An International Student’s Transformation at MDIS, Singapore

As someone who rarely went out of the house, I found the idea of going outside unappealing to me. In the Philippines, my idea of the world was often viewed through a computer screen. I limited myself to minimal interaction with people. Sure, I had my own small group of friends, but I didn’t go beyond that. The reason being, I was an introvert and easily got tired of being in social circles. Overall, I am a shy person.

I have also lived a sheltered life. Even though I spend time outside of my home, volunteering and eating out with friends, I felt that I could experience a lot more. I didn’t know how to wash clothes or make my own bed in the past.  All of that changed when I made the choice to study overseas.  

Hanging out with my other international students

For me, this was a new experience. I was taken out of my comfort zone and thrust into a new situation. I am living alone for the first time, which means that I have to do everything on my own in making my own decisions on all tasks big or small. Add to that, my social awkwardness, and I felt like I was unprepared for what came next.  For once, I had no safety net, no one to tell me what to do or when to do it.

This also meant that I had no friends to physically spend time with. I feared the first few months, as I had to create relationships from scratch. The shyness in me would have to take a back seat.  It did take some warming up, but in the end, I did grow as a person studying in Singapore.

After a year of staying abroad and alone, I feel a lot more confident about myself. I know my strengths and weaknesses in my chosen field of study -media. Surrounding me were people who accepted me and knew how to work well with each other. Whenever I would talk to people, I found myself taking on my own voice. I was able to grow into an extrovert and developed greater confidence.

My time in Singapore gave me more than just self-confidence. I knew what to do when I had too much soap in the laundry, when I desperately needed to wash my dishes or where to get the cheapest grocery items. Even outside the classroom, I learned to be more sociable than ever, and even had my own group of friends to hang around with.

I have made Singapore my second home, one I could always feel comfortable in. As of now, I see the introverted person I left behind in the Philippines as a shadow of myself. Now, I see myself as someone who’s learned more than just camera techniques and production skills. I have evolved into a new person, that feels better than ever.

This article is contributed by Lui, an exchange student in MDIS.


Founded in 1956, the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) is Singapore’s oldest not-for-profit professional institute for lifelong learning. MDIS has two main subsidiaries: Management Development Institute of Singapore Pte Ltd which oversees its Singapore academic operations, and MDIS International Pte Ltd which focuses on MDIS’ globalisation strategy. MDIS offers internationally-accredited courses in Business and Management, Engineering, Fashion and Design, Health and Nursing, Information Technology, Languages and Education, Life Sciences, Media and Communications, Psychology, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Safety and Environmental Management.

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