Travel for eternity? Boys and girls, it is the dream. There is nothing like doing the thing that you love for the rest of time. Things change, but travelling stays the same which is why we all know we are going to love it to the day we die. Sadly, there is a problem – life. It gets in the way and says “get a job, start a career and settle down.” Never one to conform to norms, it’s annoying that the status quo is right. Without a great job and a home, life is going to get harder in the next couple of years.
For the readers whose hearts have dropped, there is a compromise. Why not live abroad? That way, you can live and work in paradise and mix a career with a passion. And, why not make that place Singapore? As far as countries in Southeast Asia go, Singapore is advanced, quite liberal, and has plenty of property and job opportunities.
It’s settled then – you’re moving. But, wait there a minute cowboy. Hold your horses. Unlike the movies, coming to a new country doesn’t work out perfectly in the end. To make sure everything goes to plan, there are a couple of issues to consider. Here are the seven main ones.
Learn A New Language?
As ignorant as it sounds, English speakers don’t have to both learning the local customs. The country is a mix of influences, from the Chinese to the British themselves and it has had a major impact on the culture. In short, English is pretty much spoken everywhere, particularly when there are business deals on the table. Anyone who is working there doesn’t have to worry about not being able to have a conversation, then. Getting by in the streets and local markets is a little different. Locals use a language that is affectionately known as Singlish, a melting pot of English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Now, anyone with any knowledge of the last three will understand that they are hard to learn. In fact, there are almost impossible for westerners. So, focus on memorising a few keywords and phrases such as “thank you” and “how much?” These will come in handy in the not-so-western places where the Queens isn’t widely spoken. Of course, hand gestures are always last resorts.
Save A Tonne?
Looking at Singapore, you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that it’s expensive. The Economist, in 2017, listed it as the world’s most costly city. If that wasn’t bad enough, it has won the award for the fourth time. Sorry to kick a traveller while they’re down, but it was consecutively too. Put all of this info together and there is only one conclusion to make: it’s pricey. Another basic evaluation is to save up as much as possible and take it with you so that there is a rainy day fund. After all, a new job may not start paying until two to three weeks into the role, but the landlord will expect his or her rent. Sure, taking as much as you can save is a savvy move regardless of the destination in case of unforeseen circumstances. Still, don’t let the amount in your bank put you off going altogether. As long as there is enough to cover living costs, then everything will be fine. Remember that food bills and nights out are easy to cut if you know where to shop for a bargain. Anyone that doesn’t can follow the link.
One way to save money which is worth mentioning is to use public transport. In the west, the idea of getting on a cramped, sweaty train is repellent. Even if it’s fast, people prefer to drive because it’s comfy. Yep, buses and trains are that bad that some people struggle through traffic. It’s a damning indictment of public transport. Singapore has a different take because they are investing heavily in the MRT. It’s the train line, and it runs throughout the city to pretty much any destination. Be aware of the nearest one before agreeing to a lease. Buses are also cheap and quite luxurious. As long as the air con is working, there isn’t much to worry about as there are plenty of seats. Driving isn’t difficult compared to countries such as Vietnam or Ukraine, but it is an unnecessary expense which is easy to cut.
Lying On The Equator
This isn’t a tip. Whatever you do, never lie on the Equator because the heat is unbearable. No, it’s a statement of fact about Singapore. Only one or two degrees off the line which runs through the centre of the planet, the country-cum-city is very tropical. In the winter (wet season), this is welcome because the climate is warm without being too cold. It’s one reason sun-chasers move abroad in the first place! The problems start when the dry season (summer) comes around. As you can imagine, the temperatures soar above the 30 degrees Celsius mark and tend to reach 40 °C and above. Even the locals find the heat too much to handle and stay indoors. Keeping out of the weather is essential – yep, whether you’ve packed shorts or not – because it’s dangerous as well as uncomfortable. Probably the best tip in the whole of this post, then, is to invest in air conditioning. At home, opening a window won’t have an impact because the humidity is almost 100%. Workplaces tend to have it, so being in the office shouldn’t be a problem. Oh, download Uber too. Walking above five-minutes is horrible in a heat wave and that makes the app a must-have.
Short-Term Vs Long-Term Lease
Both have their advantages but a short-term lease is without a doubt a wise option. Even though the cost of living isn’t as high as people think, the property costs are quite steep. And, it’s this way throughout the whole of the island which limits your options. Plus, as a newcomer, there isn’t a way to figure out the scene before signing on the dotted line. People will say “oh, look for a place in the HDB rental Singapore area. It’s the best.” They’re right, too, in many people’s humble opinion. Still, the region may not be to your taste, or it may be too pricey. Therefore, negotiate a short-term contract for, say, six months and then the rest of the time doing your research. Property Guru is an excellent resource for those of you who are looking for guidance and inspiration. Also, don’t forget to use contacts in the city. There are plenty of expatriates that will provide advice; you’ve got to meet them first. Expat Woman has tips and guides on where to go to mingle and make new friends.
Lots of people travel to Singapore safe in the knowledge that they have a job on the other side. When they land, they find out it’s a scam or that the offer isn’t as firm as first thought. These are called soft deals and they catch foreigners out all over the world. Usually, it’s down to the language barrier or a lack of communication. You may not ask the right questions beforehand. Firstly, never be afraid to check up on the job status. Asking someone whether you have the role or not is unseemly back home, but it’s necessary abroad because you’re sacrificing a lot. Employers who say there is a position as long as you can get a visa are the ones who are serious. Organisations that are evasive and don’t want to commit are risky. It may be a scam if there is money is involved, or they may try and hedge their bets before confirming the offer. Again, speaking to people in the country about the situation is a fantastic way to tell as there may be someone who has been through the ordeal. Otherwise, there are legitimate, English-speaking lawyers that will get to the bottom of the case.
Animal-lovers will undoubtedly want to take their pooches or felines with them to Singapore. Not to worry because there are plenty of pets knocking around, domesticated and wild. It isn’t like Australia where there are millions of rules that you have to follow if you want to get your dog a visa. However, some regulations exist and they are worth checking out because they may affect the move. Only certain breeds of dogs, for example, are allowed in the country. Plus, those that are might have to get shots and provide proof. Pet Relocation outlines the fine details so check out the post for more info. Remember that the landlord may put his/her restrictions on the types and amount of pets you can own. Please confirm with them before agreeing to move in. To import a pet, you’ll need a dog licence so apply for and obtain one before moving. The things owners do for their animals!
Now that you understand the ins and outs, do you feel more confident? Hopefully you do because Singapore is an amazing place to visit.