Singapore is a mixing pot, brimming with people of different ethnic backgrounds. It has four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Often, when school children visited with the environmental organization that I worked with, Waterways Watch Society, I would find that they could speak each of these languages with fluency! Singaporeans have a unique was of speaking English which is coined as "Singlish". You may find that slang like "la", "le", "ma", or "meh" punctuate each sentence. Other slang is derived from the different languages which Singaporeans speak; my personal is "bochio!" which means "you never invited me!". Likewise because of the diversity in people, Singapore is home to a diverse cuisine. I have eaten things which would seem "strange" to the average American, including pig tail, chicken feet, sting ray, mouse deer, durian, and Tulong--which is goat bone marrow. Singaporeans take a lot of pride in their foods and I was often teased about having to go back to the boring cuisine of the U.S..
One last interesting cultural tidbits is how you address people that are your senior: calling strangers "Uncle" or "Auntie" took some time to get used to, but was necessary as it is somewhat rude to do otherwise.
My most meaningful souvenir is a letter I received from one of my coworkers before I boarded my plane home. It was really an emotional experience to see how close you can become with someone of a different culture. Despite any differences in age, religion, language or race it is entirely possible to share so much in common. There are very few barriers to making relationships with different types if people. I hold that the friendships that I maintain with my coworkers and the other fellows in my cohort are my most precious "souvenirs" from this experience.
I gained an enormous amount of confidence as a result of the Cultural Vistas Fellowship. Before I had a lot of self doubt in my competence as a student and professional; it is extremely difficult for first generation college students to perform in an institution when there is little to no support from home. After being awarded this experience and succeeding in my internship, I have applied for and recieved many different opportunities that I would not have previously thought that I was "good enough" for. I am finding that I can excel because I am no longer held back by insecurities in my abilities.
I also find that I am much more sensitive to international students at my university; I want them to find a home away from home in the United States in the same way that I found one in Singapore. I realize how important it can be to offer to take a visitor out for lunch or coffee in order to make them feel welcome; this is something that I had no awareness of before.