Before my 21st birthday, I had never left the United States and my travels in the country were not extensive. Last May, I went to Vienna for the Vienna Summer School May term through Hope, and that was my very first airplane ride! When I came to Singapore and started talking to people here, I realized travel is the norm here. In the weeks and days leading up to a break (Fall break, Thanksgiving break, and Christmas break), people don’t ask each other what they are doing or even what they have planned for the break. Instead, the question is, “where are you going for break?”
The response typically goes something like this…
“Oh, we are going to Korea to visit so-and-so…”
“We’re going Thailand again…”
“We’re visiting a friend in Japan…”
“We’re spending a relaxing weekend in the Maldives…”
And the list goes on! Many of my students have been to so many more countries than I have been in my whole life. Granted, I am working at an American school with expatriate families (families who live outside their native country) and Singapore is a wealthy country as a whole, so I am sure it is not this way for all families. But with other countries being so close and flights being fairly inexpensive, travel is easy and expected.
Oh, how I wish I had more time here to explore all the surrounding countries! However, in just 10 weeks, I have been to a total of 4 countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia. Each of these countries gave me a new understanding about the world and about how different cultures work and the incredible diversity in the world. I suppose I will just have to come back to Asia at some point to do the rest!