Dilys LOO Rui Wen FS2017-18, Singapore Manage University | from Singapore to Germany
My name is Dilys Loo and I am currently a third year undergraduate at Singapore Management University under the School of Accountancy. In August 2017, I was given the privilege to travel to Europe for the very first time. During the past five months, I have learnt so much about the German and European culture and have also met various people from all walks of life. It was also a journey of self-discovery and personal development that I am very thankful for.
As a student seeking a career in taxation, I undertook Masters level courses in tax planning at University of Mannheim. Though the learning curve was steep, the opportunity enabled me to understand various international tax planning concepts. These are also modules that my current university does not offer, enabling me to obtain a competitive edge over my peers and aid me in my future internship and job interviews. Additionally, these courses provided me the chance to work with local German students. This experience taught me a lot about the German way of life – from their history, religion and traditions to their recreational activities and food culture. Living in Germany has also taught me so much about recycling – that it goes beyond just bringing your own bags for grocery shopping but also returning your plastic and glass packaging after consuming the product. Their commitment to conserving the environment has greatly inspired me to do my best when I return to Singapore.
In Mannheim, I live in a student dormitory with five other exchange students from Australia, Canada and Mexico. These individuals have played an important role in my exchange experience as they allowed me to learn about cultures beyond the European continent. I am particularly close to my Mexican housemate, who is doing her Masters in Mannheim. Besides helping me settle in, she has taught me so much about Mexico, the Spanish language, their foods and their festivals. Interacting with other exchange students has really helped to alleviate the feeling of homesickness as we shared about our home countries and bonded over food from home.
Being on exchange has been a pleasant yet challenging experience. It has taught me some of the most important life skills – from opening bank accounts, budgeting, cooking and cleaning to dealing with unforeseen circumstances like train delays and language barriers and miscommunications. In other words, my exchange experience has taught me how to live independently while balancing academics and immersing oneself in the different cultures and traditions. Though difficult, it has been a fruitful experience with no regrets.
International travel is not always possible for many but the Fung Scholarship has made this rare opportunity possible. Real learning often happens outside the classroom and this exchange has been one of the best experiences of a lifetime. These would not have been possible without the Fung Scholarship and to give back, I would aim to partake in more Fung Foundation events to grow the Fung network and encourage greater participation in these events.
Exploring Mannheim with other exchange students from Hong Kong and Mexico