I chose not to pursue a degree in Spanish while at UVA because I had always planned on studying abroad and working on my language in a foreign country. This plan seemed like a good idea until soon before my departure I realized I was about to take a semester worth of Spanish business classes without having taken a Spanish class in 3 years.
Though I was a bit concerned, I was more excited than anything else. I was lucky to have had an amazing AP Spanish teacher in high school where I learned a lot from the majority of the class who were native speakers. It was a fun challenge to see how much I remembered and how quickly it would all come back to me.
“Singapura” is a Sanskrit word meaning “Lion City,” yet another example of Singapore’s ties with the neighboring South Asian region. My first days spent here in the “Lion City” have been nothing short of incredible, but out of all the places I’ve visited and things I’ve done, three moments in particular stand out in this early courting phase with Singapore.
1) “City Tour”
As I prepare myself to leave for Singapore, I have spent time reflecting on my past trips abroad and why they hold such weight in my memory, why they constitute so much in the construction of my own identity. Beyond seeing new places, being exposed to new cultures and ideas, or learning a new language, traveling for me has always resulted in one essential outcome: a deeper understanding of what it means to be human and how important our connection to others is.
I’ll start off by saying that there is not a better time in my life that this opportunity could have presented itself. The chance to go abroad—to leave my life in Charlottesville behind and travel a place completely new and different—is something I never imagined I would actually be able to do. It was a rocky and emotional journey to finally take the jump and commit to a semester away from UVa, my favorite place on Earth. Yet now, two days away from flying to Copenhagen, Denmark for this spring, I could not be more ecstatic for this adventure and thankful that I decided to take the leap of faith.