Contributed by Jerusha Tan
(SP Library Club member)
What is it like to backpack? What are the interesting sights in London? These were what the audience found out during the first [email protected] (Personal Experience Talks) session for students organized by the SP Library Club on 6th of December at the Main Library Colours Zone. Sharing about their recent School of Business UK study trip were two students from the group, Jessy and Cyntalia, who recounted a few highlights of their time spent in London.
For an upfront fee of $1,500, airfare and accommodations were provided. Despite an eight-hour delay during the Brunei transit, the group finally reached London's Heathrow Airport after another transit at Dubai. It was a new experience for Jessy and Cyntalia to stay in a youth hostel. They got the opportunity to bunk and interact with youths of different nationalities.
Along with the independence that comes from backpacking, the students were split into four groups and allowed to explore London on their own for two days. Some groups went to view Buckingham Palace (from behind the gates), while others chose to squeeze in a musical or two, like "Les Misérables" and "The Lion King". A few students even ventured out with a day trip to Stonehenge.
From this experience, Jessy and Cyntalia learned how to be more involved when planning a trip. Instead of just following a guided tour with a chartered bus, the students had to plan their own itinerary, figure how to get around by public transport, and learned how to budget. It was a much more carefree approach as compared to the frenetic pace that often comes with joining a packaged tour group.
After the presentation on their UK trip, which included a few short video clips, the girls opened it up to the floor. It resulted in a very active question and answer session. When asked about what they found hardest on the trip, both quipped that commuting to the airport and back was the worst. One can only imagine how tough it was, especially with such a large group in tow.
They were just as quick to add that the nightlife in London was fabulous. An interesting note is that beer is sold cheaper than bottled water there. The wide variety offered and the amount available made it even more than worthwhile. Beyond the pubbing scene, the shopping in London was a hit with Jessy and Cyntalia. The two ladies managed to bring back some choice souvenirs, while not burning too deep a hole in their pockets!
On the whole, this first [email protected] event was a fruitful session for the participants. The Library Club would like to thank Jessy and Cyntalia for their time and effort, as well as their lecturer, Mr. Siow Chih Wee for proposing this session.