Moving to a foreign country can be both exciting and exhausting as you must leave your comfort zone and dive into the unknown. But soon enough you find yourself adjusting to the changes, learning as you go and enjoying every step of the way.
As an expat from the UK, I felt the transition to Singapore as a real-life adventure. Sure, I read about the country on the internet, but nothing compares to the experience of actually living here. Looking back, I realise how much I’ve learned since moving to Singapore and how much I’ve come to love this small country.
The first thing that surprised me was how clean everything is. It’s normal for a highly developed country like Singapore to be all clean and tidy, but the absolute lack of clutter and the sparkling clean streets are quite impressive.
Communicating in Singapore is easy. English is the official language, along with Malay, Mandarin and Tamil, and most Singaporeans speak it fluently. There’s also Singlish, a mix of English and local dialects that sounds very funny and using it makes me feel like I belong.
Speaking of belonging, it’s not that hard to fit in when you are in a country famous for its cultural diversity. Singaporeans pride themselves on being a nation where acceptance and tolerance are deeply-rooted values. The blend of ethnicities, religions and cultures gives you a sense of belonging.
Maybe one of the best things about moving to Singapore was the food. Food in Singapore is not just food, it’s a religion. The country’s multiculturalism is translated into a unique cuisine, a crazy delicious blend of tastes and flavours. Everywhere you look, there’s a hawker stall or a restaurant. Food is everywhere and it’s truly amazing.
While eating at hawkers stalls is cheap, I can’t say that about other living expenses. After all, Singapore has been declared as the most expensive country in the world several times. Rents are pretty expensive and buying a car is only an option if you earn a lot of money, that’s why using public transport is a great choice. Also, the income inequality is one of the highest among developed countries.
The country’s weather, although initially a nice change from UK’s constant rain, becomes harder to endure over time. Experiencing such a hot and humid climate can be difficult for someone not used to high temperatures and it’s less fun to have only one season all year round.
Also, living in a small country eventually gets boring. The best thing to do in order to fight the boredom is travel as much as you can. There are a lot of cheap options to visit other countries in Asia, so you can discover other wonderful places while living in Singapore.
As any other country in the world, Singapore has its pros and cons, but the experience of living here has definitely been life-changing and it’s simply impossible not to fall in love with this place.