When news first broke that Hong Kong was being taken off of our fall break itinerary, many participants in my program were upset and downright mad. Hong Kong is an extremely famous city-territory in Asia and is known for having one of the strongest economies in the East. Beyond that, it is home to both Cantonese people and food, which meant for some in my program, seeing family and friends. We would later come to find out that the Hong Kong trip was being replaced by Singapore.
At the first thought of Singapore, I said to myself, “Hmmm… Never considered going there before, but it should okay.” Upon arrival, my expectations of Singapore were blown away with its large amount of diversity and greenery. Before we all knew it, we would come to learn that Singapore is absolutely AMAZING!
One of the world’s three city-states next to Monaco and De Vatican City, Singapore is about the size of New York City. Still very young, the country gained its independence from Malaysia in 1965 and is now home to about 5.3 million (3.8 million permanent residents and 1.45 million non-permanent residents). Known as the “The Little Red Dot” or “The Lion City,” Singapore is primarily made up of a 74% Chinese majority with also a 13% Malay and 9% Indian population as well. Though the statistics say one thing, I was faced with a diverse body of individuals everywhere I went. A secular society that does not place any one religion over the other, Singapore prides itself as being a home for everyone and is ruled by a strict code of ethics that allow it to remain a modern metropolis.
Now to the good stuff! If you want excellent food, great shopping, and a view from the tallest infinity pool in the world, then Singapore is the place for you. Allow me to reiterate, the food is perfection! I literally had some of the best seafood that I’ve ever had in my life in Singapore and was able to sip sweet tea while doing so. It was almost felt as if I were back home in the South. After eating my life away on cuisine from every part of the world (including Popeye’s), I was able to visit the botanical gardens, aquarium, and beach. While manmade, the beach was the perfect place for us to hang out and relax. That’s not all though, Singapore even has one of the best zoos in the world and a mini Universal Studios. I could not think of one thing that the city failed to plan out or provide.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention, despite Singapore’s greatness, the city is extremely hot, so please have your air conditioners and fans ready. Overall, Singapore would make for the perfect vacation spot or home for anyone. The city has dedicated itself to being not only architecturally beautiful, but also functional and green (almost every building has a green space and there are even nature reserves). While I may seem a bit sprung, Singapore was an amazing city and I could not be happier with IES Abroad’s decision to replace Hong Kong. What started out in doubt and apprehensiveness, my visit to Singapore would easily become one of the best experiences of my life.
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<p>Jonathan Thibeaux hails from Lafayette, LA and is a 5th year biology major at Morehouse College. A self-proclaimed "media enthusiast, writer, motivator, and certified dreamer,” he is working hard to catapult himself from a pre-medical past into the world of media and television. At Morehouse, he served as the Senior Co-Chair of the Campus Alliance for Student Activities, Co-Campus Based Leader for the Gates Millennium Scholar Group, Maroon Tiger Columnist, and Presidential Ambassador. Choosing to defer his degree for a year, he will be spending a year in Shanghai, China and Cape Town, South Africa for an immersive educational experience. Through his blog and affiliations he hopes to provide a safe and inspiring space for teenagers and adults to document and experience their lives, without the pressure to conform to social constructs. He hopes to one day work in Marketing as a television executive and possibly even becoming the talent of his own show. This fall he will be blogging for Shanghai, China.</p>