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Maki Kubota

Peabody Exchange Student at YST

Major: Junior, Cello

Teachers: Alan Stepansky (Peabody) & Li-Wei Qin (YST)

What do you like to do in your free time?
I've been exploring Singapore. The country is big enough to keep you occupied for the full exchange semester! I've also spent a great deal of time trying out delicious desserts at various venues across Singapore. Yes...if nothing else, come for the desserts!

What has been your greatest challenge studying abroad?
It's definitely taken some effort to adapt as quickly as possible to the culture (i.e. act as little like a confused tourist as possible). However, if you find yourself lost amid Singaporean culture, you won't feel alone; a sizable portion of the population is made up of foreigners, making it a very tourist-friendly place.

What is your favorite part about YST and/or Singapore?
Two things that I will definitely miss when I leave Singapore are the food and the YST facilities. I often hear that in NYC, there is always food nearby—Singapore is no different. But unlike NYC, the food is affordable and generally on the healthier side. I will miss the incredible facility that is YST—the spacious, soundproofed practice rooms equipped with Hamburg Steinways along with individual thermometers for air conditioning, the computer lab stocked with brand new Mac Pros with keyboards attached, and the elevators that don't take you 10 minutes to get to your floor.

What advice do you have for students interested in studying abroad in Singapore?
Make friends with the Singaporean exchange students from YST! Everyone is eager to help and for me, the kindness of my YST friends has really shaped my exchange experience into a very positive one.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Bring a towel! When I first arrived at the dorms (around midnight), I immediately took a shower only to realize that I had no towel! I had to use the automatic hand dryer in the bathroom to blow dry my hair, run back to my room still sopping wet and stand still until the rest of me was dry.

Christina Lee

Peabody Exchange Student at YST

Major: Junior, Cello

Teachers: Alison Wells (Peabody) & Li-Wei Qin (YST)

What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy touring around and taking pictures of Singapore. With the fast and easy transportation, I travel every weekend with my friends to go see different parts of Singapore.

What has been your greatest challenge studying abroad?
It was quite difficult to get used to the culture—especially understanding the Singaporean accent. At first, I had no idea what people were saying to me, and it took me about a month to get used to it.

What is your favorite part about YST and Singapore?
My favorite part about YST is studying with Li-Wei Qin. He has helped me technically and musically. In addition to his inspiration, I learned to appreciate music even more and I want to continue working hard to become a great musician like him.

What advice do you have for other students interested in studying abroad in Singapore?
I highly recommend the Singapore exchange program to other students. It has been a great experience and I feel like by going out of my comfort zone, I challenged myself to become a better musician.

Anything else you'd like to add?
If I have a chance to study one more time in Singapore, I would very much like to do so. This was one of the best experiences of my life.

James Ng

YST Exchange Student at Peabody

Major: Junior, Cello Performance

Teachers: Alison Wells (Peabody) & Li-Wei Qin (YST)

What do you like to do in your free time?
Sight-Seeing.

What is your favorite thing about studying at Peabody?
The atmosphere, which promotes learning in an encouraging way, rather than competitively. The old architecture of the school is also cool!

What advice do you have for other students interested in studying abroad?
Do not hesitate, apply! Peabody and YST have different perspectives, which is conducive to becoming a well-round musician. Take this opportunity to travel around the world!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Do not stay in the practice room all the time. Get out and see the world!