After 9,513 miles and over 26 hours of travel, eighteen-year-old Asia Rutledge arrived in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In the summer of 2019, she left her home country, Singapore, to attend College here at Oklahoma State University.
Ironically enough, Rutledge was born in the Stillwater Medical Center, so this is not her first time in cowboy territory. Her parents, who also grew up in Singapore, attended Oklahoma State years prior.
Rutledge has grown up visiting family in the United States over the summers. She has come to her parent’s alma mater many times while in America, and she’s always felt it would someday be her future home.
“Everyone at OSU is so welcoming and friendly. You instantly feel like you are at home when you walk through campus,” Rutledge said.
Growing up in Singapore, Rutledge had many different experiences from your average American student. She attended a private American prep school, so she grew up speaking English at home and in school. She also speaks Mandarin and some Malay, which are three of the four national languages of Singapore, including English.
Rutledge loved growing up in Singapore because of the diversity and opportunities for different experiences and travel.
“One of my favorite memories from my last year in Singapore was National Day, which is like the Fourth of July of Singapore,” Rutledge said. “We went down to the bay where all the festivities were taking place. We saw the fireworks, cannons, and the big Singapore flag fly by on the helicopter. It just reminded me so much of the love everyone has for my country.”
A few things that Rutledge finds very different about the United States in comparison to Singapore is that everything is so big and spread apart. She also finds it odd that everyone drives places, as people in Singapore use public transportation.
“The jars of peanut butter at the store are seriously huge,” Rutledge said.
For Rutledge, the hardest part about leaving Singapore was leaving behind her friends because she did not know when the next time she would see them would be.
Rutledge’s mother is legally a citizen of the United States and her father is a citizen of Singapore. She currently holds a dual-citizenship status, but at the age of 21 she must choose which country she wants to hold residence in. Rutledge said she plans to declare citizenship in Singapore because it will always be her home and the place she grew up.
Even though Rutledge’s heart will always remain loyal to Singapore, living in America does have some perks.
“My favorite thing about America is that I am finally close to living near family. We can do family things like holidays, which I’ve never been able to do before,” Rutledge said.
When Rutledge decided she was going to move to America, her parents decided to move back to the United States with her. Rutledge said she likes this because she is insanely close with her family.
“Having my mom and dad move with me was comforting because the cultural shock of moving to the United States was very real,” she said.
Rutledge said that she thinks her parents will probably stay in the United States, but she sees herself moving back to Singapore one day.
“I am getting my teaching degree here at OSU, and my dream is to hopefully move back to Singapore and teach at the school I used to go to,” Rutledge said.
Overall, Rutledge would describe her experience in America as very different.
“I am learning more and more every day about adjusting to living in a different country. OSU definitely made my transition easier because they have made me feel welcomed and the people here make me feel like they want me to be here,” Rutledge said.