Making the Decision to go on Exchange
When I was applying to attend Ryerson University, I didn’t feel like I was putting an application in for their Hospitality and Tourism Management program, I was signing myself up for years of compulsive travelling, which I could justify doing by writing it off in my head as “studying”. Still in this frame of mind 3 years in, I decided to take part in the school’s exchange program. To make things easier on students like myself, Ryerson has a ton of partner schools all over the world that you can attend for a normal semester’s tuition. They also help you get all of your formal paperwork in order and connect you with students who have gone on exchange in the past. You can check out more information about all of this here.
Even with all of this, I still had to decide for myself where I wanted to go. I ended up picking Singapore because I wanted something completely different from Toronto, but nowhere I’d end up encountering a huge language barrier. Singapore was also a hub city, with tons of additional travel destinations a hop, skip and a jump away. Finally, to top it all off, Nanyang Technological University, the school I attended, offered stupidly cheap living accommodations (about 200CAD/month). In short, Singapore was calling my name at an un-ignorable volume and before I knew it, I was on a plane sipping Singapore Slings bound for the little city-state.
From there, my life as an exchange student had triple helpings of “exchange” and only a half serving of “student”. I spent most of my time travelling around the rest of the city and Southeast Asia. The little time I spent on campus, I pretty much used for blogging about all the travelling I did. Check out the full list of my adventures:
Welcome to Singapore
My first couple weeks in the country, I was determined to do as much tourist-y stuff as I could. (The fact that it was my first time in the entire continent made it feel like I could justify the overdose of generic tourist activities.)
Tioman Island, Malaysia
My first trip within my exchange trip took me to the beaches of Malaysia, during a storm. The weather was rocky, but it rocked my world!
Settling Into Singapore
Finally getting used to life in Asia, all of the things that first felt like insane new experiences slowly become the new normal (with “normal” meaning “crazy series of events”).
Semester break from Nanyang Technological University = a trip to Bangkok and switching my uni courses for an Advanced Adventurer diving on with SSI in Koh Tao.
So Much More Than a Weekend in Sumatra
Less than a week after Thailand, I was back in a plane bound this time for Indonesia. Ready to get off the beaten path, I visited waterfalls, traditional villages and climbed volcanoes before sunrise. Plus, trading humidity for mountains felt amazing!
Singapore Museums and Tigers
Goofing around at a Lego art exhibit, national museum an a brewery.
Vietnam and Cambodia
I knew the Angkor Temples were someplace I couldn’t miss while in Southeast Asia, and while they were the main motivation for the trip, it ended up being so much more than just that!
The Different Sides of Singapore
The city-state may be small, but it still has a ton of different layers. Even after living there for a few months, I didn’t feel like I could say I’d really seen Singapore until I’d seen everything it had to offer.
Quick Trip to Japan
It may only have lasted a couple hours, but I did everything I could to make stretch those hours as much as I could in Narita.
Putting It All Together
Just some of the things I learned about life (and Tuk-Tuks)