Spending 2 weeks at Sagamore institute has been an experience like no other. The experience I have gained, both social and intellectual, will no doubt stay with me through the rest life. My main project during my stay at Sagamore was to investigate how Singapore could be used as an effective development model for African nations. Being from Singapore, my background gave me an advantage in tackling this task.
However, not all my time at Sagamore was spent on this one specific objective. On Thursday, my supervisor Donald Cassell introduced me to his fellow Sagamore colleague, Larry Ingraham who then took me to the city of Muncie to see the mayor of Muncie as well as the city’s president of the chamber of commerce. The mayor was interested in my academic life but we did touch briefly on some of the positive policies of Singapore. But because of the approaching elections and the vast amount of work any mayor must have, the time I spent with her was short. On the other hand, my time with the president of the chamber of commerce was much longer. I learned a lot about the economic problem and aims of the city’s leaders from the president of the chamber of commerce. We talked about how a small city like Muncie managed to attract foreign direct investment. One particularly interesting method was how they use US citizenship as a carrot for foreign investors. As long as investors spent anywhere between half a million to a million dollars supporting 10 US workers for 3 years, they would be granted US citizenship.
Upon my return to Sagamore Institute from Muncie, I attended an alumni reception for Eureka College. I learned there that confidence was key. I spent that Thursday night pondering over the concept of confidence, not understanding why one would think confidence was a superlative piece of skill. Only after 2 weeks did I realize the truth of his words.
All my experiences at Sagamore can hardly fit into words. Besides learning more about the history of my own home country as well the vast developmental problems facing Africa, I also learned basic social skills of communication and have grown more confident. I do not think I have ever shaken so many hands in my life, or talked to so many people I have never met. Sagamore did not just develop my mind; it also developed my social spirit.
Now, back in tropical Singapore, the most valuable asset I brought back from my 2 weeks in Sagamore was confidence. I now meet new people without fear of sounding ignorant or tedious; I can now look at people straight in the eye from beginning to end. It is this confidence that is important in the world we live in now, where social skills are of utmost importance. One must have the confidence to meet new people, to question mistakes, and ultimately learn from any shortcomings.
Sagamore has been an unforgettable experience and has shaped my life, at least for the near future.
Thank you Sagamore.