Horns meet world. World meet Shadhi Mansoori. Shadhi is an Honors Neuroscience major at UT, but this summer she’s studying abroad in Singapore in the Global EDGE internship program. So far she’s been there for two months and she already has a collection of memories from her experience and some new insight about the “Lion City” – take a look for yourself.
Singapore’s transformation as one of the world’s leading financial cities in the 50 years since its birth has both amazed and fascinated the world. This city-state’s remarkable fusion of Indonesian, Malaysian, Malay, Chinese, and Western culture on a 277 square mile island made me even more curious to explore the mechanics of its civilization.
Singapore gains unity by encouraging people from different races to live peacefully together (especially by partitioning housing occupancy according to ethnicity), yet social divides seem to be more class related. The fact that nearly every MRT station leads into some sort of indoor shopping mall with a sundry of eateries and stores to explore shows how Singapore’s infrastructure has been built to accommodate both its intense culture of consumerism and its humid weather. Fair warning to anyone who wishes to travel here: Western food can be quite expensive, such as $13 for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s or $22 for a personal pizza. However, local food courts called hawker centers offer cheap, well-portioned Asian style meals for around $5.
During my time here I have spent mornings on walks through the Chinese and Botanic Gardens, afternoons at little coffee shops around town enjoying kaya toast and puff pastries, and nights on top some of the highest rooftop bars and clubs in the world. I have cheered on Thailand in the final football match of the Southeast Asian Games, sang along to a Frank Sinatra tribute by the bay front, and tried Turkish food on Arab Street. I have succumbed (a few times too many) to the clothing sales on Orchard Road, educated myself on regional history at the Asian Heritage Museum, and witnessed a practice of Christian faith at a nearby church. I have observed the corporate life of Raffles Place, sung country songs at karaoke, and waded in the (more than slightly polluted) waters of Sentosa Island. Everyday, either by myself or with the company of another intern friend, I tried to explore the city while observing Asian fashion, trying new food, or surveying the mannerisms and habits of those around me.
More than anything, my time here in Singapore has been enriched by the emergence of new friendships.
The students in the program have motivated me to make deeper observations about social and government interactions in this city. While sharing our experiences, opinions, and stories, I have been challenged by my peers to explore new depths of personal discovery.
I have learned how coding and decoding words and actions can add new meaning to our interactions by influencing the way we portray ourselves and how others come to know us. In learning from these people, I was reminded that I could have a global education and learning experience even just by talking to someone who is from the same state as me.
I wasn’t expecting too much before I came on this study abroad internship because I was afraid of being disappointed when I got here. However, these past two months in Southeast Asia traveling to Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand have been trans-formative beyond words and eye opening to a culture and part of the world I previously new little about.
If you enjoyed reading about Shadhi’s experience in Singapore, be sure to visit the Global EDGE website and explore the opportunities for scholarship-funded internships in Singapore as well as Shanghai. And as always, check in next week to see where in the world our horns pop up next!