By: Brian Lau, Simon Fraser University, winner of the fall 2019 BC Study Abroad: Stories from Abroad Scholarship
Study Abroad Destination: Singapore
I can’t believe 5 months just FLEW by like that. Before I begin, I want to extend my thanks to everyone back home to provide me with this opportunity as well as thank the friends I’ve met during my exchange. Without them, my exchange would not have been so fulfilling. This ties into what I have learned and can appreciate. You can say that it’s not just the things you know but the people you know. Google is only a search engine where tourists usually post stuff so the local gems are not known to the public. However, after meeting some Singaporeans, hands down would I have to apprehend them for showing me an offline side of Singapore.
These friends are people I would never meet unless I were to leave Vancouver. When I bring my Canadian mindset to the table they bring theirs. Needless to say, this opens up an opportunity of sharing and exploring for new discoveries that are untouchable and unappreciated without positive relationships. Prior to the exchange, I was determined to starting my career in Vancouver. But, through some networking sessions and conferences, the possibility of working in a different country is now shining brighter than ever.
I went to APAC Summit 2.0. There I met a Vancouverite who worked at Hootsuite. He felt the environment he placed himself doesn’t validate his potential to grow. So he moved to Singapore and started a helicopter ride-sharing company which also operates in the Philippines. After conversing for a while he extended his interest that I apply to his Philippines’ location and see where it takes us. The previous Brian would have instantly rejected that offer or even possibility, but now who knows!
I think throughout this exchange, it has helped me understand a larger picture and window of possibilities that the world has to offer. Although the comfort of my home is cozy, it doesn’t help me accelerate my career to lengths I can imagine. It all starts with you taking that initial step and who knows where it might take you.