of 10 /10

VinE Back to School Newsletter #2

Embed Size (px)



Text of VinE Back to School Newsletter #2


    CHOOL Presents ISSUE 2

  • Kevin Teo Vice-President of the 8th VinE Committee, Studying Economics and Economics History at LSE

  • Introducing

    Shawn (centre) is now studying Civil Engineering at UCL. He

    travels frequently no buddy? Still on! Here, hes at

    Preikestolen, Norway, and met two friends along the way

    construction workers on their day off from paving a new

    hiking trek.

    Trekking up Ben Nevis (UKs tallest mountain) in probably the worst weather possible with strong winds, poor visibility (I couldnt see past 10m) and rain lashing at me incessantly. What made it worse was the initial decision to stray off the demarcated trekking route and walk along a narrow ridgeline for that extra challenge. My friend and I were trekking in literally no mans land for several hours and even toyed with the idea of calling a rescue team should we fail to reach the summit before late afternoon (that is, if we even get a signal up there). Thankfully, a brief clear up of the skies gave us just enough time to regain our bearings as we took the opportunity to identify key features around, and a fortunate meeting with a pair of climbers subsequently provided the much-needed assurance that we were on the right track.

    Tell us one moment that you will never tell your parents about (e.g. most embarrassing, most dangerous).

    Shawn Goh

    What do you think you have learnt through such a YOLO moment? The very lesson that we only live once, so careful planning for any risky adventure should not be overlooked. Ironically, I have also learnt that spontaneity leaves room for surprises and detailed planning may actually kill the joy of travelling. So my conclusion? Plan well for the first trip of any sort (eg. hiking / backpacking / going solo), so that with the experience, there can be more room for spontaneity in future trips.

  • How difficult, or how easy, has it been to make friends? (Please indicate if you are referring to Singaporeans or non-Singaporeans) Im the only Singaporean studying Civil Engineering in my year, so I definitely had to make friends with non-Singaporeans. It helps that my course is very project intensive so Im constantly working closely with my fellow coursemates. In general, London is very diverse culturally so people are open to meeting others from different backgrounds and making friends with them.

    Tell us some of the places that you have travelled to (if there are too many to recount, please tell us your most memorable ones) Prague (Czech Rep), Salzburg, Vienna (both Austria), Preikestolen (Norway), Snowdonia and Cornwall (both UK) count among my favourites.

    Which was your favourite trip and why? Prague, Salburg and Vienna because the company was unbeatable. It was a weeklong trip with my hallmates back in Year 1, and more than just the beautiful scenery and finer things which those places offered, the company made the experience so much more memorable.

    Any budgeting tips for travel? (What did you spend more or less on? Any particular budget carrier or hostel you would recommend?) Save on the accommodation, save on transport, grab a walking lunch, and then spend on good dinner!

    Tell us your most horrific travelling experience (e.g. missed your plane, lost your wallet, or maybe you even got yourself lost) and tell us how you solved it. Ive really got to thank God for this. This happened as I was leaving for my solo trip to Preikestolen in Norway. My train to Gatwick Airport was badly delayed, hence I had to take an alternative route from another station which I did not have tickets for. It was the evening rush hour as well, so upon reaching the station, there was an insanely long queue for tickets at the purchasing machine. Pressed for time, I decided to gamble and jump over to the empty ticket collection queue to collect the ones I had originally purchased, in the hope of getting through the barriers with them. Guess what! I found those very tickets I needed for my new journey already dispensed at the machine. Someone must have left them behind by accident but well, I had a flight to catch so I gladly took them!

  • Introducing

    Ranita Yoggeeswaran

    Currently in her final year, Ranita is doing her LLB Law at the University of Manchester. She graduated from VJC in 2011 and was also a Redshirt in the 27th Students Council.

