Guest Post By: Benjamin Nguyen, a Senior studying Entrepreneurship. He is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and he studied abroad through Foster Exchange at the National University of Singapore in Queenstown, Singapore, during Autumn Semester 2023.
Saying goodbye isn’t talked about much. When you first arrive in a foreign country, it’s really easy to make friends. There are plenty of people in the same boat as you; in an unfamiliar place. Over time you form strong bonds with these people, you do things with them that you’ve never done before, like visiting other countries and suffering through hot days while hiking through temples. But what happens at the end of the semester? Nobody prepared me to say goodbye to the friends that I made by pulling all-nighters to finish our business proposals with, the friends I’ve made who can talk to me all day about famous architecture, or the friends I made who go get food with me at 1am.
In this country I’ve made friends with people from diverse backgrounds that I could have never even dreamt of. There are students who work all morning on their own international business and go to classes at night, there are students who have studied abroad in lots of countries their whole life, and there are students who study abroad in Singapore from another university in Singapore.
In Singapore I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people that are like-minded but come from different backgrounds. This has been a huge step forward for me in my future goals. Yet, in the end it still feels bittersweet. I’ve met these people who I spent months with and now I’m about to head home to America. Life continues but it’s hard to think that all those hours I spent laughing at 4am listening to my peers’ pitch product ideas might never happen again.
For other students who are going to study abroad in NUS, I’m excited for you. You’ll meet people and think randomly all the time how crazy it is that you’re studying abroad and meeting people from countries you probably can’t even pinpoint on a map. I urge you to spend your time with your friends wisely because at the end of the semester, you’ll start finding saying goodbye isn’t as easy as you wish it would be.