The life of international students is a mystery to most. Expat and international culture is little bubble – these communities often exist separate to local and national life, with students and parents congregating around international schools, companies and brands. The two societies can sometimes feel completely separate so we are going to try and demystify this experience from the eyes of a true third-culture kid. The author of this article has lived in Singapore for over 10 years and is going to walk you through a day in the life of an international student.
6am start. It’s so (so so so) early but, hey, that’s the life of an IB student! School starts at 8 and we like to get there at a good time so we can get breakfast before lessons start. The food at school is the best – my favourite is noodles and a fried egg, of course, washed down with a sweet sweet iced milo. Lessons can be a drag but when you have friends and teachers from all over the world, you are sure to be celebrating one kind of holiday or another so without fail there will be some yummy, home cooked food to share around at break! Because we live in Singapore our school trips can be a bit extra – last week we went to Melaka in Malaysia for our Geography field trip. This week were stuck in the classroom writing our IAs – but I guess you win some, you lose some!
Lunchtime. Lunch is possibly the best time of day – well, any mealtime is the best time. It’s all about the food here. From hawker centres up to fine dining restaurants, Singapore is an unmatched melting pot of the best cuisines from all over the region. Today we walk out to the hawker centre opposite school and get in the queue for chicken rice. It’s hot and sweaty here but so worth it! After this, we run back into school just in time for our free period and get sweaty-settled in the library to practice our TOK presentation.
Afterschool my life is devoted to sport! I rush down to our school swimming pool and swap my uniform for a brightly patterned swimsuit and hop into the pool. Swimming, amongst other sports, is huge here in Singapore. Lots of people take up niche sports like touch rugby and continue these into university! I’m at school until 6 when training ends. That means I have been at school for a total of 11 hours. This is pretty normal – I even go to school on the weekends for swimming training.
Evenings are quiet with family meals, homework and TV taking up the time between school and bed. Weeks fly by in this comfortable routine and life is great, if a little bit stressful!