Singapore Management University
Name: Jazzy de Guzman
CBS study program: BSc International Business
Exchange school: Singapore Management University
City: Singapore, Singapore
What is it like at Singapore Management University?
Singapore Management University is the newest of Singapore’s universities and it is located downtown, just one or two metro stops from the Central Business District. The campus is modern and the classes are small with a maximum of 45 students per class. There is A LOT of group work, so be prepared to have a lot of meetings.
Was it easy to make friends?
There are loads of activities set up for the exchange students in the beginning and with 500 exchange students at the school, it is super easy to meet people! Getting to know the locals takes a bit more time, but you will usually get to know some of them through your group work. You will usually end up having dinner with them some time during your studies, and I even managed to get a few of the locals to go out clubbing which was really fun!
Do you like living in Singapore?
I love living in Singapore! There is a lot to do and explore, the food is amazing and the nightlife is great and there are lots of great hidden little bars, as well as rooftop nightclubs and bar. Every Wednesday is Ladies Night, and practically all the nightclubs and bars let you in for free and it is usually free flow of drinks or a pretty good deal. Singapore is really nice because it is what I call ‘Asia-lite’. It’s all the Asian charm (and food!) but Western standard buildings, roads and infrastructure. There are also a lot of different neighborhoods to explore like Chinatown, Little India and Tiong Bahru. Eating out at the local hawker centers is also super cheap (like 10 DKK for a meal), so be ready to enjoy some local delights like chicken rice, laksa and fishball noodles. It is also really easy and accessible to travel around South East Asia. So far I have been in Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia. After I am done, I will go to Bali, Cambodia and Vietnam!
Did you have any language difficulties?
While English is one of the official languages, most people have a strong ‘Singlish’ accent that will take some time to get used too!
What is the accommodation like?
Unfortunately the school doesn’t have any dorms so you will need to find your own accommodation. Most exchange students meet up at a hostel and then get a real estate agent to help them find an apartment near the campus. Usually you will be approximately six people sharing a three bedroom, two-bathroom apartment at approximately 1,000 SGD (or 4,500 per person). So everyone basically shares a room with either someone from their home university or a stranger! Luckily, I have some family friends here so I have been able to stay with them.
What electives are you taking and do you like them?
I am taking four courses at SMU: Retail Management, Strategic Brand Management, Consumer Behavior and Social Stratification and Inequality. I think that generally the content of the courses is easier to understand here, but the difficult part is managing the time for all the papers and group projects. Some of the work they make you do is really repetitive, for example my group did a report, then presented on the report and then after we had to write a 3-page summary on the presentation. I was like ‘What?! Didn’t you listen to our presentation!’. Other than that, I really enjoy my classes because since the class size is small it is quite interactive and the professors know you by name!
What are the main differences between CBS and SMU?
I would definitely say that the main difference is all the group work you have to do! It is insane because you are often 5-7 people in a group, all with different schedules and you need to coordinate to meet at least once or twice a week with four different groups! The other big difference is of course the teaching style. It is a lot more about memorization than the application of theory.
What is the most bizarre thing that you have experienced in Singapore?
It would have to be one of my group members sending us a little too much information about why she couldn’t come to our group meeting. She had a stomach bug, but let’s just say she told us this a little more vividly.
What are the biggest differences between CBS and SMU?
Singapore is a super fun city with the best of the East and the West! There is lots of delicious food, great nightlife and the opportunity to experience a new school. If you want to travel in South East Asia during the weekend, it’s super easy! Singapore is also very safe, so if you have never been to Asia before its the perfect place to get a taste of the East, without a complete culture shock!