Aarti Lilaram, one of the Habib University students who attended the National University of Singapore (NUS) Enterprise Summer Program 2016, writes her travelog.
I opened my curtains and looked out towards the bit of the road that lay in view, with grounds beyond the entrance gates of NUS Sheares Hall. Everyday feels like a bright new day here when I look outside the window and feel the aura of the city around that has hit me…hit me hard and affected me in so many ways.
A part of me thinks that everything is happening a bit too fast and the other says that I really enjoy rollercoaster rides!
The pattern of Singapore stems from the inherent cultural diversity of the island, the place being a mixture of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Caucasian, however, NUS itself bringing in even more diversity as a whole. Every other hour in school as well as outside brings in more experiences, stories, cultures, food, accents, languages, values and a whole lot more.
I have had a pleasurable time learning words from different languages and teaching my own language to my team mates and other facilitators. One of the frequent things we say to each other is ‘nice to meet you’ and in Japanese it sounds extremely cute as ‘Hajimashite’. My Italian friend taught me how to wish ‘Happy Birthday’ in Italian and German and I am very excited to sing it to her on her birthday.
It is also quite unbelievable that Indonesians do not have last names and moreover half of my Indian friends who are South Indian do not speak Hindi. This was so surprising for all of us as Hindi is their national language but at the same time it was interesting to see how their local language is not dominated by their national one and to me this was what made them so inclusive.
Also, everyone here loves to dance and move around, so we all teach each other our favorite moves and start our days with a new move. I am very thrilled to share that all of my summer school peers and facilitators know how to perform my famous banana dance!
It feels wonderful to see everyone trying to learn from each other and living like a family. We all help each other wake up on time even after those hectic sleepless nights, be each other’s moms when we need pep talks, ride together, explore food from different cultures and most importantly, we take care of each other whenever someone feels lonely or homesick.
Even though we all barely just met, we still feel so close to each other and a part of each other’s cultures. We all carry some parts of each other and share several bits of life that are similar in us.
Behind the facade of a modern city, I still find Singapore very different from other western countries, who just concentrate more on commercialization and development. Singapore has grown from a small port country to a sustainable developed nation and that is the most beautiful thing about it. Singapore makes its people think about a bigger picture and the long run, making them value relationships and culture.
P.S: I know how to write my name in 12 different languages, how cool is that?
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