The strangest thing has happened. People (via the blog and also friends of friends of friends) are asking me for advice on moving to Singapore. Not a plethora of people but a few. It seems a little weird, as to me I’ve only been in Singapore a blink of an eye, or so it seems. But in reality it’s been almost 17 months. Which is almost 1.5 years so maybe I am qualified to dish out advice?
I can not give advice on whether or not people should move to Singapore from their home country as that’s a matter for each individual person. It’s a hard road, but for us it’s been totally worth it. My attitude has always been “If it all goes to shit we will pack up and go home again”. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So assuming you have made the decision to jump into an expat adventure here are some tips that may or may not help you:
- know what your entitlements are before agreeing to move. If it’s a company relocation check the contract and then do your research to make sure that what the company is offering will cover your needs. Having a decent housing allowance, top notch medical insurance, school fees and transport allowance will make things much easier. We wouldn’t have moved if we had been financially worse off, and it;s too late to negotiate an increase once you’ve signed a contract and are in Singapore!
- a relocation company (ideally paid for by the company) will take many admin errands out of your hands, even though they will at times drive you to distraction. Having someone else do the work permit, customs, shipping and all the other bits and pieces will save you the pain of trying to figure out some of the bureaucracy in a new country.
- try and do a “Look See” trip before you move as this will help you get a feel for the place.
- you will cry. You may even cry in the supermarket. Or maybe that’s just me?
- Singapore does not have “one stop” grocery shopping and this was my biggest frustration here. It now seems normal to scout all areas of Singapore just to do the groceries, but it made me irrationally stabby in the early days (and still does on a bad day).
- there are no “bad” areas to live in Singapore. All have their pros and cons, but you will pay more in “Expat” areas and less in “local” areas.
It’s by no means an exhaustive list but it’s enough to get an idea of what people should be thinking about BEFORE they move. If you have any questions leave me a comment and I can email you back. I don’t use my name or my email address on my blog as there’s too many freaks out there in cyber lan!