I initially embarked on this journey to Singapore to explore more of the world and learn how to become a better global citizen, but while there I ended up learning a lot more than I expected.
I went into this exchange wanting to know more about plant life and world music, as I want to pursue a masters in both ethnomusicology and botany after I finish my BFA/BA in jazz studies and environmental studies, but my trips to the Botanic Gardens and Gardens By The Bay in Singapore made me consider a more specific path of ethnobotany. My plant biology and DNA research classes – which were my first experiences in a laboratory – made me passionate about lab work and gene sequencing, neither of which I had considered before.
In the realm of world music, my class in social and cultural studies through music really contributed to giving me insight into the traditional music of the region with Balinese and Sundanese gamelan being introduced to me for the first time. I was overjoyed to jump in and be able to play the music with a hands-on approach instead of the required heavy theory the Jazz school at TNS requires.
In light of both of my passions becoming more clear, I also doubled-down on a life change that I’d known for a while was something I wanted to do: after the completion of my studies, I’d like to move out of the United States of America. This is something I’ve thought about off and on for years since I started reading about life abroad as a child, but this exchange, and the way Singaporeans have complete trust in their government to do the right thing for them has inspired me. I will be forever grateful to everyone and every institution that made this exchange happen. It was the most peaceful and enlightening learning experience I’ve ever had.
Here is my blog required by the Gilman scholarship that gave me the majority of my funding for this semester: https://www.reachtheworld.org/maxs-journey-singapore