Life of a NUS Business (Acc) Student: AY 16/17 Semester 1 (Exchange)

Old Town @ Tallinn

It felt weird if I skipped a semester of module reviews even though I was on exchange. Thus, I decided to do a review anyways despite this being over 6 months overdue. I know it’s hard to relate unless you (the reader) are going to the exact same university, so I’ll keep the module reviews short and allocate more words on some tips in terms of studying and module planning for exchange.

For my SEP, I spent my Year 3 Semester 1 in Stockholm University (SU) in Sweden for this semester. It was my last choice so amidst the competitive semester I was grateful to just be able to get a slot. The 2 core modules I really wanted to map overseas were BSP3001 & MNO2007, so I only applied to schools which offered both the above modules. The semester in SU is split into 4 periods and how it works is that you will complete 1 module every month, instead of studying for all your modules continuously back in NUS. It definitely felt weird as it’s just 1 month of intensive studying for 1 module, and it was interesting nonetheless to experience a different education system in another continent.

P.S. For SU the grading system is as follows: A = 90 & above, B = 80-89, C = 70-79, D = 60-69, E = 50-59; and you need an E to pass. 

Fundamentals of Strategic Management

Mapped to: BSP3001 Strategic Management

This module is THE module to map if you are going for exchange. All the NUS Business peeps did this module together so I had the luxury of going the group project with my schoolmates. Did a case study on IKEA, group project on BMW and ended with a final test of 30 MCQs. Our group skipped the tutorials that we were not presenting to go travelling HAHA (yes this is the essence of exchange). Prof liked NUS students for some reason so did well in the CA components,  so I came into the finals slightly overconfident because I knew of the fact that I only needed to pass. Finished the paper within 20 minutes and left the venue to prepare for my first solo trip.

Final Grade: D

Fashion Marketing

Mapped to: MKT3422X Topics in Marketing.

Took this module with E, even though the ideal module for me to take during Period 2 is Corporate Finance (FIN3101), but dumb me didn’t do his module planning in a smart fashion. (this shows the importance of module planning kids HAHA) I could have taken a level 4000 finance module but it had a lot of pre-requisites so I decided to make life simple and take a marketing module instead.

I always found marketing to be a fun topic, so I was okay with taking this module because it gave me a chance to have a taste of how marketing is like without needing to worry about the end result. The module turned out to be slightly disappointing as I felt like it didn’t really value add to what I already knew about marketing. My group did an analysis of Adidas Originals for our project, which was really done in a half-fuck way. Finals were really simple because 50% of the paper was a copy and paste from last semester’s paper.

Final Grade: A (maybe I should change course and go to specialize marketing? lmao what a joke hahaha)

Business Ethics

Mapped to: MNO2007 Leadership & Ethics

A module I did alone I was assigned to this module several times and had to keep requesting to drop the module. I have friends who did well in this module back in NUS but given how bad I did for MNO1001 and it’s another 30% class participation module, it was a module I really really wanted to map overseas. This is one of the modules that isn’t commonly offered as compared to other modules (Among universities in Korea, only KU offered it).

Got grouped with a Swed, a French and a HK girl for this module, and it was only me who studied English as their main language. I had to go through a lot of pain to edit our paper because there were several grammatical and phrasing mistakes. The most memorable part of the module is how I trekked through a freaking snowstorm just to give a presentation, only to see half of my group missing when I arrived LOL. (yes fellow exchangers also not caring about school haha) 

The finals were something I was scared of failing because it was purely based on the textbook. I didn’t even buy the textbook, which cost $100 and I’m not going to spend that amount of money on studies for exchange please HAHA. Okay the real reason I was scared was because the re-test was in the middle of my travelling plans so I really had to pass it, which I did thankfully. In the end, it’s a relief that I managed to finally clear this module.

Final Grade: B

Finance II

Mapped to: FIN3102 Investment Analysis & Portfolio Management

Mostly calculations and to be honest, I felt it was easier than FIN2004 I took 1 year ago. The module was a whole was super straightforward and there was nothing complicated with the formulas learnt. There was online quizzes and a short paper which was done in pair work for continual assessment. Tutorials and past year papers are more than enough for revision of the final examination.

The final examination was 4 hours long so it’s opposite of what I usually face back in NUS: I have way more than enough time to finish my paper here. The joke of this module was how I pointed out an error in the question, and I was told that there was nothing wrong with the question. After 15 minutes, the professor announced the exact same error… yeahhhhh seriously? *insert bitch please emoji*. Yays to clearing a finance module here in Sweden!

Final Grade: A

happy mind, happy life

Final Thoughts + Tips on SEP 

I found myself having more than 1 month to travel because I ended my semester much earlier than my peers in SU. The norm is to take 1 module in each period, but I cleared 2 modules in Period 3 so my semester effectively ended at the end of November. YES TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL!!! I listed some goods and bads about going to SU, which are as follows:

Why NOT SU? ):

  • If you are tight with your finances; Stockholm can be an expensive city to have your exchange in.
  • If your attention is to overload, because SU is one of the school which only allows you to take 4 modules and give you a free dummy UE module to make sure you clear 20MCs.
  • Not much variety of CCAs you can join, but then again you won’t have time to attend them if you are constantly on the move!

