Chair's Foreword

Zhang Weijie

When I was young, I used to look at the world map, try to gauge the size of Singapore as best as I could and try to figure out how many times the United States was bigger than this little city-state of ours. Usually, I would just end up taking a pencil and counting how many small dots I could fit within its boundaries. Needless to say, I got a different number each time. The proportions of it all were too much for that little mind of mine to handle.

I’ve always dreamt of how life in the United States would be like. For me, it seemed to represent a land of opportunities where I could expand my mind, and where a completely different lifestyle awaited me. That was how "Experiences 2004: Dreams Beckon" came about. It was engineered to showcase some of the dreams that Singapore students like you have realized by pursuing an education in America. When I went to Experiences 2001, I was still contemplating the pros and cons of leaving behind the familiar environment which I grew up in and taking a leap of faith into an unknown world. After all, it was only going to be the second flight in my life, and I had lots of questions in my mind. However, after almost 2 years of studying in the United States, I am glad to say that I listened to the beckoning of my dreams.

This project was undertaken with the simple objective of helping our incoming freshmen and prospective students, so that you could benefit from our experience and realize your dreams with minimum fuss. How do you avoid having to write your application essays in the midst of your examinations? Which schools should you choose? How do you survive when you can’t find your favorite Hainanese chicken rice anymore? We will answer these questions, and more. However, this event underwent a couple of sponsorship problems which almost paralyzed the planning process. That Experiences 2004 has come into fruition is a testament to the survival skills all of us have picked up while pursuing an education in America.

I would like to thank all of you who worked so hard to ensure that this event continues to be a valuable resource for our fellow Singaporeans, and for keeping faith even when the going seemed tough. You have been a great team to work with, and your enthusiasm has been infective. On behalf of the planning committee, I would also like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to all our sponsors who have made Experiences 2004 possible with their most generous sponsorship and contributions.

I hope that you will enjoy your time here today, and like many others before you, let your dreams lead you on to the land of opportunities. Thank you.

Zhang Weijie
Experiences 2004 Committee