CBS Exchange Part 7: Singapore Management University

October 31, 2013  //  By:   //  EXCHANGE, Featured  //  No Comment
Frederikke and her study group at SMU.

Frederikke (top left) and her study group at SMU.


Today we are taking the leap to to Asia to find out more about the culture shocks and educational experiences that can be found there.

Name:Frederikke Løkke Pedersen
CBS study program: HA (Kom)
Exchange school: Singapore Management University
City: Singapore, Singapore

What was it like to study in Singapore?

The study environment is very competitive. The teachers give grades based on a bell curve and there is huge pressure on the students from their families so they are basically ready to kill their friends to get an A+.

Sounds intense! How was it to make friends?

I easily made friends with other exchange students! We were a lot of exchange students who always went out together. It was an amazing time! I made some very good friends and I actually just went to Germany to visit my roommate who I lived with in Singapore.

It is far more difficult to make friends with the locals because they don’t really go out. I did go for lunch with some local girls from one of my study groups and stuff like that but when I asked them if they wanted to come to a house party I was hosting they were almost afraid and did not come. I don’t think their parents would allow them to go.

How is Singapore as a country to live in?

The country is very multicultural, which is nice. There is a lot of very delicious food and crazy places to go out, roof top bars and partying on the 57th floor!

Even though you see signs everywhere claiming that all people (Indians, Malays, Chinese, Caucasians etc) all live together in peace, that is unfortunately not really the case. The Chinese pretty much rule the country and when you are Caucasian you are per definition upper-class. That was very nice for us – we lived like kings! But it was not so nice for the Malays for example. Also, they only pay 10% in taxes so everything is very expensive.

Did you have any language difficulties?

There weren’t any language issues. Everybody speaks English though they add a Chinese touch to it, but after a week you understand everything.

Where did you live?

There is no accommodation at SMU so I had to find my own apartment. The accommodation prices in Singapore are extremely expensive so we had to live 2 people in each room and we still payed 5000-7000 DKK a month. The school doesn’t help you find accommodation, instead you hire a real estate agent who helps you find something.

What courses did you take at SMU?

I took four courses at SMU: Service Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, Advertising and Social Stratification. Service marketing was a really great course! Customer Relationship Management was also good but the exam was crazy difficult because you had to remember like 50 models by heart – the Asian way of learning. Advertising was an entertaining course where an ex-advertising guru was the teacher. The course was more an insight into the advertising agencies than theory. Social stratification was the most interesting course. This course really helped me gain some insight to how the Singaporean society is. I learned a lot in this course that I would never have found out my self.

What are the main differences between CBS and SMU?

There are two main differences between CBS and SMU:

1. At SMU it is about being the best at remembering theories by heart. At CBS you don’t have to remember everything, but be able to apply the theory to real-life cases.

2. Personally, I think the courses at CBS are more difficult because you need to understand and apply the theory, not just remember it.

What is the most bizarre thing that you have experienced in Singapore?

Seeing a Chinese woman spit into her hands right after washing them at the toilet and then walk out. Apparently that is normal Chinese behavior. Also, the taxis don’t drive when it is raining! That is so weird because that is exactly the time that you would think they would have the most clients. Another bizarre thing is that in Singapore they have a fruit called Durian that is forbidden to be eaten in public places because it smells so bad!

Why should students from CBS go to Singapore for their exchange?

You should go on exchange in Singapore because the country is amazing!  You will go to the most crazy parties, eat a lot of delicious food, travel around Asia, make friends for life and broaden your horizon. But you should be sure to have enough money with you when you go!

About the Author :

A multi-culturally confused person, Jazzy is half Swedish and half Filipino-American but grew up in Singapore. She is currently studying a BSc in International Business. In her free time, she is addicted to cooking great food, working in marketing, buying too many pairs of shoes and of course eat all the food that she cooks!

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