Singaporean narrates his experience rejoining the local education system after living abroad for years

By frostybanana50

When I was 6 years old, I moved to England because my dad was posted there for his work. Looking back, studying there was really beneficial for me in terms of my mental well-being. Maybe it's because I was only in the primary stages of education there, but I remembered how the environment was the exact opposite of competitive. My friends didn't care that much about grades, we played sports almost daily etc. I was also able to excel academically so much so that they shifted me two grades higher there.

After 2 and half years, we moved back to Singapore. I remembered my initial difficulties adjusting back to the Singaporean way of living/studying. For example, I picked up a strong English accent. it wasn't the thick, slightly unintelligible kind, however my classmates simply told me to "stop speaking that way". I also wasn't academically outstanding anymore, in fact I was struggling to catch up with everyone. I also struggled for a long time with my mother tongue, which was Chinese. I failed a lot of exams as I've never studied the language at all in England, so you can imagine the exhaustion resulting from coping and catching up with things. And of course, the syllabus was way more rigorous and I had to take about a year to actually adjust and get used to the rigor of the studying culture here.

Now, I'm almost as "typical" as a Singaporean can get. Undeniably it took a long time, that said eventually I was able to do comfortably well in my studies and even offered Higher Mother Tongue (HMT) in secondary school. I'm able to code switch effortlessly these days too. Looking back, it was definitely a good learning experience for me.

This post was first published over at Reddit Singapore on 5 August 2017. You may wish to participate in the discussion over there.


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