13 Jul Singapore: Firsthand Experiences
If I wasn’t excited already then when I received the email confirming my internship abroad, I definitely was when I arrived in the City of Lions. After a whole day of flights, I finally touched down at the Singapore Changi Airport. Even though I arrived a little after midnight, the airport was still full of life. People were still going in and out and all the restaurants were busy. There was such a diverse array of local foods such as chicken rendang and laksa, but a hungry stomach has no preference so I ended up choosing one at random.
Once I met the Absolute Program Director and the other interns who arrived later in the morning, we left the airport, packed our bags into a taxi, and headed outside where I could finally take a good look at Singapore. It reminds me of Hong Kong as we pass by both old fashioned and brand new buildings built beside each other but I notice that everything’s more spread out with lush greenery filling in the spaces. Later that afternoon, the remaining interns arrived and I realized how diverse we were, with interns coming from Indonesia, India, and the United Kingdom. My roommate, who’s currently studying at Brown, came from Somalia.
After breakfast the next morning, we all decided to hit the city. Taking the MRT subway station, I couldn’t help how clean it was. And it wasn’t just one station that was clean. Each and everyone felt brand new like something that’s just been opened right out from a box. We walked all the way to Marina Bay, where we took pictures at the Merlion statue and passed by the Float, an enormous stadium suspended completely on the water. We stopped to grab an ice cream sandwich, which curiously enough was literally a block of ice cream wedged in-between a slice of bread before walking through the Helix Bridge and finally arriving at Marina Bay Sands, an extravagant three-tower resort with an infinity pool on the rooftop and a full-sized mall at the first floor.
The Marina Bay mall in itself was grand. A long strip of water stretch across the bottom floor filled with gondolas and a mix of first-rate restaurants and luxury brand name shops, most notably a three-story Louis Vuitton store, were scattered across all three stories of the mall. To end that day, we all relaxed by the waterfront right outside the mall that overlooked the great cluster of corporate skyscrapers that congregated the cityscape of Singapore. It’s hasn’t been a week since I’ve arrived but I’ve already begun to feel at home.
On my first day of work, I unexpectedly experienced the countryside of Singapore. The hotel where I’m staying is centrally located which I’m glad for. However, my workplace is not. When I first used google maps to look up where I will be working, I had to check my phone again to make sure it wasn’t a mistake, as it stated that it will take over 70 minutes by MRT to get there from my hotel. Our internship coordinator volunteered to come with me so I wouldn’t get lost. I was glad for the company.
When we arrived, almost at the edge of Singapore, we were able to find my workplace where I got to meet both my supervisors, one of whom was the company founder. After a quick introduction and a tour around, I was placed with another intern who studied at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and has been interning here for a month already. When we met, he was operating a laser-processing machine and immediately taught me how to use it. He was exceptionally good at explaining things as by the end of work, I could almost operate the machine myself. Safe to say, I could see myself learning a lot here. Thus begins my wonderful journey as an intern here in Singapore, as I patiently waited on the subway ride back home.