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### Opting for the Unconventional: Rising Trend of Singaporeans Choosing Unique Paths for Overseas Education

The vast majority of Singaporeans who choose to study abroad opt for one of three countries: the United States, Britain, and Australia.

According to Unesco data on the global flow of higher-education students, nearly 80% of local students heading overseas selected these three countries in 2021. However, a small yet increasing number of Singaporean undergraduates are venturing towards less conventional destinations like the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan.

One such student, Ms Ruth Luk, pursued a bachelor’s degree in business at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. She financed her yearly tuition of €10,000 through a student loan and covered living expenses of approximately €11,000 annually, partly sustained by part-time jobs in Tilburg.

On the other hand, Ms Sabrina Suhaimi, a fourth-year student at Kyushu University in Japan, found independence and affordability in her educational journey. With tuition fees amounting to 535,800 yen per year and financial support from the university scholarship, coupled with part-time work, she managed her expenses without parental assistance.

In a different academic pursuit, Ms Pek Siying, studying medicine in Heidelberg, Germany, valued the opportunity for personal growth and independence away from familiar surroundings. The relatively lower cost of living in Germany, along with affordable tuition fees of about €3,000 per year, offered her a unique experience compared to traditional study destinations like the UK and Australia.

Beyond financial considerations, these students sought to escape the intense academic pressure prevalent in Singapore. Ms Pek, for instance, highlighted Heidelberg University’s exceptional medical faculty and less competitive application process as key factors in her decision.

While navigating cultural adjustments and language barriers posed challenges, these students found fulfillment in their unconventional study choices. Mr Brian Wong, studying in Tokyo, embraced a more holistic student life experience that prioritized personal growth and exploration over academic rigor.

Despite the initial hurdles of cultural adaptation, these students discovered new perspectives and opportunities in their chosen study destinations. Ms Sabrina, for instance, emphasized the transformative experience of studying in Japan, which broadened her horizons and equipped her with valuable skills for future endeavors.

In conclusion, stepping off the beaten path in pursuit of education abroad can offer unique insights, personal growth, and diverse cultural experiences that enrich one’s academic journey and shape their future aspirations.