The end of exchange; the end of an era.

Today, as I was commuting to start Day 2 as an international intern, I had to accept that the exchange to Singapore was finally finished 😦 😦 😦  It’s been SUCH a good year, I can’t imagine not having had this experience and I would heavily encouraging anyone considering doing an exchange to go for it.  I’ve made such great friends here, I seen so many amazing places, travelled so much, tried new foods, experienced a different learning and working environment, lived in a different climate, in a different culture… and it’s been so exciting because every day something new happens.

Today I had a great day at work… at lunch time we went out for lunch to Lau Pa Sat – the most famous food court in Singapore court. It was really cool to be amongst the hustle and bustle of all the business people on their lunch break… the streets and stalls were all crammed with people all suited up. What was really strange to see were people walking around on their lunch break without jackets or umbrellas, just wearing a shirt or a dress and carrying a purse. It all seems a lot more relaxed and stress-free, and the sunshine in the background of all this obviously made a difference. The dress code over here is a lot more relaxed than at home – the girls can wear really anything, from a formal suit to just a nice summery dress and open toed sandals! The office also seems a lot more casual and on fridays, it’s always “dress down day” so essentially we’re meant to come in wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
This wasn’t really what I expected – I expected the Asian business culture to be a lot MORE formal than in the UK. However, I guess because this was an international firm, they are adopting a lot of the Western cultures, rather than the typical strict and formal Asian cultures.  This wasn’t really what I expected – I expected the Asian business culture to be a lot MORE formal than in the UK. However, I guess because this was an international firm, they are adopting a lot of the Western cultures, rather than the typical strict and formal Asian cultures. However, everything was explained in the afternoon when I was given some information regarding business cultures in their Singapore office, and in some of their other key offices around the world, and how their employees are expected to act when visiting foreign offices and clients in foreign countries.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to get myself ready for returning to the UK in a couple of weeks time, after my work experience is finished.  I don’t really know how I feel about it – I haven’t been home in 10 months, since I didn’t go home for Christmas…choosing to stay out in Asia and travel.  I admit I’m a bit apprehensive about adjusting back to life in the UK, I could have something like a ‘reverse culture shock’ – if such a thing exists.  I’m so so so excited about seeing all my friends from home, school, Edinburgh, and my family, but I just hope I don’t find life too boring once all the novelty of being home wears off.  There is no doubt that it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to make next year top this year – I’ve set the standards of fun and excitement and going out very high now – a lot to live up to!  However this break in my degree will definitely make me appreciate Edinburgh so much more once I get back, I feel so refreshed and I won’t take things for granted anymore when I’m back at home.  This has been a well worthwhile and refreshing break, especially since I’ll be studying in Edinburgh for 5 whole year… but I just need to accept that like all good things, it must come to an end.  I must break this bubble of fun and go back to reality……….. I wish myself the best of luck! 



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