Pack your bags. Buy your plane ticket. You’re going to Singapore.
This is the news that three rising seniors, Sophie McCabe ’19, Daniel Westphal ’19 and Angela Ji ’19, received as they’ve been invited to the Hwa Chong Asia-Pacific Young Leaders Summit between July 22-27.
Hosted by the Hwa Chong Institute, Singapore’s top boarding school, the leadership summit is an annual event that invites three schools from the United States to attend. From what they have been told, the three will work with the six other American delegates to research a global issue they’re interested in, and then present it to an entire delegation. They will also be visiting many government buildings around Singapore, including the Ministry of Education and having tea with the President to get a better understanding of how the country works.
As well as sitting in on presentations about global issues, the juniors will view cultural activities such as dancing and artwork. As a lover of art- being an avid violin player, piano player and having a passion for drawing, Ji is especially looking forward to the opportunity to soak up a new culture artistically.
“The fact that we will be learning art and music of other cultures is very exciting,” Ji said. “We’ll be spending our time with delegates from many different countries, so I’ll definitely be exposed to different people and cultures, which I hope can help broaden my perspective.”
As a member of Junior State of America(JSA), Westphal has had prior experience in government and debate, as well as a keen knowledge of technology through his interest in robotics. After being selected to be a delegate, Westphal has looked forward to delving into a foreign nation and experiencing a different style of living. “I hope to be able to learn about different cultures and different people’s lifestyles,” Westphal said, “and hopefully make some long-term friends in the process.”
Alongside Westphal, McCabe has been an active participant in JSA and has traveled to a variety of conventions throughout her high school career. McCabe looks to push her involvement in debate and understanding how to potentially make governmental advances in the future. “I hope to be able to use what I learn to possibly make changes in U.S. policy in the future to continue to move our country forward,” she said.
Additionally, McCabe is excited to learn about Singapore’s culture, specifically its education system. “We always hear on the news that Singapore is such a great place to be, that it has one of the best educational systems in the world,” McCabe added. “I am excited to be able to learn about how they accomplish this.”
While their day to day agenda remains unknown, the three know the journey that awaits in Singapore will be an experience that will shape who they are and their perspectives of the world. “Not only do I hope to walk away from this program with a large group of new friends,” McCabe said, “but also with the empathy I will get from learning about and understanding the delegates’ unique backgrounds that I can use to help me understand and connect with more people as I live my life.”