    What are some of your craziest moments abroad? Is there anything you wont tell your parents about? Having a surgery to remove both my big toe nails 3.5hours before my flight to Manchester and having to deal with all the treatments, doctor appointments and not to forget the pain far far far away from home where my family and good healthcare is. What I'll never tell my parents about - if I wouldn't tell them, why would I write it here?!? Haha but I went cliff diving in Croatia and I didn't dare tell them until after the drive because I knew they'd probably panic and not let me do it How is it like making friends in this whole new environment? Its easy to make and easy to click with Singaporeans because of all the common overlaps (friends, culture, food). As for non-Singaporean friends, it definitely is harder to make friends with them but it is worth the effort. Interacting with them is amazing and I've learnt so many things abt their countries and cultures. I feel that I learn a lot more from them because of the different perspectives

  • Where are the places that you have travelled to, and any tips? Travelled to Rome Venice, Sicily, Baden Baden, Munich, Copenhagen, Brussels, Prague, Helsinki, saariselka (Lapland), Croatia, Dublin, Edinburgh. Some tips: Plan in advance, the earlier you plan, the cheaper your trip will be AirBnB is the way to go! Affordable accommodation for groups of any size and the hosts are usually always nice If it's an all girls trip, be extra careful about safety and always don't go asking for trouble (e.g. Don't flaunt your iPhones and Prada wallets in public) Prague is gorgeous! Definitely recommend going there and Croatia as well, especially the city of Dubrovnik! It's an old city that's been preserved with amazing beaches!

    Tell us your most horrific travelling experience (e.g. missed your plane, lost your wallet, or maybe you even got yourself lost) and tell us how you solved it. Dubrovnik is currently my most favourite city in the world and ironically it is in Croatia where I had the most horrific encounter whilst traveling. A group of 8 of us travelled together to Croatia and we had dinner together on the first night. After that we split up because 6 of them wanted to go to the supermarket and my friend and I wanted to see the harbour at night (we thought it would be lively as there were many restaurants and cafe lining the harbour). However, to our disappointment, everything was closed and it was dark so we decided to walk back to our accommodation, which was a 3-5min walk away. But 3 guys started to follow us and started to wolf whistle, catcall and the works, so naturally we panicked! Didn't turn around and started walking quickly and continued to talk between ourselves. Saw a tiny convenience store open and walked towards it. But thankfully as we turned the corner, we saw another 2 of our friends and the guys just turned around and walked away!

  • Introducing Glen Ang Glen is now in his final year at UCL, reading Economics. Having graduated from VJC in 2009, hes someone whom you might want to approach for some spontaneity! Tell us one moment that you will never tell your parents about. I suppose there was this one time when I was on an Economics trip to Brighton, my friends and I were crazily enough, on a sugar high due to some candy we bought along the streets. A series of bad decisions followed which culminated in us skinny-dipping into the sea. It was 2 degrees Celsius that night!! Skinny-dippings nothing, but 2 degrees waters, that killed me.

    How difficult, or how easy, has it been to make friends? Please indicate if you are referring to Singaporeand or non-Singaporeans. Well lets start with the easy ones, Singaporeans. I suppose coming from the same background makes it so much easier. It is great to have a close knitted Singapore family overseas as they understand you best and are sharing similar experiences with you. With regards to the other internationals and the locals, I suppose it was not exactly easy kicking start the whole friendship building process.

