Saturday, 17 March 2012

JUGAS Pre-Departure Orientation

I think it's because the number of Singaporean students studying in Japan is very small, that a strong support network exists. Today, about 6 days before the Embassy Pre-Depature briefing, JUGAS (Japan University Graduates Association of Singapore) held a Pre-Departure Orientation, complete with a really nice bento lunch, to share the experience of past graduates.

And it was a very reassuring experience, especially for my parents. It was all very informal, as we talked over lunch, but from there, my parents got information about how to rent a handphone/SIM card, how to take a train from the airport to the city. I got to meet the other two people that I'm travelling with (we're all in TUFS) as well as the other scholars (including the post-graduate scholars). Everyone is really nice and friendly, and I'm so glad that there's going to be another girl going with me. Having gone to AC, I was half expecting to be the only girl in the group. Now, I'm going with two very smart students (both from Hwa Chong).

The people there are really frank and since some studied there 40 years ago, some 10, some in-between, you really get a feel of what it was like. And you can tell that they all really really like Japan as a country. Besides the words spoken, the fact that they organised, paid for (in both time and money) the whole thing (albeit, with some help from the Embassy of Japan), said volumes about how enthusiastic they are about encouraging students to study in Japan.

Plus, they also want you to join them as an associate member. (But really, the main point is to prepare you for the trip ahead).

This picture of kaya was taken from http://www.kaya.sg/
But now that I've talked to the two students going to TUFS with me, we've managed to plan our omiyage. The pre-arrival information booklet from TUFS mentioned that we have to bring something to introduce Singapore to people. So now, we can coordinate our efforts. If we are allowed to bring food in, I'll be bringing kaya (it's hugely popular apparently and I was going to bring some anyway, not I'll just increase the quantity.), Rena will be bringing Bak Kwa and Nicholas will think of something else to bring. From this, you can see that Singapore is bonded largely by food (and of course, postcards are too disposable. And you just google Singapore and get similar images).

What would you bring to showcase your country? If you want to give some suggestions, leave a comment please :D And please tell me if it's possible to bring foodstuff through immigration.