February 10, 2017

Term 1 Round Up: Part 1

Following up from the previous post, the rest of Term 1 has been a crazy whirlwind of events, and I’d like to round them up here.

First of all, as part of the Scholar’s programme, Iffah and I were taken to watch The Nutcracker at the Hippodrome theatre in Birmingham, and thence to dinner at Milano restaurant.

Curtain call for The Nutcracker

The show was a feast for the eyes and ears, and a new experience for me as I had never watched a ballet performance before. The way in which the performance overloaded our senses with multiple coloured costumes and elegant moves coupled with the music was extremely admirable.

We had dinner at Milano restaurant and that was an exposure to dinner in a slightly more formal setting. While the food was tasty, the atmosphere and the company Iffah and I had (the other scholars) was lovely and conversation was interesting. Overall, I believe it’s safe to say that we had a good experience and will definitely hope to be taken to more of these cultural events!

Next up, Warwick Jailbreak: a charity event in which we raise at least £60 per person, which goes directly to the Breast Cancer Foundation. However, we were challenged to travel as far away from campus as possible without spending ANY of our own money on transport (ie by hitchhiking or earning money from strangers), all within 36 hours. It sounded meaningful, fascinating as well as a great activity to get to know some friends better.


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The Breakfast Club: Doug, Nicola, Augustė and myself at the piazza


We decided to dress up uniquely like breakfast items as well as to perform in public along our journey. Being dressed so outstandingly (peanut butter and jelly toast, milk and cookies) helped us greatly in our quest to explain our cause and get contributions from strangers. Of course the delicious brownies that Augustė thoughtfully prepared sold like hotcakes as well!


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With Nicola at the Cambridge Market Square
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With Augustė at Birmingham New Street Station







While I’d like to say that we managed to get out of the UK, we were held back by the Guy Fawkes’ night (4 Nov) protests in London and by the time we came up with another plan, it was too late. So we just made our way to Cambridge, which had beautiful scenery, and we truly enjoyed it…but just in case our friends asked us how far we got, we were ready to say that we got to the Bahamas. We even have a picture to prove it (definitely NOT photoshopped).


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The Breakfast Club in the Bahamas


But besides the laughs and the opportunity to travel for free, we got to know each other much better and we still meet for regular meals . I feel that this kind of friendship (which looks beyond cultures) is what Warwick offers all students, and I’m glad to say that Warwick Jailbreak was truly a memorable experience.

Over the course of the term, Singsoc also organized a potluck event as well as a Christmas dinner at a restaurant in Leamington Spa.


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Gerald and I in the middle of a yummy mouthful of food at the potluck event.


While we Singaporeans see each other around, I believe most of us made it a point to socialize with other friends instead of sticking with the Singaporeans. Therefore, events like this were great for us to interact and catch up with the Singaporeans who we hadn’t seen in a while. And of course, it was the best opportunity to figure out whose cooking skills had improved the most as well!



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First years at the Christmas dinner!


Both the potluck and the Christmas dinner also gave us first years a chance to get to network with the senior students a bit better. I feel happy that even amongst our busy schedules we still set time aside to get together once every few weeks, and that this will definitely keep Singaporeans a feeling of home away from home.

Speaking of which, I was surprised by a little birthday celebration organized by flatmates and friends. Having spent my birthday away from home once before while on military training in Brunei some years ago, I was prepared to spend an eventless day preparing for my seminars and submitting assignments. However, my friends pooled together and planned a surprise dinner-cum-celebration for me.


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A homemade cheese cake made by Justin, topped with popcorn. Spells “HB 21”.
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A cute card that my fellow AIESECers signed off individually.


Indeed, I was so surprised that I did not think of snapping any pictures besides one of the cake. Never one to appreciate the whole excitement over birthday celebrations in general, the fact that I meant enough to my friends for them to even consider planning something like this meant a lot to me. In that sense, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have found my core group of friends relatively fast: in fact, we made the decision to live together in our second year already. More on that in a future post! But once again, I felt that turning 21 with friends was almost the same as spending it with family and I’m thankful for the good friends I made at Warwick.

(continued in Part 2)


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