T here are plenty of scholarships available in Singapore – a mix of both local and overseas scholarships. While a local scholarship offers you an all-rounded educational experience at home, an overseas scholarship allows you to get a taste of a different country, culture and education system.
In this article, we explore the ups and downs of both scholarship types. We hope you will consider the following things as you contemplate your next academic move!
The Financial Aspect
With an overseas scholarship, your finances – such as your air ticket and living allowance – would be well taken care of. We all know that living and studying overseas can be extremely expensive, and a scholarship will do much in helping you unload your financial burden. However, overseas scholars must be sure to not take their financial support for granted, and be mindful of their expenditure. Your living allowance will whittle away in short order if you do not plan your finances carefully!
For local scholars, a generous amount of allowance would also be given to them. It is easier to maintain and control your expenses while you are in Singapore, given that you are more familiar with where to get the cheapest deals and our overall cost of living.
The Prospect of Creating a New Home
The thought of adjusting to an unfamiliar environment without friends and family can be quite unnerving. If you do decide to pursue your degree overseas, be prepared for the challenges that come with being away from family and friends for long stretches at a time.
However, living and studying overseas would definitely push you out of your comfort zone and force you to become fiercely independent. While you are still in Singapore, it might be helpful to learn how to whip up a few simple dishes that you can prepare in your new home. You’d soon come to learn that Singapore is the anomaly, with the likes of 7-11 all over the island. In many other states, grocery stores and eateries are few and far between. Cooking at home will give you a better grip on your finances and greater convenience.
Can I Replicate the Experience in Another Way?
There is no doubt about it – an overseas experience would allow you to enhance your global awareness, gain an appreciation for diverse cultures, be exposed to unfamiliar perspectives, and make new international friends!
If the prospect of broadening your horizons in a different country is what you look forward to, consider how you can soak up the overseas experience in another way without leaving home for a full four years. Overseas exchange programmes are good substitutes to a full four-year degree programme abroad, if life in a different country is what you desire.
The Bond Period
A local scholarship will typically require scholars to serve a four-year bond, while an overseas scholarship would mean having to serve a six-year bond. You can do a lot of things in two years, such as conceptualising an innovative business idea. There are some scholars who choose to go on to become zealous entrepreneurs after serving their bond. Two years make up an ample amount of time for you to pursue enriching life experiences outside of your scholarship!
If being tied down to a company for four to six years does not suit your fancy, there is always the option of applying for a two-year mid-term local scholarship. And then there are also in-house university scholarships which do not require you to serve a bond. There are opportunities aplenty, so take time to read up on all your options.
At the end of the day, it does not pay to make hasty decisions. Speak to your seniors to find out about their experiences, and conduct ample research before you make your next move!