“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”




It has been one month since I have landed in Singapore! I have had so much fun and the past week has been no exception. I officially got my student pass on Monday! It is a card that has my Foreign Identification Number (FIN) and my picture that I can put in my wallet. With the student pass, I could now register with Singpass, the digital ID that every Singaporean uses as verification. My friend and I went to a local community center where we registered for our Singpass account. It worked and now I can access my vaccination documents (certified by Singapore), government websites, and my online version of the student visa. Afterwards, my friend and I went to the Clementi Mall and went to a Japanese market called Daiso. Later, we had Indian food at the hawker center.

On Wednesday, I went to my first office hours appointment! I met with my professor for my International Relations class. The faculty offices are in the same building (called residential colleges) as the student suites. So, I only take the elevator down four floors to see my professor! It really emphasizes the notion of that student-professor relationship, very similar to Vassar. I got to talk to my professor, Prof. Huang, about my interests, the class material, and heard about his career, since I would like to work on foreign policy and diplomatic issues. He was so welcoming and open and I had a great time talking to him.

On Friday, my friends and I surprised and took our friend, Ann, to Little India for a belated birthday treat at a Malayalam restaurant. As South Asians, Ann and I were so excited to visit this neighborhood. When we first stepped onto the place, I got very emotional. I saw signs in Tamil lettering. I saw blocks lined with South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. I could hear Tamil music and knew what the songs were. I almost cried because as someone who lived in an all-white town most of my life, I never thought I could experience Tamil culture and by people who looked like me. It made studying abroad so worth it! Because normally, one would study abroad to experience another culture. But for me, I got to immerse myself in my own culture, something I could only dream of in the States.

To end the week, I met my older cousin! He lives on a work visa in Singapore. He took me to the iconic Marina Bay. I had an awesome time and we instantly connected. We saw the iconic boat hotel, the Merlion statue, and the shopping mall and ate Indian food. It was an absolute dream come true since I always saw the hotel and the Merlion in movies and pictures. But now, sitting right next to the statue, it felt surreal. Again, I was very emotional. Something that I could never put into words.

Journal Title Quote by Henry David Thoreau

Image 1: Street in Little India

Image 2: Marina Bay!!