Last night, someone asked me what my favorite thing about Singapore is so far. What a hard question, y’know? There are so many amazing things here. So many things I’ve dreamed my whole life about being able to do and see. I could go on and on (and I have) about the trips to gorgeous beaches and the amazing views from the roofs of skyscrapers. I could talk for days about the weather, the trains, the malls, and the buildings. The food, the city, the culture, the traveling… the past few weeks have been some of the best weeks of my life. I love it all.
But my favorite thing? If I had to choose just one?
There is something about this entire experience that glues all of the rest together. There is something, which if it were lacking, would make all of the other things almost not worth the trip over here. That thing, my favorite thing about all of this, is the people.
The vast amount and variety of people that I have met from all around the world is absolutely mind blowing. I’ve met people from Canada, Mexico, Croatia, The Netherlands, Armenia, Iran, Egypt, England, France, Italy, Colombia, China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Vietnam, Thailand, The Philippines, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Australia… you get the point. And every single day I meet more.
I suppose I thought that while I was in Singapore I would have an amazing opportunity to trek through Southeast Asia and learn all about the culture here. I knew that I was going to have life-changing experiences while backpacking through forests, seeing sights like Angkor Wat, and navigating the streets of foreign cities. But I never imagined that on this tiny island nation, I would find so much of the rest of the world, too.
It’s so amazing to me that there are so many people here that are all here for the same reason: to learn about cultures different from their own. It’s so amazing to me that while I’m being fascinated by the wonders of Southeast Asian culture, I have so many people right by my side with the same sparkle in their eye.
But that’s not even the best part. The best part is that I don’t just get to learn about Singapore and Southeast Asia. By being around so many diverse people, I get to learn about Croatia, and Canada, and Russia, and Holland, and China, and the whole world. And I get to share everything about Texas and America with everyone, as well.
Back at home it sometimes feels like people are just at college because that’s the normal thing to do after you graduate high school. But here, it’s not like people come to Singapore because it’s the usual thing that people do. No, people come to Singapore because they want to learn and have experiences that they would never have otherwise. People come to Singapore because they have a passion for learning, and I just love meeting people like that. People here just seem to have a spark in them that I have rarely found anywhere else. It’s inspiring. It makes me want to be smarter and kinder. It makes me want to see more of the world and meet more people. It makes me want to be better.
Don’t get me wrong, now. I miss everyone back home more than I can express. I love Texas, I love UT, and I know that there are people at home that are just as passionate and inspiring as here. I guess it’s just taken a trip around the world for me to realize that.
And I guess that’s another amazing thing about being here: knowing that when I leave this place, I won’t be returning the same way I left. I’ll have made lifelong friends from every corner of the earth. I’ll have seen things that will change the way I see life at home. I’ll have learned things that will change every relationship with every person in my life.
Yeah, that’s my favorite thing. That’s definitely my favorite thing. Nothing else even compares.