Survival Guide: Key Tips To Thriving As An Exchange Student

The idea of studying abroad may seem daunting to the average Singaporean student just as it was for me. What is life going to be like? Would I miss my family and friends? What if I wasn’t able to adjust to my new environment?  These were some of the anxious thoughts that ran through my mind.

7 Feb 2020

5 mins read

By Garialdi Salim


A gathering of students from around the globe coming together to celebrate Chinese New Year, the Singaporean way.

As much as it could be intimidating to approach someone who you aren't familiar with, you should try to break that mental barrier and start with a simple greeting. I learnt that local  students are just as interested in learning about you as you are about them. Of course, there may be some that are slightly shyer than others, but that's all part of human nature. By saying the first hello, I was able to make some good friends in Buffalo, who were even kind enough to take me around the city!

#Dealing With Homesickness

Representing Singapore and graduating at the University at Buffalo's home campus definitely tops the cake for my college experience!

After being overseas for some time, it is normal to feel homesick. The experience will make you treasure your hometown, family and friends back home like you never did. However, there are many ways to combat homesickness. One of the obvious ways to deal with it is calling to check on your family members. You could also learn to cook a meal or two before you head overseas. That familiar taste and sweet aroma will help drive your homesickness away. Trust me, your housemates will love you for it as well!

In reflection, I thoroughly enjoyed my overseas experience as it has helped me become more independent and be exposed to cultures. If you're still pondering on going on an exchange trip, hesitate no further because many unforgettable life experiences await you!