Hello everyone! My name is Garrett Hein and I am studying abroad in Singapore at Nanyang Technological University. Before I get into all my adventures thus far, I want to give you all a brief look at how I ended up in this incredible and slightly unorthodox study abroad destination.
Currently I’m in the fifth year of my International Security and Conflict Resolution major at SDSU. For my degree, I have to study abroad, but I kept pushing it off due to financial reasons, worries about being the only one in my family obsessed with traveling around the world, and because I was not sure I could handle being away from all of the glorious food in San Diego (Cali burritos, In and Out, Chick-fil-a, etc.).
Well, I finally found the courage to make my dream of going abroad for a whole semester into a reality. One of the benefits of going abroad so late in my college career is that all my classes are electives, a.k.a. a little more enjoyable. One suggestion I have for anyone thinking about going abroad is to stay on top of deadlines and realize that it is NEVER to early to start planning. I began the exchange process in January 2015 and every week I had goals that brought me closer to having a fun experience while also minimizing stress.
Fast forward a couple months and I found myself on the verge of hopping on a plane that would send me to the other half of the world – yikes. I was basically stoked on life every single day with the thought that I would be doing something as cool as this. I honestly did not have to go through the emotions of leaving because it was new territory for me. I have traveled before to places like China, Costa Rica and Mexico, but I had never been outside of San Diego for more than three weeks my entire life. When I came to this realization, I began to feel some emotions creeping through my mind. Thankfully, I had some amazing support from my friends, family, and most importantly my well-traveled girlfriend. Shout out to her for helping me stay sane through all of this!
Anyways, let’s get onto the exciting part about this blog and talk about Singapore!
Epic – that is all I could think about when I landed here. After flying for 15-plus hours and losing a whole day, I was kind of in a daze. But the sheer excitement of beginning a new chapter in life washed all my jet lag away. I must admit though, that this did not last long.
When I finally arrived at my host institution, I felt like a lost puppy. I did not have Internet service, I did not create a game plan for my arrival and I did not know where to go. After frantically wandering around NTU’s gigantic campus (I am serious, it is huge and they even have their own bus lines to get around), I finally arrived to my housing. I decided to take it easy and get caught up on my rest, needed strength for all the adventuring that was about to happen.
I spent the rest of the week traveling around Singapore’s Marina Bay, central business district and quays. I went on the Singapore Flyer (the worlds largest flyer), to the top of the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel, and explored the renowned Gardens by the Bay. I swear this could be the city of the future.
One of the coolest things about coming to Singapore right now is that I arrived just in time for their countries 50-year anniversary celebrations! I spent the entire weekend watching fireworks displays, light shows, air shows, parades, and took advantage of all the free things.
All in all, I could not be happier that I am here for a whole semester. Some days I am stoked on life; others I feel a little more down. But that is OK because I know I am going to be so thankful for this opportunity and I believe it will be the catalyst for a lot more traveling in my future.
Thanks for checking out my post everyone! Remember to always stay stoked and positive!
Garrett Hein is earning a bachelor’s degree in international security and conflict resolution at San Diego State University. He is blogging from Singapore this fall.