It was short, but my 10-day training stint with FC Metz was definitely an eye-opening experience.
Even though the French side are in Ligue 2, the club have a fine tradition of developing talented young footballers.
Some of these youngsters who have gone on to make a name for themselves at the highest level include Robert Pires, Louis Saha and Emmanuel Adebayor.
Travelling without adult supervision for the first time with fellow TNP Dollah Kassim Award winner Hazim Faiz, we were reunited with my former National Football Academy teammate Adam Swandi, who showed us around for most of the stint.
I was really impressed by the other young players at the Metz academy, who mostly come from Africa and other areas in Europe. Apart from being physically and technically strong, they think really quickly and play the game at a very fast pace.
Right from the start, I was struck by how the smaller-sized players used their bodies to shield the ball.
The players were also very competitive.
While I'm not saying that we don't compete with each other here in Singapore, over there, the hunger is evident in almost everything they do.
I could see they all wanted to become top professional footballers.
I want the same.
I want to improve and be good enough to break into the Courts Young Lions team next year and I also hope to get into the South-east Asia Games squad as well because next year's event will be at home and that will be a truly special occasion.
While the training sessions in France are not too dissimilar from what we do here, the pace of life there is obviously a lot slower compared to Singapore.
Footballers still have to attend school on top of their training sessions, but lessons aren't as taxing and they have more time to train.