February 10, 2017

Term 1 Round Up: Part 2

A giant Christmas tree outside the Warwick Arts Centre.

For winter celebrations, I decided to go with my AIESEC friends to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. Although we got lost initially, we had a whale of a time and got to know each other much better as well.

AIESEC Outgoing Global Talent (OGT) #team
Farewell to Amine, an exchange student from Morocco who was a close friend to all of us!

Going on all the rides and screaming my heart out, on top of eating all sorts of good food, was a great experience. Furthermore, it’s always nice to be in London with friends, so what could have made this experience better? I’m really glad I went.

Churros with Nutella drizzled over
Hot Chocolate with whipped cream and a wafer

And now that I’m back in Warwick after a long (and in my opinion, well-deserved) Christmas break, winter has brought a cool air upon the school. Everyone is swishing about in their fashionable overcoats and parka jackets, and there are no more leaves littering the walkway: even the trees are bare but elegant in their own way.

Library Road in winter (without snow, though)

Makes it hard not to love Warwick, really. Till next time.

Term 1 Round Up: Part 1

Following up from the previous post, the rest of Term 1 has been a crazy whirlwind of events, and I’d like to round them up here.

First of all, as part of the Scholar’s programme, Iffah and I were taken to watch The Nutcracker at the Hippodrome theatre in Birmingham, and thence to dinner at Milano restaurant.

Curtain call for The Nutcracker

The show was a feast for the eyes and ears, and a new experience for me as I had never watched a ballet performance before. The way in which the performance overloaded our senses with multiple coloured costumes and elegant moves coupled with the music was extremely admirable.

We had dinner at Milano restaurant and that was an exposure to dinner in a slightly more formal setting. While the food was tasty, the atmosphere and the company Iffah and I had (the other scholars) was lovely and conversation was interesting. Overall, I believe it’s safe to say that we had a good experience and will definitely hope to be taken to more of these cultural events!

Next up, Warwick Jailbreak: a charity event in which we raise at least £60 per person, which goes directly to the Breast Cancer Foundation. However, we were challenged to travel as far away from campus as possible without spending ANY of our own money on transport (ie by hitchhiking or earning money from strangers), all within 36 hours. It sounded meaningful, fascinating as well as a great activity to get to know some friends better.

The Breakfast Club: Doug, Nicola, Augustė and myself at the piazza

We decided to dress up uniquely like breakfast items as well as to perform in public along our journey. Being dressed so outstandingly (peanut butter and jelly toast, milk and cookies) helped us greatly in our quest to explain our cause and get contributions from strangers. Of course the delicious brownies that Augustė thoughtfully prepared sold like hotcakes as well!

With Nicola at the Cambridge Market Square
With Augustė at Birmingham New Street Station

While I’d like to say that we managed to get out of the UK, we were held back by the Guy Fawkes’ night (4 Nov) protests in London and by the time we came up with another plan, it was too late. So we just made our way to Cambridge, which had beautiful scenery, and we truly enjoyed it…but just in case our friends asked us how far we got, we were ready to say that we got to the Bahamas. We even have a picture to prove it (definitely NOT photoshopped).

The Breakfast Club in the Bahamas

But besides the laughs and the opportunity to travel for free, we got to know each other much better and we still meet for regular meals . I feel that this kind of friendship (which looks beyond cultures) is what Warwick offers all students, and I’m glad to say that Warwick Jailbreak was truly a memorable experience.

Over the course of the term, Singsoc also organized a potluck event as well as a Christmas dinner at a restaurant in Leamington Spa.

Gerald and I in the middle of a yummy mouthful of food at the potluck event.

While we Singaporeans see each other around, I believe most of us made it a point to socialize with other friends instead of sticking with the Singaporeans. Therefore, events like this were great for us to interact and catch up with the Singaporeans who we hadn’t seen in a while. And of course, it was the best opportunity to figure out whose cooking skills had improved the most as well!

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset
First years at the Christmas dinner!

Both the potluck and the Christmas dinner also gave us first years a chance to get to network with the senior students a bit better. I feel happy that even amongst our busy schedules we still set time aside to get together once every few weeks, and that this will definitely keep Singaporeans a feeling of home away from home.

Speaking of which, I was surprised by a little birthday celebration organized by flatmates and friends. Having spent my birthday away from home once before while on military training in Brunei some years ago, I was prepared to spend an eventless day preparing for my seminars and submitting assignments. However, my friends pooled together and planned a surprise dinner-cum-celebration for me.

A homemade cheese cake made by Justin, topped with popcorn. Spells “HB 21”.
A cute card that my fellow AIESECers signed off individually.

Indeed, I was so surprised that I did not think of snapping any pictures besides one of the cake. Never one to appreciate the whole excitement over birthday celebrations in general, the fact that I meant enough to my friends for them to even consider planning something like this meant a lot to me. In that sense, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have found my core group of friends relatively fast: in fact, we made the decision to live together in our second year already. More on that in a future post! But once again, I felt that turning 21 with friends was almost the same as spending it with family and I’m thankful for the good friends I made at Warwick.

(continued in Part 2)

November 14, 2016

The sixth week

Today is Day 48 since I arrived at Warwick. I haven't posted in a few weeks, but that simply means this one will be longer - so much has happened since.

