Hi. I am Zuyyin Izza, an 18-year-old who will be leaving the comforts of my home in Singapore to study at Pearson College in Canada for the next two years. I am looking forward to the UWC experience and am extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me.

I am just an average student who spends her day stressing about schoolwork and exams and am always with a earpiece on. Outside of school, I participate in Judo. I have been training for a little over 2 years and learned many values from my coaches. Judo is in the words of its founder, Kano Jigoro, "When yielding is the highest efficient use of energy, then yielding is judo." In other words, it is when the maximum efficient use of one's energy to realise an intended purpose. Alongside this principle, I was introduced to a concept by my coaches. It is the Japanese concept of Ikigai, which means your reason for being or what makes you jump out of bed in the morning. Ikigai is a complex concept, it can be just about anything and is a convergence of four primary elements. The elements are your passion, mission, vocation and profession. For the past 2 years, I have incorporated this concept and principle into my daily life.

All of this led me to the realization that I desire something more than to just follow the conventional educational pathway. Despite being in a country with a strong education system that is highly recognised around the world, I want to learn something beyond what is taught in the classrooms and textbooks. In the midst of my O Level preparations, I stumbled upon it. I found the UWC Singapore National Committee website. After weeks of self-doubt, I got the courage to submit my application and that was the start of an interesting selection process. I did not want to submit my application at first because I never thought I would have made it but here I am preparing to start my UWC journey. So to all prospective applicants, this is a quote from the movie, We Bought A Zoo, "Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it."

Now as I am preparing to leave Singapore, I can't help but think of all the things that I will miss about this bustling city. Singapore is a strange mix of tradition and modernisation and a mix of so many cultures that it ended up creating its own unique culture. I will miss the diverse food choices and languages that are the result of the multicultural aspect here. Also, as strange as it is, I will also miss the hectic lifestyles in pursuit of excellence here.

I am excited to begin my journey at Pearson College, meeting co-years who range from all walks of life and from all ends of the world. I do not know how the next 2 years will pan out but I will embrace the opportunity given to me and enjoy the next 2 years learning and growing. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been given.

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