by Bryan Soh ’18
TASIS is a school that understandably boasts of its vision of “international-mindedness,” as it is not common to find a school where 61 nationalities are represented in a cohort of 720 students. The spirit of internationalism courses through every TASIS student’s blood. It is indeed an incredibly international place when it comes to meeting different nationalities and cultures. However, I never truly realized how eager my schoolmates are to immerse themselves in another country and culture—ready for anything it throws at them—until this Spring Break.
Russia and Singapore have always been on amicable terms in bilateral relations, and I can relate to this on a personal basis. I have gotten along with many of my schoolmates, of many nationalities, including Russia. This Spring Break, a friend of mine from Russia agreed to pay a one-week visit to Singapore after all the praise I had for the country I still call home. I was exhilarated when she agreed to do so, as it was the first time I could show a friend around my own country. We spent weeks prior to the trip preparing and planning the attractions and foods we wanted to visit and taste. I had never been so excited for a trip back home before.
April 10, 2017 • 07:00
“Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to Changi Airport, Singapore.”
My heart felt like bursting out of its chest, and I could not wait to get off the plane and go meet my friend. Jet lag had no effect on me as my excitement kept me well awake. Once I landed, I made a beeline for the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where my friend was staying. We finally met up, albeit after a 3-hour wait because she overslept—which remains one of the funniest memories of the trip.
|This spirit of internationalism is all the more important in our contemporary pluralistic society, and TASIS teaches us how to be earnest learners of the world.|
The next few days consisted of us waking up early in the morning—or at least trying to, if you consider ten in the morning early, not mentioning the time we took to have breakfast—and rushing between attractions, food centers, and shopping malls. From Universal Studios, Sentosa Island, and Gardens by the Bay to Haji Lane, Suntec City Mall, and Orchard Road, we visited my favorite places to hang out, have fun, and unwind in the sometimes-chaotic hustle-and-bustle of Singapore. We even visited places I have never been to before, such as the Gudetama Cafe (a theme cafe named after the famous Japanese Gudetama egg character), the MegaZip at Sentosa (a mega-zipline that goes over the canopy, and sea, in Sentosa), and the Extreme Swing in Clarke Quay. It was pretty ironic that I learned even more about my own country from touring with a supposed “tourist.” It was surprising how, through my own tour, I discovered so many new things to do and eat in Singapore. Bringing a Russian friend around my home country, trying the foods from all the different cultures that coexist in it, made me realize how the spirit of internationalism was realized in an environment of multiculturalism.
Her one-week stay flew by in front of our eyes, and soon enough she had to leave for Moscow. We exchanged reluctant goodbyes as I sent her off at the airport. On the one hand, I felt disappointed because I did not get to show her many other fantastic places to eat, while on the other, I was extremely satisfied that I got to show a friend around my country. Knowing that she thoroughly enjoyed her stay made me all the more elated. While in the taxi on the way home after sending her off, it did make me think about how TASIS has truly inculcated the spirit of international-mindedness in us, making us so keen to immerse ourselves in different environments, willing to take whatever crazy tastes and experiences this new cultural environment throws at us. This spirit of internationalism is all the more important in our contemporary pluralistic society, and TASIS teaches us how to be earnest learners of the world. And Angelina, if you are reading this, thank you for the trip of my life. I absolutely loved it. I hope you did too. Next stop this summer: Moscow.