Firstly, the weather has been beautiful ever since I've been here. I won't deny that it has been a slight challenge adapting to the colder weather in Autumn here (with layers and layers of clothes/coats/scarfs, no doubt), but something that I still cannot adapt to completely is the gorgeous scenery. Here's a shot I personally took on campus, along Library Road:


As cliché as it might sound, every time I walk past this scene, I take it all in silently and am truly thankful to be here. I cannot stress how much this scene soothes my tired eye on my way to and from lectures. And by that, I don't mean that the academic load is too stressful in any way! We've had a couple of online tests in the past two weeks, and I genuinely feel that it is a fantastic method to let us know how we are coping with the course content. On the other hand, the various extra curricular activities that I've been involved in have been time-consuming, yet extremely satisfying and enriching.

Firstly, AIESEC. It is the world's largest youth organization with connections in numerous countries around the world. Their sole purpose is to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for all countries, which were developed in conjunction with the UN. This is done through linking up students with volunteering and professional internship opportunities with partner firms/countries around the world. As part of AIESEC Warwick, I am involved in the Outgoing Global Talent (OGT) function, which focuses mainly on educating our fellow students about the professional internships, and at the same time guiding them through the whole process should they decide to take up the challenge.


On 15th October 2016, I was invited to attend the day-long 2016 AIESEC Regional Induction Conference at Nottingham, and I must say it was truly an eye-opening experience. Besides the fun I had through the various activities along with the opportunity to meet, network, and make new like-minded buddies, there was one underlying message that I took away.


This resonated with me partly because it is something that I feel strongly about as well. Having taken the tough decision to study so far away from family and friends, I can either chose to let it hold me back, or I can use that as motivation to push myself and make the most of my experience since I'm already here. It is such a phenomenal mindset to have, and it is one that I am working towards.


On the 17th October 2016, Iffah and I both were invited to the Warwick Scholars' reception to network with other scholars as well as members of staff, including Mary! It was fascinating to observe the diversity of scholars whom Warwick supports on a yearly basis. I was also surprised to see a few friends/seniors who were benefitting from the scholarship and at the same time were holding executive positions in a number of societies (they were basically what others would label as overachievers). It gave me a further sense of purpose and drive to achieve as much as possible from a Warwick experience. And at this point I had my greatest takeaway from this reception:


There are no excuses for me to not develop my passions/interests/character because there are simply so many chances to do so. Thus I was proud to be amongst this excellent society of scholars. In fact, we were invited to go to the Hippodrome Theatre in Birmingham to watch The Nutcracker, performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet on the 7th December, and I am very excited for that event, which Iffah and I will both be attending!

Iffah and I

Deepavali was also a time of celebration for me, and this was honestly unexpected. I attended a cultural event at the Warwick Arts Centre on the day of Deepavali, which was jointly organized by a few of the Indian societies in Warwick. There were tasty Indian desserts and fantastic cultural performances including dances and songs: it was great to see all my Indian friends celebrate together.

After which we headed to the nearby temple in Coventry to do prayers and had dinner at the temple, a treat in itself. Not to let the night end on a low, we went to the nearby field and watched the fireworks which were prepared and played with sparklers! I must say that initially I didn't expect much on Deepavali day because I was away from home and felt sad even that I couldn't spend Deepavali with family. But through the celebrations I made new friends, enjoyed appetizing authentic Indian cuisine, and overall, felt like I was celebrating Deepavali back home. Deepavali this year was really interesting and I'm looking forward to next year's celebration already :)


Overall, it has been a fantastic experience thus far at Warwick and even though it's been really fulfilling for me, I feel slightly upset that time is passing so quickly because I'm enjoying myself a great deal. However, it also means that everyday that passes here is a day closer to seeing my family, who I miss more than I thought I would. In that sense, I suppose there is always something positive to look forward to no matter how dim the situation. So here's to making the most out of the rest of Term 1 at Warwick!

October 06, 2016

The first week

Writing about web page https://chandramusings.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/the-first-week/

I believe words are insufficient to explain the exhilaration I felt when I first got out of the cab close to the Student Union building. There I was on my first day at Warwick, standing in awe of the hustle and bustle and unfathomable racial diversity, all contained in one place around me. So many students walking to and fro, looking just as lost as me, yet just as excited to get started as me. And as I pulled my luggages and moved to my destination, I couldn’t help but grin to myself and get all excited inside about how many new people I would meet and friends I would make: and so I made my way through the rest of the first day.

Let me fast-forward to today, day 9. Over the past week or so, I have met countless international students from all over the world and been educated about various cultures. The Bulgarian Moussaka (a potato/eggplant based dish layered with ground meat), the grand Folk Dance Festival of Lithuania held once every four years and lasting for 3 whole days, and did you know that Slovenia has a population of merely 2.06 million people even though being 29 times the size of Singapore? I have never been more fascinated, and this diversity absolutely blows my mind. I can’t help feeling that the more I connect with everyone around me, I am learning more in this short span of time than ever before in the past 20 years of my life. For that, I am appreciative, and certainly look forward to much much more in time to come.

For tonight, I’m just thanking my lucky stars I was fortunate enough to choose to come to Warwick.

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