I’m Heather Hong, an 18-year-old who is extremely excited to start the next chapter of my life in UWC-USA this August. UWC was personally the last thing I expected to happen to me, because I had always thought I would just go through the Singapore system and take my ‘A’ levels. Unlike others who have dreamt about UWC for their entire childhoods, I only found out about it through an Instagram post by Jolene Lum, who attended UWC Adriatic in 2013. She may not have thought much of it when she first pressed the “post” button, but it was a miracle that changed my life forever.
I decided to give the scholarship a try after deeper research and discussion with my parents, and when I received that call in the last week of Term 1 in March, only then had I known that I had gotten the only full scholarship offered this year to UWC-USA. Now, I can’t wait to be of service to UWC and the people I meet there. I hope that my love for music and my identity as a Singaporean becomes a big part of this service, for the reasons that follow:
I deeply love music. Exposed since a young age with local radio broadcaster Gold 90 FM rolling in the background, it is now an integral part of my life. Music has added a lot of colour and beauty to my life and has led me to many people sharing the same passion. In fact, it was the glue that brought my three-piece acoustic band together (where I play thecajón), which was one of the highlights of my school life at River Valley High School. I fell deeper in love with music after every performance with Glen N Frens, and the greatest reward of music is in sharing its beauty with people.
Music aside, one would be surprised to know that I used to be a national rope skipping champion in primary school, clocking 70 plus double-unders in half a minute.
A local tradition that is close to my heart is the coffee-shop culture where people enjoy a leisurely breakfast with loved ones, complete with the typical breakfast set of kaya toast with butter, coffee or tea, and two soft-boiled eggs. It is a dying culture practiced primarily by the older folks, and is a nostalgic characteristic of Singapore that foreigners usually do not know about. I will miss the coffee-shop culture when I leave Singapore; in fact, it aches to know that there are so many things I’ll have to leave behind when I embark on my UWC journey. However, I know that there are greater things out there as I step into this brave new world, ready to embrace what life has to offer.
While the very idea of being part of UWC already makes me tremble with anticipation, what really leaves me with sleepless nights are the people who will be part of my life at UWC. They are the ones who, as an inspiring, motivated and enthusiastic community of youth, will set the stage for a transformative UWC experience. The brief conversations I’ve had with my co-years on Facebook tells me so! It is also my belief that the people I meet in UWC-USA will be the most definitive feature of this College, and nothing excites me more than the privilege to live with them and gain precious insights to carry with me for the rest of my life.
So, UWC, bring it on!