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In the week and a half that I’ve been in Singapore for my DukeEngage Independent Project, it already feels like I’ve made a lifetime worth of memories. I arrived in Singapore after about 30 hours of traveling (whew). Even in my exhausted and jet-lagged state, I was excited to have finally arrived so I proceeded to walk the streets with the landlord of my building at 4am, looking for food. (Don’t worry, the area we were in was busy even at that time of the night and according to the locals, very safe.) The next day, I met my flatmate and her fiancé and we went out for dim sum, a traditional style of Chinese cuisine. Can I take a detour here and just say that the food in Singapore is hands down the BEST FOOD I’VE EVER EATEN IN MY LIFE?! The variety of flavors and spices in the food here is simply unbelievable. It is also extremely culturally diverse, with Malay, Chinese, Singaporean, Japanese, Indian, and “Western” food only being a few of the many styles available. It is safe to say that the people who told me about how amazing the food in Singapore would be were definitely more than correct. 🙂

I’ll spare you from reading more about how much I’ve enjoyed Singaporean cuisine and instead update you on other aspects of my trip. My independent project is implementing perioperative music therapy (or “listening” as they call it here) at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The first couple of days were spent meeting all the people I would be working with, having orientations and setting up my schedule, and getting acquainted with the hospital work flow. Since then, I have educated many of the day surgery nurses as well as the anesthesiologists about perioperative music listening, what it is, the evidence for it, and why we want to implement it at the hospital. I also have been working on creating 100 packets with educational information, pamphlets, charts, and the like to educate the patients that will receive music. The short-term goal of my project is to implement music listening for the day surgery patients in the women’s hospital and assess the barriers of implementation. This 8-week project will serve as a starting point to ultimately spread the use of music listening to the national stage– all hospitals in Singapore– benefiting many patients in the long-term. It’s been a very exciting experience so far and I cannot wait for the project to develop over these next 7 weeks!

Finally, I didn’t forget to explore the city during the two weekends I’ve been here. Singapore is an amazingly diverse city, saturated with distinct cultures and both traditional and modern life. On one hand, there are towering skyscrapers that look as shiny as a newly polished car. On the other hand, there exist many smaller, well-traveled areas that typify daily Singaporean life. One novelty that stood out to me is the “Hawker” stalls. These are places crammed wall-to-wall with locals as well as an extremely diverse array of shops and food stalls. As I walk through a Hawker, I will see a shop selling kitchenware on my right, desserts on my left, handmade garments on my right, Chinese good luck charms on my left, and Indian spices on my right, chicken and rice on my left, and everything in between. I could spend the whole day (and I have) just looking through each shop at all the knick-knacks. Additionally, Singapore has a Chinatown quarter, Little India quarter, and Malay quarter, each of which represent a hub for the respective cultures. It is amazing that in traveling just a few stops on the MRT (subway) or just a few feet through a Hawker, I feel like I have already traveled the world.