In 2007, Mohamed Izzmel Sufyan Mohamed relocated with his family to New Zealand. Last year, he returned to Singapore - alone - to serve his national service.
"I felt sad to leave my family behind but it is my duty to serve the country," said the 19-year-old.
He was among more than 300 cadets commissioned as Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officers yesterday at a commissioning parade at the Safti Military Institute.
The event marked the completion of 38 weeks of rigorous training at the Officer Cadet School.
Speaking at the parade, Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, who was chief of defence force before entering politics, said that as a small country, Singapore's survival will always depend on how well its people defend it.
Noting that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore in World War II, Mr Ng added: "It is a stark reminder of the fragility of peace and what is at stake. The threats today are just as real - geopolitical uncertainties, the terrorism threat, cyber attacks, misinformation and fake news - and pose challenges to our security and even unity. The SAF must...remain vigilant, adapt and develop capabilities to meet these threats."
Most of the graduands yesterday - 248 of them - came from the army, while 31 were from the navy and 28 from the air force.
The Ministry of Defence said the training sharpened the cadets' combat, planning and leadership skills. The newly commissioned officers will go on to assume command, instructional and staff appointments in the SAF.