Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Popular searches:

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

“I am writing this post from a local Starbucks in Downtown Singapore, close to my temporary home a luxurious skyscraper condominium near Marina Bay”

portrait of woman

The stunning view over Marina Bay and Marina Bay Sands (one of the world’s most luxurious hotels) from the skyscraper where I live.

Go on exchange |   15. Mar 2022

portrait of woman

Sara Apéria


On 18 January 2022, I first set foot in Singapore. Filled with excitement, nervosity and joy, I was thrilled to be embarking on a new journey and chapter of my life as a CEMS exchange student at NUS Business School at the National University of Singapore.

Before arriving, I knew very little about Singapore, but was quite certain that my new adventure would be highly rewarding and unique. Indeed, Singapore is very different from all other Asian countries I have ever visited (including Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand, and Hong Kong). Combining traditional Asian culture with fast-paced corporate life and beautiful nature and beaches, Singapore combines the best of various different worlds. In fact, there is nowhere quite like it.

Marina Bay, Downtown Singapore. (Photo by Sara Apéria)

Six weeks later, I am writing this post from a local Starbucks in Downtown Singapore, close to my temporary home at The Sail, a luxurious skyscraper condominium near Marina Bay.

I live quite a busy life here, studying courses in Global Leadership, Ethical Leadership and FinTech Management at NUS, whilst writing a business project with BNP Paribas and finishing my master’s thesis at Copenhagen Business School. Given NUS’ position as one of Asia’s leading business schools in combination with the traditional hard-working Asian culture and determination, the courses and group assignments are quite demanding and fast-paced.

It is both inspiring, motivating, and a bit stressful to be surrounded by such high-achieving and competitive fellow students. On the weekends, I relax and explore both the city life and beautiful hikes across Singapore.

Pulau Ubin, a beautiful island off Singapore where we rented bikes and hiked on a Sunday. (Photo by Sara Apéria)

First of all, Singapore is a truly diverse nation comprising a wide variety of ethnic groups and cultures – mainly Chinese, Indian, Malay, Arabs, and Western expats. As such, Singapore feels like a nation built up of several nations – which, for instance, is reflected in the bustling ChinaTown, colorful Little India and oriental Arab Street.

Since the nation was built by immigrants, these ethnic groups live peacefully side by side with (from my point of view) seemingly equal rights.

Furthermore, Singaporean nationals are very friendly, generally speak English at a high level and are always happy to help a tourist (i.e., myself) looking lost on the street. I have also made a few local Singaporean friends, who are very guest-friendly and eager to generously show me all the best Singapore has to offer. It is truly beautiful to witness such a diverse melting pot of cultures, diversity and inclusion, and I believe that Singapore can act as a role model for other countries with multi-ethnic populations.


Haji Lane, a bustling and colorful pub street close to Arab Street.
Lots of neon lights and Asian food markets in ChinaTown.

As a major Asian food enthusiast, Singapore is as close a foodie can come to food heaven. The locals eat both breakfast, lunch, and dinner at so-called hawker centers, where you can find delicious Chinese, Thai, Indian, Indonesian and Malay complete meals for less than 5 euros.

Given the affordable food options and very expensive supermarket prices, the incentives to cook at home are very few. As much as I love eating out and trying delicious local specialties, I find it difficult to eat healthily on a vegetarian diet, as vegetarianism is quite uncommon here.

I never thought that I could miss fruit and vegetables so much. Moreover, alcohol is very expensive here (the cheapest bottle of wine at the supermarket costs at least 15 euros), so I barely drink alcohol anymore – thus avoiding hangovers and improving my productivity and mood. Yay!

Lebanese restaurants and a beautiful mosque on Arab Street.

Although I love Singapore, there are a few things that take some time to get used to. The safety and cleanliness levels in Singapore are really high, which is amazing.

I never feel scared to walk alone at night, and the risk of having something stolen is almost non-existent. This may be partially due to the fact that Singapore is a strictly guarded society, with cameras in every tree and an overhanging risk of getting fined or deported if violating laws and regulations.

