1. What’s your name, age, occupation and country you are from?
Hi, I’m Lynn Chiang. I’m a student, 21 going on 22 this year, and I’m from Singapore.
2. Why did you decide to study overseas?
I had a lot of seniors who went on exchange before me and they posted multiple breathtaking pictures on social media. Their stories and adventures that they shared also got me really pumped and motivated to experience living overseas on my own travelling around and learning about the different cultures!
3. In which country did you study and how long?
I went to University of St Gallen, Switzerland, for 5 months but I travelled around Europe a lot throughout those 5 months.
4. Share a favourite photo taken while you were studying abroad!
This photo was taken from one of my absolute favourite city in Switzerland, Geneva. The weather and the scenery were all so perfect that my friend and I just sat by the lake, have our lunch, and chill by the river for a good 2-3 hours.
5. Describe an unforgettable/ scary experience you encountered.
Well, let’s just say that losing your laptop on the very first/second day of your exchange life was pretty unforgettable. So imagine surviving exchange and school without a proper laptop for all your classes, reports, presentations, booking of flights or accommodations for your travels etc. It was really quite a nightmare. Thank god for supportive friends who lent me their iPad and laptops to help me tide through this (painful, tearful) period.
6. Have you done something during this trip that surprised yourself?
I have always had the idea of traveling around by myself even before exchange but I never had the guts or courage to do it. So it was only until exchange that an opportunity arise. I really wanted to travel to Rome but due to a conflict in schedule, none of my friends could have travelled to Rome with me. Hence, I decided to just travel around Rome by myself.
Moreover, since it was very expensive to buy/ top up a roaming data plan in Swiss, I was travelling or touring Rome by myself without any data. Thank god all went well!
7. What was the best thing that happened to you on this trip?
Friends, definitely the bunch of friends I made while I was on exchange. Although it was a short duration of 5 months, they were my family away from home.
Also, I love doing adventurous things, so being able to do things like diving in Iceland, with all its freezing waters, and others make it so memorable for me.
8. What’s your favourite travel website, whether it be for travel planning or travel inspiration?
I love Skyscanner to source for the cheapest flight tickets across multiple airlines and Visit a City every few days to get a very comprehensive list of travel tips, itineraries and places to visit for the different cities in Europe! Also, I love applications like Airbnb and Hostelworld where I find cheap accommodations to stay at whenever I travel out of Switzerland.
9. If you had 2 tips you could share from your study abroad experience to students feeling apprehensive about taking this leap, what would they be?
It may be tedious to pack and plan before the trip. It may be daunting to leave the comfort of home and take a leap into an unfamiliar place (especially if you are doing so by yourself). But the experience and memories will be so rewarding and worth it that you would pay anything to relive those moments again. You would gain and learn so much about the world and about yourself and that is something that you can’t gain by just staying in your comfort zone.
Hence, always try to travel with an open mind. Staying in luxurious hotels and Airbnb may be good but staying in cheap hostels has its own perks too. My friends and I had quite a fair share of fun memories in our hostels. We met lots of fun people and kept trying out new and different activities every time I travel.
Also, always remember to plan your budget! Keeping track of your expenses helps you to allocate and plan for trips in advance. You would not want to find yourself in the situation where you run out of money while overseas!
Student Travel Series seek to showcase travel stories from students, for students. The aim of this series is to inspire more youths and students to take the leap and discover a world outside of your own!
What do you feel about Lynn’s story? Let us know below!