How doing an international placement changed my life

Guest Blogger#MyPlacementStory, International Placements, Second Year

When choosing where I wanted to study, I knew I wanted to experience everything the world had to offer; which is why I study my degree at Aston University. Thankfully after riding the sea of applications in my second year, I managed to secure my dream placement of working at TomTom in Amsterdam then proceeding to study at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Here I will tell you the three top things I gained from going abroad!


I truly took living in Lakeside for granted, due to the ideal location of it being only 5 minutes away from everything I needed. Being my classes, the library and even the city centre. Transitioning from that to a 9-to-5 lifestyle with an hour commute on top, I really had to put my life in order. I went from being a guy that slept through classes, to a person who had spreadsheets and timetables for any task in hand. Doing this really allowed me to boost my organisation not only in getting to work on time, but even proving my worth during my internship. 

Cultural awareness

Being a student in Singapore really made me live out my student exchange dreams and explore so many new places. On our off-days and weekends, we would always travel around different countries and delve into their culture. From bargaining with the locals in Ho Chi Minh’s markets to getting lost in caves in Laos, I fell in love with Asia and all it had to offer. A highlight from this was celebrating my 21st at the top of Marina Bay Sands right before heading out to Bali the following night!

Personal Development

I would say this is the most important gem I’ve gained from my placement year. This branching from both my work and study placement. Being a shy, anxious second year at the time, I never would have expected a year abroad would change that. But from attending trade shows with TomTom and involving myself through societies and buddy schemes at NTU, I really felt I found confidence in myself; not only in the way I speak, but in the way I interact with people. As cliché as it sounds, going abroad helped me find myself.

Going international can be quite daunting, but I can assure you all these efforts will be worthwhile. Best of luck with your applications!

Written by Saif Widyatmoko