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Succeeding Against The Odds

Succeeding Against The Odds

When he first arrived in Singapore at the age of 18, international student Hla Min Swe was faced with many challenges, but that didn’t deter him from pursuing his goal of completing his Diploma in Management Studies at SIM.

Having lived in Myanmar all his life, Min Swe found it difficult to adapt to life in Singapore on his own. As English was not his first language, Min Swe also struggled with communicating in the language.

“I left Myanmar to come to Singapore because I was convinced that SIM was the right place for me to pursue a career in business, having come here previously on a study tour. However, I found it difficult to adapt to my new surroundings and communicate with others as I wasn’t well-versed in the English language,” said Min Swe.

Thankfully for him, Min Swe found a new group of friends who helped him to settle in quickly after he joined the My(Myanmar)-SIM club. Through the club, he met many students from Myanmar who helped him adjust to life in Singapore.

Min Swe also worked hard in his studies to learn the English language. He paid close attention during lessons and turned to his lecturers for advice whenever he needed it.

During the course of his studies, Min Swe became more confident in speaking English and formed new friendships with many of his classmates who came from various countries.

Fast forward to a year and a half later and he has not only settled in to life in Singapore but also excelled in his studies. Min Swe has also been appointed as the Vice-President of the My-SIM club. In this role, he currently helps to organise events and activities for Burmese students and helps new students to settle into life in Singapore.

“I find it meaningful to be a part of this club. It’s my way of giving back to the community. When students come from overseas, they often feel shy, so we want them to know that we will be there for them. We will assist them in every way we can till they feel comfortable,” he shared.

Min Swe pictured at the Taekwondo booth with his friends during a CCA recruitment drive
Min Swe pictured at the Taekwondo booth with his friends during a CCA recruitment drive.

Apart from being involved in the My-SIM Club, Min Swe has also developed a passion for Taekwondo. He shared that it has enabled him to develop his character and taught him good values such as respect. “I have never been a sporty person, but martial arts has always interested me so I decided to join the club when SIM held its Student Involvement Drive. Taekwondo has taught me a lot about respecting individuals no matter where they come from or what their belt level is. You have to always respect your opponent before and after a fight. This is a value I carry with me in every aspect of life and it has made me a better person.”

Min Swe’s dream of pursuing his career in business is very much alive. Having completed his diploma studies, he has enrolled himself in the Bachelor of Science (Honours) Business Management course at SIM-University of Birmingham. He hopes to help his family business and one day venture out on his own to start a Food and Beverage business after his studies.

Looking back, Min Swe is grateful for the many opportunities to learn new things in SIM. “The experience here has been eye-opening. The diploma programme has empowered me to learn across cultures and taught me holistic skills which prepare me for the future workplace. I’m also thankful for the wonderful friendships I have developed and am grateful for these experiences which have shaped me as a person,” he said.

Posted online, 21 July 2016