#pieceofSg - Home Away From Home

Posted on 16 June 2017

Singaporean student’s survival tips #3 Home Away From Home

In this series, we check up on overseas students right from our sunny island and how they deal with staying away from home for months.

Along the Great Ocean Road

Studying overseas and the independence it entails can be overwhelming. Suddenly you’re expected to manage your own budget, adapt to different cultures, and be disciplined enough not to let dirty dishes accumulate in the sink! For all the beautiful sights and experiences, it was worth it.

Autumn scenery at the Royal Rhododendron Garden, Olinda. Coffee at Cafe de Beaumarchais, Sassafras, slightly further down the road.

As a foreign student, I began to miss all the small things about Singapore that we often overlook – late closing hours, late night bus rides and even the quick paced culture. No more hawker centre priced meals or cheap bags of Kopi-O. I often found myself planted next to the radiator during winter, wishing to be whisked back to the sweetest spot on the equator. But as soon as I had that thought, Melbourne’s relentless summer sun arrived and the mercury be would crawling past 40 degrees.

How to cope with a whole new environment? The answer didn’t lie in thick winter coats or a secret home remedy. It was always in front of me – friends!

Whether local or foreign, everyone was probably alone during the first few weeks of university, so the key was to say hello first! Together with these friends, we commiserated and celebrated the various experiences university had had to offer.

While I developed a slight complex about my slurred Singaporean accent compared to the clear enunciation from locals, it instantly faded whenever I met someone who spoke the same way. My ears perked up whenever I detected that comforting accent of home, the la’s and lor’s that expressed so much in just one syllable.

Frankston and Mount Eliza, which has lesser known bathing boxes compared to the tourist-marketed ones at Brighton. Stops are all along Port Phillip bay.

And of course, two or three is definitely better than one when it comes to long drives and day trips across the state, or hopping around Melbourne’s beautiful cafes, bonding over café lattes.


- Sonja, Pinwheel


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