As one of Asia’s major trade and financial centres, the city state of Singapore is comprised of modern convenience, culture, food, and deep-seated tradition. Each year, thousands of expats from all over the planet make the move to Singapore. If you’re thinking about doing so yourself, there are some important things to know first.
Relocating, especially to another country is one of the biggest life decisions you can make. For that reason, here is what you need to know before you grab your passport, jump on the plane and start a new life in the lion city.
Those who speak English have a foot up when planning their move to Singapore. This is because English is the language of commercial and trade in the state city. As well as English, Singapore’s official languages are Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. However, you will soon become aware of Singlish. This is the country’s unofficial dialect. There are hundreds of thousands of expats across Singapore who speak English, meaning you will have no problems in regard to language barriers.
If there is one thing we need to say about Singaporean weather, it’s to prepare for humidity! The state city is only one degree north of the Equator and has two monsoon seasons. Getting around the state city can take a little bit of planning. Make sure you’re prepared for the weather with lots of sunscreen, a fold-up umbrella, and a hat. Also, don’t leave any food lying around on the counter unless you don’t mind returning to a mouldy surprise!
For those who plan to work in Singapore, you may need to commute into the city centre and back each day. Rather than taking a car, many workers opt for public transport instead. Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit is efficient, reliable, and cheap. There are over 100 stations dotted across the island. While owning and driving a car won’t come cheap, if you must have a vehicle, expect to pay many times more for the exact model you’d have at home. Just make sure you’re aware of the transport routes so you can map out your daily journey and ensure you arrive at the office on time!
It’s estimated that roughly 80% of Singapore’s population lives in HBD housing. For expats, the most popular housing choice is condominiums. They tend to be built in private estates that come with parking, playgrounds, swimming pools and gyms. As you would expect, housing won’t come cheap in this state city. If you want to buy a property in Singapore, you may need to look into getting a home loan. PropertyGuru can help you with this. They can take you through the process of how home loan applications work, and what steps and documents you need to have at hand for everything to flow seamlessly.
The biggest sectors in Singapore are il, finance, and business. These are not areas you will accidentally fall into, which explains why some expats are relocated to the state city by their companies. To get a better idea of your eligibility to work in Singapore, it’s wise to check out the Ministry of Manpower’s website. You will find detailed information that outlines labour practices including paid leave and sick days. It must be noted that you cannot apply for a work visa until you’ve secured a job offer.
Singapore prides itself on cleanliness. However, this does come at a price! The state city has an array of rules and fines that you may be surprised at. For example, littering and jaywalking go without saying. Although, memorable rules like not feeding the pigeons or importing chewing gum may be more of a surprise. Of course, provided you follow the rules and regulations, you shouldn’t have any problems. But, if you cross the line and get a fine, make sure to respect the reasons behind it and pay it on time, otherwise, you run the risk of getting into serious trouble.
For the foodies, you’ll be happy you’ve chosen Singapore to live in. With Michelin-starred restaurants and hawker centres, there are plenty of eateries to pick from that cater to all moods and budgets. When it comes to fresh food and local goodies, they are affordable in Singapore, particularly when buying them at local supermarkets or small grocery stores.
Singapore is bursting at the seams with expats. Wherever you originate from, there are an abundance of reasons to make the move to the state city today. Known for its cleanliness, low crime rates and metropolitan way of life, if you’ve decided it’s time to make the move today, knowing what you’re getting yourself into is paramount.
From how to get around Singapore, where to live, and engaging with locals and other expats, make sure to do your research and speak to others who have been in your shoes so you can be confident you’ve made the right decision.