The Foreigner’s Guide to Living in Singapore

Living in Singapore as an expat can be hard, but this guide can help you make it easier.

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Welcome to Singapore! This country has been continuously hailed as one of the most livable places in the world and has a fantastic standard of living. Oh sure, you’ve heard that it’s going to be expensive. But this is a country that has a strong economy and jumped from being classified as “third world” to “first world” in less than a generation. If you’re here as an expatriate, then most probably you followed all the paperwork needed. What’s next is going to be the hardest: adjusting to your new life. This guide then aims to help you live your life like a local and make this new chapter in your life fulfilling.

Make Friends With Your Neighbors

Making friends with your neighbours can be quite a challenge. But, establishing good relations with people whom you are living next to is crucial. Maybe in your hometown, you barely know your neighbours. This time, however, you are in a foreign place. You need to build good relationships with the people whom you could trust and establish a network. Neighbours are an excellent way to start developing this, but you can also connect with people who are from your home country.

Numerous clubs in Singapore cater to expatriates. There is the Russian Club, Union des Francais de l’Etrager, among others. They offer support services to their countrymen and help them adjust easier into their new life. However, it is still essential to befriend locals since they can guide you around with their know-how of the way of life in Singapore.

Take Note of Food Spots

You would be most likely working a day job, and your busy lifestyle may affect your eating schedule. You don’t need to worry. Singapore has so many options you can choose. You may have heard of hawker centres where traditional Singaporean, as well as other cuisines, are served. They are among the cheapest and most delicious options in the entire city. There is even a hawker who received a Michelin Star for the 2016-2019 editions of the guide for his delicious soya sauce chicken! He is reputed to have the “cheapest Michelin-star meal” in the world. He is also the first hawker to have received the recognition.

If you want to eat at the fancy spots, there are hotels and standalone restaurants all over the city. Among those famous among connoisseurs are Candlenut, a restaurant that fuses the Peranakan (Malay-Chinese) influences from early immigrants, and Corner House, a restaurant that takes inspiration from the surrounding Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Have Yourself Adjust to the Roads

Singaporean roads are mostly safe and wide enough for cars. Although public transportation is one of the world’s best, some people opt to drive their vehicles. People drive on the left side of the road, owing to the British colonists setting up shop in the country centuries prior. If you are a left-hand drive kind of person, you need to practice just a little bit so you can adjust to the right-hand drive system. However, according to Singtech, an auto specialist in the country, vintage, and diplomatic cars that are using left-hand drive are exempted.

Learn the Language Basics

As mentioned, Singapore was once a British colony. This means that English is one of the primary languages spoken by the populace, and has even evolved into a dialect called “Singlish”. Words such as “lah” and “lim kopi” have entered daily informal usage and are marks of a true Singaporean. Malay, Chinese (particularly Mandarin) and Tamil are also widely spoken.

You are most likely able to speak English fluently, but you have to study a bit of the three others. They are considered part of the official languages of the country, and thus considered an essential part of daily interaction with locals. Knowing even a bit of each can help you integrate into the local way of life and help you feel at home. Remember to pick up some Singlish slang along the way, too.

Be Prepared to Invest in Electronics

Who said you could only invest in the stock market? In Singapore, the type of plugs used is the types C (two round pins), G (three rectangular pins arranged in a triangle, and M (three round pins). If you come from a country that uses the other plug types, it is good to invest in plug adaptors. This will help you plug in your devices to the sockets, as well as regulate the electricity usage. Better yet, you can sell your old appliances to buy new ones. It can be a bit of a hassle, but it’s a better option than not having a coffee maker or microwave at all.

Find a Laundry Service Near You

Laundry services are everywhere in the country. Whether you live in an apartment or an actual house, you are never too far from laundry shops. When things get busy, you need to find ways to handle all your housework. Laundry services such as Eazihome help you ease the burden, giving you enough time to do what needs to do. Need to have your laundry picked up and delivered? We do exactly that all over Singapore. Want to have all your outfits washed clean? Say no more. We provide efficient services, and we cater to whatever are your laundry needs.

Have a Support System

Homesickness will always be one of the hardest and most painful experiences when moving out. Being so far away from everything you knew can be hard, but you can do it! Connecting with your new friends can help you ease the loneliness. Contacting those you left behind can also be a source of encouragement. Finding activities that can help you (such as language learning and food hunting) are also good emotional anchors. Being an expatriate need not be hard, nor should you overthink being unable to fit in because you are a foreigner. Singapore is a melting pot of cultures. These cultures found common ground with each other, and there is no doubt that you can, too.

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The Foreigner’s Guide to Living in Singapore

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