Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?
I went for my first overseas exchange trip at the tender age of 10. I was in Singapore’s National Table Tennis Youth Team, and we were sent to Taiwan to join a tournament. There, I learnt humility. We were used to being the best Singapore had to offer, and yet stood no chance against the paddlers from Kaohsiung’s local. My overall record was 9 losses and 1 win, but my disappointment eventually turned into respect as the Taiwanese paddlers approached us. Their sportsmanship was admirable, and we soon started trading experiences and skill as we trained with each other. At the end of the trip, I walked away with new friends, insights and revelations – the biggest win I could ask for.
In Grade 9 I participated in 5D4N hiking trip up a mountain in Nepal that changed my entire outlook on life. I vividly recall running only on sheer willpower and mental fortitude alone after the first day, for my legs were too tired to even produce feeling. Midway through, we stopped at a small school that people in a nearby village attended. Learning how the students had to make the two-hour hike up every single day, to and fro, made my heart ache, and the appreciation I have had for everything I had in Singapore has carried on ever since. Upon arrival back in Singapore, trivial matters like a small rain on my way home or the soles of my shoes starting to tear suddenly didn’t matter anymore. Most importantly, I would recall the hardship I faced in Nepal whenever I encountered a problem, granting me the strength to move on.
From the cross-country cycling trip in Taiwan to short outdoor exploration trips in Perak to a three-week exchange in Wuxi, China to a solo discovery trip to Sydney, it is an understatement to say that international experiences have shaped the way I think, behave and live. I absolutely cannot wait to share the growth I experienced from every overseas trip, and learn so much more from the melting pot of culture that is California. Published in