freemexy: Culture shock worth it when studying abroad

Culture shock worth it when studying abroad

29 Jul 2019 at 06:25pm
Culture shock worth it when studying abroad

Three years in Singapore were the best time of my life as I got to pursue a bachelor’s degree in one of the most conducive environments for academia and experience the uniquely diverse culture that Singapore has to offer.To get more culture shock news, you can visit shine news official website.

This year, four years after graduating from university, I turned 26.Studying abroad may be one of the biggest decisions a person ever makes and it’s easy to spend months or even years scouring websites, reading through prospectuses, and planning finances.

Since I was quite sure about Singapore, I spent 12th grade taking many classes to prepare for my A-level exam. To be honest, I didn’t score well on the exam and was not able to attend my desired university. However, those A-level classes mentally prepared me for the intensive course that I was about to take in Singapore.

A friend of mine, Diệu Mai, 24, whom I met in Singapore, agreed that the city-state has a distinctively dynamic and competitive study environment that overseas students should be aware of, so they can avoid becoming shocked or struggling too much after they arrive.Mai’s opinion was interesting, and it inspired me to think about overseas students, culture shock and academic pressure today.

“Since Singapore is close to Việt Nam and I had taken several trips there during my holidays before, I was familiar with its culture and wasn’t anxious at all,” Mai said.“But that was only culture-wise. I must admit that studying in Singapore could be tough because of the workload, high expectations from lecturers, and sometimes locals’ kiasu (roughly translated as ‘fear of losing out’), among other factors,” Mai added.

“Kiasu is a Hokkien (Chinese dialect) word that comes from kia, which means afraid, and su, which means to lose,” she explained.I knew about kiasu prior to studying in Singapore. It’s interesting that many Singaporean friends of mine admitted that Singaporeans tend to be kiasu, or very competitive and self-centred.

To be honest, I’m a competitive person. But I’ve never felt that I tried that hard compared to my local friends, and this at times bugged me. I remember feeling uncomfortable and isolated during the first few weeks of school.

That being said, kiasu is not necessarily negative if one can use it to his or her benefit.After living there for a while, I was less stressed out and learned to embrace kiasu as it made me more achievement-oriented. I came to adore the hard work my friends put into their projects and told myself to try harder.

I might have started my freshman year struggling, but I came out strong as I finished my degree.This is just one example about the benefit of doing research on the culture and study environment before making a final decision on where to study.There are other things that overseas students can do to avoid culture shock and academic pressure.

Quang Nam, 28, one of my friends who went to the UK for a master’s degree, told me that UK’s study environment was tough as well and that he was shocked for several months.“I chose the UK because I adore its culture and the country is well-known for its quality finance programmes,” he said.

“The UK is, of course, an English-speaking country, so it was necessary to be fluent in the language. However, since the accent is quite distinctive, I trained by listening to UK podcasts for about half a year before leaving,” he said, adding that it helped him quite a lot.

“As I arrived in the UK, I didn’t attend college immediately but took a pre-master’s course to get myself well prepared for the main course,” Nam said. “It took me nine months to complete the pre-master’s course, but it was worth it. Since pursuing a master’s degree in the UK takes one year of study, compared to two years in the US, getting ourselves 100 per cent together before ‘show time’ makes our lives so much easier!”

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