  • Tell us about some of the places that you have travelled to. Well some of the places Ive been to so far (not including my travels in Europe prior to university) are Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Belfast, Iceland, Croatia, Portugal, Morocco (yep, we decided to go to Africa), Malta and Turkey. All these trips are unique in their own way, it was a really great experience just travelling around Europe in the companionship of close friends. Which was your favourite trip and why? I suppose the most memorable trip for me would be Iceland. The country was just so incredibly quaint. Juxtapose it with the intensity of city life and youll understand why. Not only was the scenery impeccable, but it was also the trip with a couple of firsts, such as seeing the northern lights and riding a snow mobile on a glacier. No trip is complete without the company of great friends, and that was no different when I was in Iceland. Any budgeting tips for travel? What did you spend more or less on? Any particular budget carrier or hostel would you recommend? Well in terms of accommodation, if you are travelling in a group of around 3-5 people, get airBnB! You get amazing private apartments in really good locations at a fairly good price! It is so much cheaper than hotels and it way more comfortable than living in hostels with strangers (unless you are there for solo trips and are ok with it). With regards to flights, theres Ryanair, Easyjet and so many more. To get the best deals, just use www.skyscanner.net. Travels in Europe are fairly cheap, except for exotic places like the Nordic countries. Eventually, how much you spend per trip is down to the food you eat, the stuff you buy and the lifestyle you lead while travelling. Tell us your most horrific travel experience and tell us how you solved it. I think my travels have been fairly smooth. If there was one incident that came close to being anything near horrific, it would be nearly missing my flight from Istanbul back to London. We were unfortunately caught in a massive jam through central Istanbul with our flight taking off in less than 2 hours. It was terrible as we couldnt really do anything about it. However, we did call the airline to explain our situation and tried to make arrangements for us to be processed as quickly as possible once we arrive at the airport. In anticipation of potentially missing our flight, I had to call my friend in London while I was in the cab to check on the next available flights from Istanbul to London. It was a mad rush once we arrived at the airport, with just 30mins before our flight was due to fly. We managed to convince airline service staff to process our check-in first and we managed to get to the gate just in time, thankfully.

  • Introducing Gavin ChanDra

    Tell us one moment that you will never tell your parents about. Ive had crazy moments with my housemates who just cant seem to stop drinking and made unbelievable loud noises while I was studying for my finals, but I would have to say the most YOLO thing I did without telling my parents first would be to book flights in the year spontaneously! Ive booked flights to Barcelona, the UK and the Netherlands without my parents knowledge (though eventually I would tell them) and this gives me the thrill of spontaneity that Singaporeans rarely feel. Many a times Singaporeans have the mentality of travelling in groups and are afraid to travel on their own, but I decided to break from this general stereotype. Thankfully I have some Singaporean friends who do trips on their own and theyve told me how wonderful the experience is to travel by oneself to a completely foreign land and meeting new people in the many hostels in foreign land. The most YOLO moment for me was booking tickets to the Glastonbury Music Festival 9 months before the actual festival! I had to book it then because tickets were sold out within an hour and a half, but I have no regrets buying them first because the festival lineup was amazing! I think the best part of all these YOLO moments would be trying something that not many other Singaporeans would naturally do and getting the best out of these experiences to share to the many friends back home saying hey! This wasnt as bad as many people think it would be! The feeling of making full use of your time abroad instead of just studying and getting the degree would be the best feeling for me, and I hope others can embark on their own travels or YOLO moments!

  • Connect with us on Facebook by searching for the following groups: Victorians in Europe https://www.facebook.com/groups/Victorians.in.Europe/

    VinE Freshers 2015 https://www.facebook.com/groups/1387590154825145/

    Vine Freshers 2016 https://www.facebook.com/groups/654825631226549/

    The 8th VinE Committee would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this newsletter. Feel free to email us at: [email protected] Upcoming Events: VinE Day Trip 25th October 2014 Whitstable and Canterbury

    How is it like making friends abroad? For me, the thrill of making friends that are non-Singaporeans is wonderful to have because we start to realise what a small world we live in Singapore and how our perspectives can change for the better after meeting inspirational people along the way. Im lucky to have many International students in my college from the States, Canada and Ireland that I can make friends with and hang out with, because the experience is completely different from hanging out with my Singaporean friends. Also in Ireland, I was forced to make friends with the International students due to the small Singaporean community and the experiences Ive had with them have been worthwhile. Although I hang out mainly with the Singaporeans, I do not have to hang out with them all the time (if I really like this band that are performing in Dublin and none of the Singaporeans want to go with me, Ill ask my American friends and theyll be up for it!). Also, joining societies would allow you to expand your social circle and make many other people other than your coursemates, so I highly recommend that.