After months of packing and bumbling excitement, I’m finally 19 hours away from landing in the beautiful country of Singapore. Next to me, my mom sits with her Fodor’s Travel Guidebook for the 25 best places to visit in Singapore, amongst them the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Marina Bay Sands and the little islands around Singapore such as Sentosa! I leaf through the book and started my own bucket list- to take a night safari in the world’s first nocturnal zoo, to wander through the streets of Little India and Arab Street, and to learn Singlish- a local combination of English and Singaporean language.
The National University of Singapore does a good job of making resources available to exchange students who want to connect with the locals. Already, I feel like I already know people in Singapore- my exchange pal Glennys, my residential house the Dragons (every third floor of my residential college is named after a winged mythical creature), and activities planned for when I arrive (a welcome tea, an Exchange Student Party), and consistent emails have ensured that I already feel like I’m at home even though I’m thousands of miles away!
Although I’m nervous for the journey ahead, I’m also excited. I’m excited to try new foods (such as baked stingray and durian fruits), meet new people, and grow as a person (I’ve never traveled abroad independently for so long). With my passport in one hand and a luggage in the other, I know I’m ready for the adventure ahead.