Why SU? 🙂

  • Very chill timetable, not very strict on attendance. You will find yourself with a lot of free time to travel 😛
  • You will find yourself having to put much less effort into studying (this is true for nearly all universities in Europe, but there are a few universities where you do have to study properly to pass)
  • English standard in Sweden is very high relative to other European countries, so no language barriers and I dare say locals in Scandinavian countries (which include Finland & are the nicest people ever.
  • Transport is as good as 24/7 in Stockholm, although frequency is much lower in the wee hours in the morning, so you won’t find yourself stuck if you are travelling in and out of the country at weird timings.
  • Did I mention Swedish Lapland is one of the best winter experiences ever? There are many student tours available from Stockholm and okay I nearly froze to death there HAHA.

In regards to module mapping and planning, the best tip I can give is to have contingencies/Plan Bs, because you might not be able to get all your preferred modules. This is especially important for accountancy students who do not have many UEs to play with in their module planning. If you can’t really map business modules and have to do UEs during SEP, be prepared that you might need to overload in your future semesters, so check that you will be able to clear your university-level requirements!

The worst case scenario is that you fail a module overseas, so study enough to pass but don’t go mugging like crazy because no one is going to care if you get straight As during your SEP. It’s not wrong to study hard, but you are wasting precious time overseas if you over-study; time which you could have used to travel around.

Apologies for the slight deviation and constant mentioning of travelling, but I really did break a lot of boundaries during exchange and it was a truly awesome possum semester which I am grateful that I had the opportunity to go for. To those who are reading this and going for your own SEPs,  There will be times where every exchange student have their own struggles, be it being home sick, missing your friends and family, or hating the weather. The months you spend abroad may seem like a long time, but as soon as it is all over, you wonder what happened to them. You might think you have a lot of time, but poof in no time you will be back in Singapore. When it all ends, all the mix of emotions you experienced will be all worth it.

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Living the dream abroad

It has been a little more than 2 months since I took off from Changi Airport in an airplane to somewhere far, far away. They say time will fly during exchange, but it feels like I have done so much during such a short period. I have stepped foot on various countries across Europe already, and did my virgin solo trip as well! (got so much to talk about travelling solo) The life of independence has truly sunk in, being 9,600km away from home. All of the above are experiences cannot be described by words, and life abroad has been nothing short of amazing and awesome.

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Keep learning about the world, breaking your own boundaries, and have so much fun you don’t even want to go back home.

The above has been the essence of my exchange so far. Fears back when I haven’t left Singapore has been extinguished and are long gone. Okays not exactly every single fear, but interestingly enough, the feeling of being homesick hasn’t set in yet. I do admit it can get lonely at times, and you wish that there’s someone that you can go with or share on this forever wanderlust. Seeing several groups of people who have the luxury of having close friends in the same country or close enough proximity to be able to travel together, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous. Reminder to self: everyone has their own unique exchange experience, so embrace everything that is given to you. It may be too early to tell, but when I go back you will realise of certain aspects of life that you take for granted and cherish more.

My first steps into Europe really had an enchanting feeling to the heart, and from there I can never turn back. The wanderlust have never stopped ever since, as travel became a necessity during any possible breaks during the school term. I have been lucky enough to be in a university with light workload modules, which allows me to do short trips to nearby countries. A major plus is that my modules are compressed into 3 months so I’ll be done by the end of November (yays to more travelling haha). It’s quite absurd that I could go back to SG so early, but of course no fucking way I’m going back so fast HAHAHA.

Finding myself in a new place

Finding myself in a new place

Moving onto the first solo trip… solo travelling has been something I always wanted to do. I just didn’t foresee myself doing it so fast, but I was faced with a “week long break” so I told myself that I would do it. They say the first time is always the hardest, so I don’t know where all the bravery came from, much less in a complete foreign environment. Taking everything into account, it was something I glad I have done and I was blessed with a smooth maiden solo adventure. I really had the opportunity to converse with several people with diverse backgrounds (There was a retired Canadian couple who literally sold their house and went on a 3 month long holiday). Travelling can get so contagious as you want to be exposed to more new experiences; and I have 2 more solo trips lined up already HAHA.

The scariest thing about being so far away is that you never know whether people miss you or forget about you. It also makes you wonder if your presence to someone or in a certain place ever mattered. I know that not everyone will agree that people have to “do something” because you just assume the best, so thanks to the few who have been reassuring with their words and actions. Inspiration to dance has been very low, as reasons I told myself to stay and continue has been turning against me. If it wasn’t for throwback and the sister’s birthday, I would have without any doubt extended my stay in Europe. Most of the fun in dance is to practice and improve together as a group, so that element being missing really sucks a lot. Time to create my own inspiration perhaps? 

keep-crazy

Finally posted something here after a 2.5 month hiatus, and I believe there will be more to share as time passes. It’s revitalising to know that I wouldn’t be doing any mid-semester rants about school if I was still stuck in NUS. However, you can’t get the best of both worlds, really cold here (single digit temperature whole day), and it won’t be long till I hit sub-zero. Omg never would I have thought that I would miss the heat, no idea if I will be able to survive the weather in December. I’m forced into hibernation mode here, so it’s a sign to go into regular evening run mode when I’m back.

68/155 (according to local time hahas); so I’m almost at the halfway mark! Whatever decisions I make in the future, make sure that it makes myself happy. Live the moment and don’t be afraid of trying, because this is what exchange is supposed to be; trying new things everyday. Take a deep breath if the day doesn’t go your way. Remember how lucky I am to be able to have this opportunity to explore the world. Every feeling that comes about; let them in as they will allow you yo grow and make you a better person.

its-a-funny-thing

P.S. To all my lurkers here, please skype me when you all are ever free hahaha. I would love to know how you’re doing.