Mehr Khosla

Singapore, my home for over a decade, is famous for its expat-friendly lifestyle. I had lived quite a sheltered life in our high-rise condo, but that changed with my DofE experience through Tanglin Trust School.

This life-transforming programme was a catalyst for me to explore Singapore like never before. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, our adventurous journey was trekking within Singapore over consecutive weekends. While that may sound easy, in a country located one-degree north of the equator, it was anything but! My first expedition was nothing short of a disaster, ending with severe heat exposure. However, my resilience and fitness levels improved greatly on subsequent trips and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring hidden nooks and crannies of Singapore.

For my Voluntary Service, I enrolled with the local community centre KidsRead programme, which encourages children to read through storytelling and learning activities. Week on week, I developed deep friendships and insights into the local way of life. This included picking up ‘Singlish’- a colloquial form of English mixed with local languages - and trying traditional delicacies at hawker centres with my friends from the centre.

I was introduced to the COVID-19 vaccination outreach programme at one such outing and I eagerly signed up. While helping senior citizens to register for vaccinations at the community centre, I developed a profound sense of connection. This was strengthened when I accompanied volunteers into local housing estates to encourage residents to complete on-the-spot vaccination bookings. I was blown away by the warmth of the ‘Uncles’ and ‘Aunties’ (as elders are respectfully called in Singapore).

DofE brought me closer to Singapore in six months than my previous ten years here. Community insights and friendships have enriched me more than I could have imagined, and helped me to implement positive habits. The programme has been a journey of self-discovery, giving me a lifetime