Exam season is upon us here at the University of Queensland and while temperatures are rising even further, students are heading to the library to push through that final spurt of the semester (and to enjoy the luxury of an air-conditioned study space).
Before I headed into my final exams I took a week off university and flew out to Singapore to attend the Common Purpose 33Sixty leadership programme to “tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges today”. In case you don’t know: Common Purpose is an organisation that provides leadership programmes all over the world and the University of Glasgow too partners up with it to host events on our very own campus. At this stage I would also like to thank the Study Abroad Office for providing me with a scholarship that made attending the event at Nanyang Technological University possible!
As far as the programme goes: I’ve hardly done anything more interesting in my life. People from all over the Commonwealth (India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Hong Kong, Mauritius to name a few…) flew into Singapore to visit local businesses and see what kind of challenges they face.We were taken to places spread all over the island and really got a feel of the city that tourists otherwise don’t get. Then we grouped together to develop approaches and solutions towards these issues and presented them to a Singaporean MP.
The programme is pretty intense and you don’t get much sleep either (the locals showed us the best restaurants, clubs and karaoke bars til’ 2am most nights) but the experiences you have are absolutely incredible. Singapore is such a diverse city and you can experience so many different cultures within a couple of hours (Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Arab) – it’s kind of difficult to get your head round it the first couple of days.
So I really don’t think I could have had a better introduction to Asia. I met loads of interesting people, saw all of the cool areas of the city, was introduced to Singaporean nightlife by the locals and might even get some funding for the project developed by our group.
While this was all really exciting, it’s back to studying for me now. It’s been a long semester (by Glasgow Uni standards) and I can’t wait to experience my first summer in Australia. I’ve got quite a bit of travelling planned in the next months so this blog will turn into a bit of a travel diary for a while.
Until then, feel free to get in touch with me about anything – pretty sure the study abroad applications are now open!!