Tanya Zoha recounts her journey from its inception as a dream in a cocoon to finding wings to fly in her chosen sky.
I vividly remember the time when I sat on my 5th floor balcony, staring at the lord of the skies, watching him fall asleep. I was only eight years old at that time, but enjoyed the warm evening summer breeze blowing my hair into a mess, my little face blushing red with awe, matching the crimson and orange hues of the evening sky. I rushed in and got my drawing book, a few crayons and thus started my journey with art.
The idea of art and design as a career option came to me in the later stages of eighth grade when we were asked to choose an extra subject. From a family where three out of four members are doctors I defied medicine and chose art. I view art as a process of self-discovery and satisfaction. In class 11 I started exploring different forms and areas in Art and Design. Initially graphic designing looked interesting but later after more research I was intrigued by Interior Architecture and Design
When I decided on the field and form of design I wanted to study I started looking at tentative colleges. This is where the fun and excitement began. Studying abroad sounded very interesting but that was never my first choice, I always wanted to study in India. But after some intense research I came across Lasalle College of Arts located in the world’s safest country and a perfect place for global education, Singapore. ‘The Lion City’ became an automatic choice for my graduation. Its diverse multicultural society and a true cosmopolitan way of living was the ideal environment for me to prepare for my future career in the larger world stage. Furthermore, I was looking for a graduation course in interior design that is practically oriented and industry focused like the one Lasalle College of The Arts offers.
I applied to Lasalle in August of 2018 with an open mind. It was only when I received a call early November saying I got an interview with the head of interior design at Lasalle I started researching more and my interest intensified. In December of 2018, I received the best email of my life, “Congratulations, We are pleased to inform you have been offered a place at LASALLE College of the Arts”. Even though my excitement took a whole new turn, the next few months I focused on school and my class 12 boards.
The beginning of one’s college life is always stressful and exciting whether it is a person that decides to go to college in a different state or a different country. I finally left for college in July of 2019. When I was leaving my family and friends, I was anxious and sad, but once I arrived in the Singapore I could not contain my excitement. We had a two week orientation program at Lasalle. During the first week we had an event called a ‘Challenge Shield’ where the new students were divided into houses and we played a series of games. It was during the challenge shield that I met some of my best friends in Singapore. My course – Interior Architecture and Spatial Design – is the toughest course in Lasalle. But if you love what you do, nothing is hard. My professors and peers are both understanding and amazing. I have never felt out of place in Singapore. People here are so nice and friendly. My college is located close to other big colleges like SMU, NAFA, KAPLAN, TMC etc. which enables students to interact with students from other colleges and expand their friend circle.
Singapore’s nightlife is a must for all students. There are so many different places to go and so many things to do. My friends and I love going to Haji Lane. We frequently visit the shophouses along this lane for the independent fashion boutiques and Middle Eastern cafes.
The best part about haji (if you are an extrovert like me), is the fact that everyone is willing to meet new people and befriend each other. Other than haji, I love going shopping in Singapore. Orchard is the place to be if you love shopping. There’s nothing you can’t find in Orchard. Aside from all the night life and partying, I do find myself missing home a lot. Thanks to Lasalle, we have an Indian society called, ‘JHOOM’. It’s a fairly new club and consists of almost all the Indian students at Lasalle. This society organizes festivals and parties such as Freshers, Diwali parties etc. Other big colleges in Singapore also have Indian societies. Once a year all the Indian societies get together and take part in Fest called ‘TARAANG’.
I finished my first year at Lasalle in April 2020. The eight months I spent at Lasalle, have been the best months of my life so far. I experienced a different culture, ate new foods, travelled to other places, learned to understand an accent, and learned to be independent. It was not easy at first to settle in a foreign country all by myself. I was scared about starting this new chapter in my life. There were many obstacles that came my way, but I had friends who helped me and I helped them. The best thing about college life are the new people you meet and the friends you make. Especially studying abroad, you meet people from other countries and your knowledge about the world widens. College gives you a new found freedom. It’s a time you experience new things, live the stories you want to be a part of. For the educational part, studying abroad increases exposure and gives you better job opportunities. Studying abroad opened my eyes to the world around me. It required exposing myself to a new place. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have. If there were one piece of advice I can offer to younger students considering studying abroad, it would be to go! Go out into the world and experience life. Find some place that excites you. It is 100% worth it.