For example, chewing gum, jaywalking and littering are strictly forbidden, and wearing a face mask is mandatory at all times – both indoors and outdoors (in a very hot and dry climate, which can be suffocating). Surprisingly, it is also forbidden to speak or even drink water on public transportation. On a positive note, I believe that living in a strict society has made me a more well-mannered, polite and considerate member of society.

One of the best things about Singapore is that it is considered to be the gateway to Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific Region. In normal circumstances, it is therefore very easy and affordable to travel to tropical Asian destinations, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Luckily, the travel and Covid restrictions are gradually easing up, and I spent 10 days (during recess week) back-packing in Cambodia together with a group of fellow exchange students. We visited the world’s largest temple, Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap, went on elephant safari, visited rural (and highly marginalized) floating villages, spent beach days on the tropical island Koh Rong, and enjoyed seeing the sights in the bustling capital city Phnom Penh.

Cambodia is a very beautiful country with extremely kind people and a rich cultural heritage, although the population has suffered quite a few hardships (e.g., Civil War and the Red Khmer genocide). I can truly recommend traveling to Cambodia for anyone looking for an exciting and unique back-packing experience.

In the next few months, I will focus mainly on exploring Singapore and perhaps visiting Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as spending a month in Australia before heading back to Europe at the end of May. I feel so lucky to be here and would truly recommend spending a few months as an exchange student in beautiful Singapore.

Visited an elephant sanctuary for retired elephants in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Making some new (monkey) friends in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Watching the sunrise over Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

“I am writing this post from a local Starbucks in Downtown Singapore, close to my temporary home a luxurious skyscraper condominium near Marina Bay”by

  • News

    Staff layoffs: What happens if you’re fired

    The clock is ticking. On Thursday morning (5 October), CBS employees will know if they are up for dismissal or not. But what will happen on the day? What emotional stages are you likely to encounter? And who will be there to pick you up when you are feeling the blow of being laid off? CBS WIRE has talked to HR and the consulting agency Actief Hartmanns to provide you with answers.

  • News

    Network, network, network – CBS graduates advise on getting your first job

    There are many approaches to finding your first job. Three recent CBS graduates talk about how they landed theirs. Their approaches were quite different, yet they all highlight networking as a key element.

  • News

    A-Z of the dismissals

    In these final days of September, the fate of a number of CBS employees is being decided. The final amount of money saved on salaries via voluntary severance agreements (aka redundancy packages, Ed.) and senior agreements will be known.  After this, the actual number of employees up for dismissal will be decided by management – and then the individuals will be selected.

  • News

    Layoffs break the crucial trust between organisation and employee

    CBS is laying off a number of employees soon, which will affect our university in different ways. When employees are fired without having done anything wrong, it shatters the trust between the organisation and employees, while also taking a toll on productivity, according to a CBS expert. Layoffs also affect the ‘survivors’, who are forced to adapt to a changed workload and the loss of cherished colleagues.

  • News

    Here to help – at the touch of a button and at Campus Desk

    Exam anxiety? Lost student card? I’ve wedged my car between a Fiat 500 and a lamp post, can you help? You never know what you’ll be asked next. But that’s just how the Campus Desk team like it. And if they can’t fix your problem, they’ll know someone who can. CBS WIRE asked the team about the whole range of topics they advice on every day.

  • Gif of the week
  • News

    CBS Quiz Time: Unraveling the success story

    A successful university environment such as CBS is often associated with academic pursuits, but campus life extends far beyond the classroom. At CBS Quiz Time, a student society motivated by creative thinking and social engagement, students join in a refreshing range of creativity, excitement, and social interaction. CBS WIRE talked to Celine Møller-Andersen to find out about the society’s vision, strategies and the factors that are driving its rapid expansion.

  • News

    Why so sudden? The CBS financial crisis explained

    Employees and union representatives have posed many questions in the wake of the 17 August announcement of a firing round. In this interview, University Director Arnold Boon explains how Senior Management has been working with the budget and a change of financial strategy since the fall of 2022, and why layoffs are now necessary.

Follow CBS students studying abroad

CBS WIRE collaborates with

Stay connected