Y4 Bicultural Studies Programme USA Trip 2019
On 18 November 2019, a group of 21 BSP students and 3 teachers went on a 16-day immersion programme in the United States of America (USA). We visited New York, Lancaster and Washington D.C. to learn about the culture, society and history of America.
We first visited the Big Apple, where the United Nations (UN) Headquarters is located. We were very fortunate to tour the place and learn about the work and beliefs of the UN, and the challenges that different communities of the world face. Following up to this, we visited the Singapore Permanent Mission to United Nations to find out more about the role Singapore plays in the United Nations. We also had the opportunity to interact with Singaporean students who were either studying at New York University or on an internship in New York. This showed us the different career paths and lives we could lead, which gave us valuable insight into the choices and considerations we should make to prepare ourselves for what our future holds. We went to the 9/11 Memorial, where we learnt about the devastating terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center through various artefacts, voice accounts and documents. It was interesting to visit the Museum of Chinese in America and the Tenement Museum to explore immigration and its impact on the growth of America. Of course, we did not miss out the renowned Statue of Liberty, which was majestic and meaningful as it symbolises liberty for the people of America.
Our next stop was Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was a vastly different landscape from New York, as the peaceful countryside was a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city. It was exciting to see farm animals roaming the green meadows and even pet them when we visited the Amish village, where a traditional Christian community dwelled. As we drove past the Amish families who were clad in traditional outfits and tending to their crops, we were filled with admiration for their commitment and discipline in staying rooted to traditional practices and customs, unmoved by the outside world’s insatiable hunger for more. We had a delectable Amish meal to end off the tour.
Last but not least, we visited Washington D.C., home to the iconic White House, Library of Congress and the National Museum of American History. The magnificent architecture and massive collection of books in the Library of Congress was truly mesmerising. We also went to the Newseum, which highlights the vital role that journalism plays in history and our current lives. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was really impactful as the museum had a multitude of artefacts, personal recounts, voice recordings and mini documentaries which not only humanised the monstrous death count of 11 million people during the Holocaust, but also gave a realistic illustration of what life was like during the Holocaust. Another museum that left a great impression on us was the National Museum of African American History & Culture, which detailed the torture and harsh discrimination that the African Americans faced and the lingering prejudices against them. Both museums reinforced the importance of treating others of different races, religions and backgrounds equally and the significance of one’s actions in times of crisis. We left Washington feeling sad yet inspired to make a change.