An Exchange in the Greenest city in Asia

Photo of Vegard Voss by Lærke Kobberup

Many young people decide to do a semester abroad when they are in their studies. It is a known fact that it might be more the country itself that draws the students than the courses in the country. However, ScandAsia has talked to an exchange student in Singapore, and he has more to add.

Vegard Voss is 25 years old and from Norway. He studies international management and Finance. Earlier this month he finished a semester at the National University of Singapore. He recognizes many of the presumptions when it comes to taking a semester abroad:

“The courses weren’t really a high priority when I decided to go abroad. Of course I wanted a good school, but I mainly wanted to live abroad and meet different cultures,” he says.

However, gradually he has grown fond of Singapore, and when an opportunity to stay presented itself, he didn’t hesitate to take it.

Falling in Love with the Singapore
Singapore was third on Vegard Voss’s list of countries he wanted to go to. However, he was not disappointed. He had never been to Asia before and quickly discovered all it had to offer.
Singapore with its green leaves creeping along the city’s buildings. The dense heat that is only released when the rain starts to pour. The city is organized and safe. Everything has a system, and this appeals to Vegard Voss. He especially loves its structure, when it comes to having a base and traveling the region:

“It has the perfect geographical placement for traveling around, but you always come back to its cleanliness and feel safe.”

Vegard Voss has been in Singapore four and a half months now and he understands why it has become such a hub for business and trade:

“It might all look a bit like the same when you are looking in from the outside. But, when you are studying finance or trade, you realize that there are so many opportunities here.”
He definitely enjoyed his exchange in this organized city. So much that he started to look at options.

Green surroundings in Singapore. By Lærke Kobberup

Staying long-term?
The exchange quickly turned into an idea of staying in Singapore:

“When I was in the middle of my exchange, I Realized that this might be the perfect place to do my internship as well,” Vegard Voss explain as he needs to do an internship abroad to complete his degree in International Management as well.

So, he mingled with many Norwegian businesses until he got an internship at DNB Bank:

“I was very lucky that they accepted me, as they don’t usually do summer internships. They just had so much to do this summer that they agreed.”

This also allowed Vegard to mix up his social circle. When he was doing the exchange program the international students were in different classes than the local ones. This meant that he didn’t socialize that much with local Singaporeans. With the internship he has the opportunity to meet more of the locals and experience more of their culture

Vegard Voss also especially started to appreciate the city after he has started to work:

“I am here to work and to learn now, and it is just nice that everything else just runs smoothly.

The building where Vegard Voss work. By Lærke Kobberup

However, home is still home
Even though there is definitely love for the region and Singapore, Vegard Voss isn’t convinced that Singapore is his long-term home.

“I love Singapore, but I also have my girlfriend at home, and whatever happens moving forward she has to be factored in,” He explains.

He would love to go abroad again, but his curiosity isn’t limited to only Asia. He could see himself in many different countries, but he would like it if the company he works for is Norwegian.

“There is just a different kind of hierarchy, or rather lack of hierarchy in the Norwegian businesses, that I am not sure you can find anywhere else.”

“Also, I want my kids to grow up in Norway.”

Vegard Voss states this with no hesitation. Maybe it relates to his connectedness with the Norwegian business system, but he is definitely not ready to let go of Norway, what it represents, and all that it has to offer.



About Lærke Kobberup

Lærke Kobberup is a Journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Lærke Kobberup

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *