Thinking of moving to Singapore for work? This city-state sure has plenty to offer. Blending East and West, Singapore is a melting pot of cultures and is also one of the safest cities in the world. It is a popular destination for expats looking to give their careers a boost. Before you pack your bags, we’ll get you up to speed on the 10 basic things you need to know about Singapore.
1. Hot and humid weather
Singapore sits just slightly above the equator, so it has a tropical climate. The weather is warm and humid the whole year round, with abundant rainfall as well. You can ditch your winter clothing as there are no four seasons in Singapore.
2. Cost of living
Singapore is a cosmopolitan city that has a high cost of living. The Economist intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey for 2022 placed Singapore as the world’s most expensive city to live in, tied in pole position with New York. As a result, it’s wise to budget and plan your move accordingly. When you negotiate your employment package, be sure to do your sums so that your salary and benefits can cover your living expenses, with a bit more leftover for fun stuff such as travelling.
3. A multicultural society
Singapore prides itself as multicultural society. The citizens are multi-ethnic coming from Chinese, Malay and Indian descent, while almost 30% of residents are foreigners. People from various backgrounds all live, work and play in Singapore. You’ll find plenty of expats from all over the world who have moved to Singapore to further their careers.
4. English is widely spoken, so is Singlish
English is the official language of business in Singapore and is widely spoken here. You’d have no problems shopping or ordering food. But if you want to get along with your local friends or colleagues, be sure to pick up some Singlish. Quintessentially Singaporean, Singlish is an informal, colloquial form of English which mixes elements from other languages and dialects such as English, Malay, Cantonese, Hokkien and Tamil. Have fun trying it out!
Most expats who come to Singapore will generally rent an apartment or condo. Some expats may be able to negotiate a housing allowance. But for those who are on a localised package, you will have to do your homework when it comes to finding a place to stay.
Accommodation will take up a large chunk of your living expenses and rental has crept up in the past few years. If you don’t want to spend a large portion of your salary on housing, you can consider renting a room in a co-living unit instead of renting an entire apartment,
Singapore has a very efficient public transportation system – in the form of public buses and the MRT train network. If you’re used to driving back home, do know that owning a car can be very expensive in Singapore because of high taxes and fees. Before you even buy a car, you have to bid for what is known as a Certificate of Entitlement, which gives you the right to own and use a vehicle. If you opt to take public transport to get around, choose an accommodation that’s not too far away from an MRT station.
7. Strong work ethic
Singapore has a strong work ethic. The job market is competitive and be prepared to work hard to meet high expectations.
8. Rules and regulations
Singapore has strict laws and regulations, and the citizens are generally very law abiding. Even during the recent pandemic, a large portion of the population abided by the mandatory mask mandate (which has since been lifted). There are heavy penalties for drug use and other crimes. It’s important to be observe the rules to avoid getting into trouble.
Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world with a low crime rate making it an ideal place to live. Plenty of expats, especially those with families, appreciate the security and safety that Singapore has to offer.
Singapore is known for its diverse and delicious food. The F&B scene is very vibrant and you’ll have plenty to tantalise your tastebuds. International and regional cuisines can be found easily. But if you’re going to move here, do check out the local cuisine. From nasi lemak and chicken rice to laksa and kaya toast, you are really spoilt for choice.