Studying Abroad for a Semester

Friday, October 10, 2014


I am currently on a school exchange program. I am really grateful for this program as I have always wanted to study abroad. I have been out of Singapore for more than a month now and there's not a moment that I don't enjoy being here in the UK. Studying abroad allows you to be in a new country, experience a different culture, climate, and meet new people.

I'll be writing a series of Studying Abroad for a Semester posts in the meanwhile, along with occasional travel blogs.

So the first post of the Studying Abroad for a Semester series - Before applying to study abroad for a semester, there are some essential points to note.

Firstly, there are different kinds of exchange programs that the school offers. The one I went was with GEM Explorer, which was a program allowing you to study at the school's partner universities for a semester. The GEM Discoverer, is another program that places students overseas either to work or to work and study. There's also the Summer Exchange Program which allows students to spend their summer holidays overseas, clearing some courses.

The mentioned ones are exchange programs that are managed by the school. However, you can also always fee-pay to a school of your choice to study abroad. In this situation, you'll have to do the liaising with the abroad school of choice, while students on the school exchange programs have the school office to settle the administrative issues.

Both methods are extremely popular among students. Most of the time, students intending to study abroad in Taiwan or Korea will apply for fee-paying as the abroad school fees are significantly less than Singapore's school fees.

The school exchange program application window opens on the first few weeks of the semester. Look out for emails by the GEM office as they'll always send out the list of schools available for student exchange, along with the vacancy. It is always wise to research on the list of schools before applying, just so to ensure that you actually have courses to match. Course matching is a chore and we'll get to that later.

The vacancy list is what you should look at before you make your decision. A higher number of vacancy places will ensure your chances of securing the spot. How the system works is that they give priority to senior students for exchange spots. The allocation is based on your cGPA, so a higher cGPA equates to a higher chance of getting the exchange.

If you notice the vacancies, there are some schools that are exclusive to a course (eg: NBS, SPMS) and there are other schools that are open to ALL. Basically, a school that is opened to ALL will try to accept students of different specializations. For example, University A only has 10 spots available, and 10 NBS and 10 SPMS students applied for it. Even if all the SPMS students have a higher cGPA than the other NBS students, they'll have to even the distribution to 5 NBS and 5 SPMS.

After choosing the schools that you're interested in, you'll have to ensure that you can match courses with the host university. A quick method is to log on to intu > studentlink > academic matters > student exchange > course finder.

You'll be able to search up any university and see what previous students have matched the courses with. This is a great help as you'll have a rough idea on what is allowed and what is not when matching your courses.

When it comes to applying for your university, do keep an eye on the updated list of applied students. You'll get to see how many students applied for the university of your choice. This is a very good gauge for you to estimate your chances of success and to plan strategically.

Even if you do not get any in the first round, there is always a second round and I do know of people who manage to get into their first choice in the second round!

Good luck!


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5 comments

  1. Hello!

    Im currently a year 2 psych student as well in ntu and was wondering which university did you apply to? And also were there a lot of vacancies and did you choose to go alone or with friends? Were you also able to clear any psych mod there? And if you don't mind me asking, what is your gpa? Its totally cool if you don't wanna let me know your gpa though:)

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    1. Hi, I'm currently in University of Hertfordshire (UH), in the UK. There were 10 vacancies when I applied. I've been lucky though because I am here with two of my other friends from Psychology. I'm clearing Organisational Psychology, Psychology of Performing Arts and Health Psychology at the moment and UH provides a wide range of Level 3000 Psychology mods for us.

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  2. Hey Michelle! A short self-introduction--I'm pursuing my BSc in psychology with Edith Cowan University (offshore programme in Singapore), currently in my third year. I'm also a research co-investigator at NUS running some independent projects under supervision; been there for a year now.

    I came across your blog while Googling for psychology interest groups in Singapore. I see that you're really passionate about psychology and I thought it'd be great to be your acquaintance or friend. It's really hard to come by someone with this level of passion. We could perhaps collaborate on some stuffs in future. Hit me up if you're interested: nicholas.tan.hg@gmail.com (:

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  4. Hello! I'm currently a year 2 psych student and I'm preparing to go on exchange as well. However, I'm worried about the course matching. I'm going to UK and the modules offered at the UK school both matched to HP3100. Does this mean I am technically only clearing one mod? Thanks for your input!

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