Singapore is one of those cities you want to visit again and again. The city has given me so much, from friends who turned into the family to thrilling experiences, happiest days, worst days, and many more. How did I happen to go to Singapore? Why Singapore? What happened in Singapore? Yes, these all questions ran through my mind as well.
In 2016, I completed my Engineering with first class. As I belong to a typical Indian family, people kept on asking me one question — Now what? I had no idea what to say about this! As I was happily helping my sister after her post-delivery and was completely engrossed playing with the little kiddo.
One fine day a lady from an agency called me and asked if I’m interested in pursuing a Master’s course from an international university. She kept on explaining to me a couple of courses and information on hand full-on international universities. After the call, a handful of thoughts were running in my mind. I, myself started searching for a few international universities along with the courses they offered. And finally, I got the answer to what I want to do. Meanwhile, an uncle of mine kept on saying “You must go to Singapore — It’s an amazing as well as safe city.”
Although I had been to Singapore in 2011 for a short vacation, I was not prepared to take the step. Dozen of things changed after I had word with the same lady for the second time. We had a family session in which we finalized my decision to pursue masters. After the discussion with my family, I applied for this course named Masters of Science in International Business Management. The university selected was PSB Academy, Singapore but the degree awarded was by Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Things eventually were in perfect places.
29th January 2017, I turned 22. Celebrating my half birthday with my family, even though it was hard I waved goodbye and was all set for the new journey. Mixed feelings, smile on face but was damn nervous. Goosebumps! A lot of thoughts, ideas, and a sense of responsibility was already within me.
As I landed in Singapore, the service and the nature of Singaporeans made me fall in love with the city at first glance. I was all set to enroute Singapore. I visited the university, walked around, and started exploring the MRT as well. I was happy to see a few faces from my country studying with me in the same class. We introduced ourselves, and the induction program started with the very first question — Why did you select Singapore for pursuing this course? Instantly, the people from my country and I replied — It is pretty much nearer to our home country. With such a question and answers it was a fruitful discussion.
We had three semesters. In the first semester, being homesick, I was not much keen to explore the city. The first semester went off well as I scored good grades. I was back home in the break for a few days. After enjoying the fullest with the family, again it was way more difficult to say goodbye to them. Starting with the second semester, I noticed a few more faces from my country. Eventually, we had a nice group of people from my country. We started roaming around, exploring the city, and trying out different stuff in the city. As all were foodie we tasted many different cuisines from kaya toast to mango sago.
Universal Studios, a place where you can go more than a thousand times. Being students, we purchased a six-month pass of Universal Studios. All the rides made us go crazy. The parade and the roadshows were magnificent. Every visit to this place was mesmerizing.
The one area which took my breath away — Clark Quay. What was eye-catching here? Was it the view? Or the clubs? Or the boat-shaped hotels? Or simply the sight of friends chilling out and laughing from the bottom of their heart with no regrets and no tension? Maybe all of these things made me fall in love with the city again.
Also, the one street which saved me. Yes, a street named Bugis was an amazing one. All things in one place. From hair clips to shoes, from mobile covers to handbags, from customized gifts to chilled mango shake, it had everything to content one’s heart.
Up till now, I had visited half of the city. Each time I visited any place, it made me fall in love with the city. May it be a day view or a night one! May it be rainy or scorching hot, I was completely in love with the city. By now with good grades, I had completed the two semesters of my master’s course.
On my second vacation, I had been to London to visit my darling sister. As the days passed away I was about to start with my final semester in which we had to write a thesis for dissertation. I along with my two friends decided to rent an apartment for the last semester. I was back in Singapore and all set for the last and final semester. We were happy as the apartment was in the peak city area. Little India, Bugis, Raffles were hardly a few minutes away.
Whenever we missed home food we had Little India as a getaway. From typical South Indian food to North Indian food, all hotels were situated in this area. We visited this area quite often. A temple was located in this area, and I use to occasionally worship it. Mustafa — a 24 hours open mall where one can get all the stuff under one roof, was near to this area. From Indian spices to gadgets it had everything.
By now I had started with the dissertation. Meanwhile, we had a nice group of a few people. Spending time with all friends we eventually turned into a family. We also celebrated Diwali and other Indian festivals. We were feeling at home. Among all my friends, I and a friend of mine became best of friends. Also, a friend of mine turned into my brother and I being his sister helped each other a lot. My brother, best friend, and I started roaming and exploring places that were left out.
Once we happened to visit Marine Bay Sands. A tall building, famous attraction of Singapore, was hardly a few minute’s walks away from my university. As we were passing by, we noticed a fountain show with amazing lighting. The view was superb. We sat on the stairs and watched the show till the end. Then entering into Marina Bay Sands, we were excited to see the best brands but more astonishing was the architecture of the building.
Who doesn’t like the beach? Yes, we did visit the two-three beaches in Singapore. Another reason which made me fall in love with the city. Punggol beach was my favorite. Silence all around and one can experience peace here. Whenever I missed my family or felt low, this place was the one that helped me to be normal and boost myself. Sitting on the bench, earphones with silent music and coffee in hand, and watching this charming view was the best scene I ever had. Sometimes my best friend accompanied me to this place. Then the earphones were replaced by our talks.
By now I had almost covered visiting the full city. People added and subtracted, grades kept on fluctuating on the higher side, but my brother and best friend were still constant. Submitted the dissertation and said good-bye to the city. Yes, it was indeed difficult. But I came back to Singapore for a few days again for hunting a job.
In March 2018, I had to say good-bye to the most beautiful place I had ever visited. By now I was connected with the city. From being just a city it became my city. The journey in this city was truly a rollercoaster ride. Now forever I had to say bye to the city. With tears in eyes but with contented heart I waved goodbye to the city and boarded the flight.
This city gave me a lot. It made me a better person, an independent individual, and a strong girl. It transformed me completely.
A bucket full of memories and heart full of willingness to fly back to Singapore again, I think of those golden days. Was it the view of the city? Was it me being an independent and strong girl in this city? Were my friends the reason? What made me love this city? Maybe the answer is — Because it’s Singapore!
- Riya Gote — Founder of Scriberlee