia. For example, I’m taking a course on Asian markets and marketing management, and gaining insight from local students and foreigners alike. This global atmosphere also provides valuable context in regards to American business practices and the world economy. Learning from a multitude of diverse cultures, and understanding the influences of my own culture in both business and non-business settings has been extremely rewarding.

Studying in Singapore has also deepened my appreciation for the Foster School of Business. My exchange university, the National University of Singapore, is a world-renowned institution, embedded in a highly pressurized academic culture. Through my experiences working and building relationships with local students, I’ve felt the pressure of competing for the highest marks. However, I’ve also seen the increasing importance of balancing academics and recreational fun, a skill I developed in my time at Foster. I’ve grown more grateful for the dynamic environment of hard work and camaraderie bred by the Foster School of Business, an environment that values and encourages academic success and relational success equally. As an exchange student, it’s been a privilege to live in Singapore and share these revelations with a new culture that’s simultaneously molding my personal perspectives.
I’m already more than half way done with my semester here in Singapore, and I couldn’t be Singapore Nicole Kan 1happier with my decision to participate in Foster’s exchange program. This has been an incredible opportunity of growth and self-discovery. I eagerly await the new adventures to come in my last few months abroad, proudly representing the Huskies from Seattle to Southeast Asia and all the adventures in between.