One pieces of advice you probably received when you set foot into university would be along the lines of: “Overseas exchanges are a must-go for all university students!” Another bit of wisdom your seniors would have shared sounds something like: “You should get as much internship experience as possible”.
So what is it exactly that makes these programmes such a vital part of your university life? Let us breakdown the importance of both internships and exchanges to make a decision if you had to choose between the two.
Why You Should Get An Internship
#1 Gain Real-World Experience
An internship opportunity gives you a glimpse to the real world awaiting you upon graduation. Not only will you get to apply ideas learned in school in real-life situations, it also equips you with transferable skills such as interpersonal skills, leadership skills and critical thinking skills. Taking up an internship will force you to step out of your comfort zone to be flexible and adaptive to challenges.
#2 Meet New People
You will get to meet and interact with many new people throughout the course of your internship. From customers or colleagues, every person you meet has valuable lessons to impart.
Meeting new people also means expanding your social circle. This allows you to practice networking skills while establishing a network of professional contacts. You will take away valuable insights that may affect your career choices after graduation or even open doors to your career advancement.
#3 Enhance Your Resume
When thrown in a competitive society like ours, an important question to have in mind will be: “What will differentiate me from my peers?” While pursuing a degree seems to be the norm, it is helpful to have an edge over others by having additional internship experience.
Of course, you should not just aim to merely having “clocked” an internship. What you can do to make yourself stand out will be to go the extra mile to pick up additional skills,knowledge and even help achieve substantial results during your internship.
Why You Should Go For Exchange Programme
#1 The Things You’ll Learn
Different Universities all over the world have their very own niche faculty or majors. When applying for an exchange programme, you could find a partner university which is niche in your field of study. You will get to experience different styles of teaching and a whole new education system. You can gain a global perspective and apply your knowledge to relevant courses when you are back in Singapore.
#2 Experiencing A New Culture
Apart from experiencing a new school culture, spending one whole semester abroad will really open your eyes on the culture of the city and the people in your host country. If you were to go for exchange in a country whose first language isn’t English nor your mother tongue, spending a few months there would definitely help you pick up a new language through daily interaction with the locals.
#3 Personal Development
When you are on an exchange, you are essentially pushing yourself out of your comfort zone by being away from your home, family and friends. You will have to learn to be independent when you spend your semester overseas. This helps you grow and learn more about yourself. You will grow to be less afraid of uncertainty and be braver in taking on new challenges.
Additionally, students tend to take time out of their exchange programme to travel. This will probably be your best chance to explore and make the most out of your time overseas. There is so much out there for you to explore and find out.
Internships And Exchange Programmes Not Mutually Exclusive
The benefits of both programmes go on beyond this list. If you were to plan your academic schedule properly, these two are not mutually exclusive. You can always sign yourself up for both. Go forth and get most out of your university life before you graduate and get thrown into the real working world!
DollarsAndSense.sg aims to provide interesting, bite-sized and relevant financial articles.
Learn together with like-minded Singaporeans at the Personal Finance Discussion SG Facebook Group by discussing a range of personal finance topics.
If you have not done so, subscribe to our free e-newsletter to receive exclusive content not available anywhere else.