It’s been two weeks since the financial management program for young adults I attended in Singapore ended, yet I still vividly remember all the surreal moments I had.
It was such an awe-inspiring experience meeting so many unique individuals from different countries and cultures. Everyone had his or her own story to share, and each one brought a unique and diverse personality to the mix. There were so many talented individuals that I felt really fortunate just to be in the same room as them.
There was one Indonesian participant who was only 18 yet already finished with her university studies. On the other hand, there was a Singaporean who was just starting his first year of college at 20 because he had to go through two years of national service.
There was another Singaporean who had finished his masters in New York University and was about to start his legal career. And of course, there was all 17 years of me, still enjoying what’s left of my final year in high school.
Quite extreme, huh? Well, the diverse profiles of every individual combined to create an unrivaled learning environment. The advanced thinking skills and maturity of the older participants, fused with the overflowing creativity and youthful exuberance of the young bloods—it was basically the best of both worlds.
Being one of the youngest participants to attend the program and the youngest in my case study group, I tried to learn as much as I could from all the participants and their respective experiences.
It’s amazing how, even if the main purpose of the program was to teach us about financial management, I learned about so much more than just numbers, figures and making profits. I got to learn about the wonders of university life, the beauty of distinct cultures and abstruse practices, and the importance of teamwork and thinking outside the box from our various interactions.
And through our after-program bonding sessions, I also got to learn more about the more complex topics in life such as finding love, starting a family and leaving a legacy in this world. All these, I got to see from a variety of perspectives. I was simply, blown away!
More than anything, however, what this program gave me was a chance to build friendships that will last forever. A lot of us had different interests, and we will all probably take different paths, but the beautiful thing about life is that we actually live in a small world—one small enough that there is a chance that we may end up seeing and working with each other down the road.
Making our world even smaller, though, are the advancements in technology. We now live in such an interconnected world where we can be on opposite sides of the globe, and still be in touch through Facebook and other social networking sites.
Right now, we’re all back to our normal everyday lives. Yet, the five days we all spent together, the friendships we created, and the unparalleled experiences we had are things that no one will ever be able to take away from us.
“We may not meet again tomorrow, the next day, or ever again, but we should all keep in touch, friends forever!”—a quote from a friend of mine before we all parted ways— is one that I will never forget.
Looking at it from the other side of the spectrum, this experience also showed me how big the world is. In just five days, I met 37 unique individuals from eight different countries, all with different backgrounds and personalities.
And yet, there are millions more people out there from countries I have never been to.
We live in a world so vast and enormous, where everyday is a chance to venture to unforeseen lands, climb new mountains, open new doors, meet new people and completely immerse ourselves in all the beautiful experiences that our limitless world offers.
By every measure, my trip to Singapore was not only a learning experience but a life experience like no other. Looking back, even though I missed a lot of school activities just to attend this program, I have no regrets whatsoever.
Combining the lessons I learned, the friendships I made, the novel experiences I had and the memories that I will forever cherish, I can say that it was every bit worth it. Simply put, it was an adventure into a world with no boundaries!