Hello! I am Ashley, and I am honored to be given the opportunity to attend the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, or otherwise known, less as a tongue-twister, as UWC-USA.

 

I am an avid lover of animals, autumn leaves, indie pop and alternative rock, and often find myself fan-girling over Taylor Swift. I'm the classic "guaikia", as my friends love to call me: the kid that always sleeps at 10pm and has a curfew. On days I am not born down by the load of homework and lack of sleep imposed by school, I find myself exploring the world of baking, experimenting with recipes ranging from cupcakes to cinnamon rolls to pies, or helping out at a local animal shelter or at a Meet-the-People's Session.

 

Music, literature, sports, and global affairs are also huge interests of mine. Although at some point a liability in my school life, playing the piano/ piano music has been one of my most treasured art forms of expression, and I still enjoy searching for more and more challenging pieces to perform. Literature is the other, and on tired bus rides home where my chest is tight and heavy or fuzzy and warm, I romanticize tropical showers in poem-writing.

 

When I am not immersed in the world of art (I also have a hidden geeky interest for biological sciences) , I am training, three times a week, in the school badminton team, or going for runs in the nearby park. Sports (particularly badminton, although I do enjoy frisbee, netball, and long-distance running) has always been a huge part of my life, and has given  me 

the invaluable experience of both failure and success, and teams of friends that I still hold very close to heart. 

I found that global affairs was a passion of mine when I attended my first such class in secondary school, and realized that there were bigger things that I wanted to do, beyond school and beyond my comfort zone. I soon found myself researching on very real international affairs online, and decided to find a platform to lobby, with people of similar interest and drive in these issues, and ventured in Model United Nations (MUN) conferences. Having had no debate background and a horrifying fear of public speaking, I tapped on my growing interest for international affairs and decided to try things out. Now, it has become a necessity for me to participate in MUNs every school holiday. 

 

Despite the accolades I may have received, I am still merely a 17-year-old girl who is still unsure of what direction in life she should proceed towards. I haven't a clue what I'd specifically like to pursue, and am still naturally insecure and unsure of my capabilities. But I guess sometimes it is imperative we make decisions that we'd never imagine us making ten years ago, like how I did to start for MUNs, and consequently began to realize that understanding international policies and affairs, and possibly driving change in this world was something--although seemingly far-fetched--I wanted to aim towards. 

 

And tapping on only my "childish, idealistic" dream to lead positive change, I researched long and hard on the ideals of the United World College movement and applied. It was possibly the best decision I've ever made, and I've learnt so much about myself and my role in this global society in just the application process. Imagine what the next two years would bring! 

 

I am incredibly excited to embark on this promising journey. Being homesick would be inevitable--after all, I've stayed in Singapore for all of my life, and I am awfully comfortable with ordering a Teh C and exchanging polite conversation in Mandarin-English (Singlish, essentially) with the next aunty in the lift. I truly love this city and the potential that is brimming in its heart. I simply cannot wait to have the chance to have this daring and promising experience to represent my dear home country, develop myself as an individual, and discover my role in the international community in the near future.  

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