Hey USWIB, greetings from Singapore!
My name is Caitlyn and I’m a junior concentrating in Marketing and Data Science with a minor in Social Entrepreneurship, currently studying away on IBEX as an exchange student at the National University of Singapore. You might have seen my takeover of the Stern UC Instagram last weekend showing a day in the life of an IBEX student– if you missed it, feel free to check it out in the Instagram Story highlights under the Stern UC account!
IBEX has enabled me to meet other exchange students (NUS has over 1300 international exchange students each semester!) from almost every country in Europe, all across the US and Canada, and other regions of Asia, as well as Australia and Africa. Some of my closest friends here are from Bulgaria, Switzerland, Ireland, New Zealand, and Singapore – just a taste of how diverse the exchange student population is! While we’re lucky to have a very large international student population at NYU, being able to become friends with an international exchange student who is actually going to university in their home country is such an eye-opening experience, to learn about different countries’ approaches to education, internships, and university life as a whole.
Getting to live at another university and learn how to cope with new academic standards, grading systems, and approaches to learning has been a really valuable learning experience as well. At NUS, every single class is graded on a curve (similar to our “Stern curve”) and courses are almost entirely dependent on exams and term projects, with little to no weekly homework or continuous assessment. The academic culture at NUS is even more intense than Stern, which became evident to me when I saw local students studying at 3am – the week before classes even started. The difference in education style has made me appreciate how lucky we are at Stern to have small class sizes that largely focus on discussion and interactive learning.
With some careful scheduling finessing, I was able to get all 4 of my classes (which count for Cultures and Contexts, Texts and Ideas, EGB, and Consumer Behavior) on a single day of the week (Thursdays), so I’m enjoying a semester of 6 day weekends and almost constant traveling due to the low amount of work involved for pass/fail classes while on IBEX. I’ve learned so much outside of the classroom through exploring the deep war histories of places like Vietnam and Cambodia, trekking through underdeveloped areas in Myanmar and Malaysia, and simply talking to fellow exchange students to learn about their lives in their home countries.
Overall, I could not stress enough how much I recommend experiencing study away on IBEX – unlike just studying abroad at an NYU site that is essentially our home university dropped into another country with our same curriculum, grading standards, and NYU classmates, IBEX actually challenges you to adapt to a new environment, promotes an exchange of cultures, and gives you the opportunity to form friendships that span across and throughout the entire world!