Student Stories, GRIP, Internships Abroad

Falling in Love With Singapore

August 13, 2019
By Linda Wang, CAS '22

Lien Centre for Social Innovation - Singapore

As an international student, I’ve always known that there is a small chance I won’t be able to get a permanent work visa or a green card, meaning I’ll have to work and live somewhere outside of the U.S. after graduation. I’ve kept my options open: I’ve thought about moving to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Singapore if my H-1B application gets denied. That being said, it’s one of the primary reasons I applied to GRIP. I wanted to dip my feet into one of these cities and see if I could see myself in their culture. 

In the past eight weeks, I’ve really fallen in love with Singapore. Before I came here, I really didn’t know much about the small city-state besides the fact that it was where the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” was shot and that littering can get you a $500 fine. Working as an editorial associate at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, my job description pushed me to learn a lot about Singaporean society, history, and its culture, and I’m so grateful for it. In all my years of traveling, I don’t think I’ve ever been so fully immersed in a culture as I have been this summer. 

Singaporean locals lovingly refer to their city-state as the “Little Red Dot”, because, on a world map, that’s all Singapore looks like. You can drive across Singapore from end-to-end within 2 hours. But Singapore really has it all. It’s an incredibly safe, clean, and accessible nation. The government strives to make the quality of life here as high as possible, and they’ve done a lot to preserve their national identity amidst all the expatriates that have relocated here for a better life. It’s filled with modern high-rise condos and skyscrapers near the central financial district, but alongside them, you’ll also find incredibly well-preserved shophouses that were built at the inception of the nation’s independence. Singapore’s small size also has incredible benefits: every weekend, I took a short 10-minute taxi ride to arrive at the beautiful man-made beaches on Sentosa Island. 

As I’ve repeatedly told my friends, I can really see myself living here after graduation, perhaps even for the long-term. Through GRIP, I’ve been given an opportunity I never would have had the courage to take otherwise and I am so thankful.

Thumbnail

The Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP) provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to intern or conduct research abroad for 8 to 12 weeks over the summer. Participants gain career-enhancing experience and global exposure that is essential in a global workforce. Placements and funding awards are available.