Living in Singapore brings a unique blend of benefits and drawbacks for expatriates. Wonder if living in Singapore is something you will enjoy? This article will guide you through the advantages of living in Singapore, as well as some disadvantages.
Advantage: The perks of living in Singapore’s high-rise condos and apartments include amenities like swimming pools, gyms, and playgrounds. For an expat from Europe, this all-in-one lifestyle might be a rare luxury.
Disadvantage: The high cost of living in Singapore is evident in its rental prices, which also tend to fluctuate a lot together with the economy. If you’re used to affordable suburban housing, you might find Singapore’s rent prices a bit steep.
Advantage: Singapore’s strict laws and effective police force make it one of the safest countries globally. You’ll feel totally at ease walking around, no matter what time of day (or night) and where.
That’s not to say that petty crimes like pickpocketing don’t exist. An expat from Japan, where personal belongings are often left unattended, might need to exercise extra caution in Singapore.
Advantage: The ease of building a social network is one of the pros of living in Singapore due to its diverse expatriate community. You will probably find it easy to connect with fellow expatriates and locals.
That’s not to say that there is no language barrier at all. While most Singaporeans speak English, the accent can take a bit of time to get used to, and this goes both ways: understanding the locals and making yourself understood. You may also find that Singaporeans speak Chinese and other local languages on social occasions where you may feel a bit left out if you don’t speak Mandarin. The good news is that if you do speak just a little Mandarin, it’s bound to break the ice. And you can get started even before you land with our live Zoom classes.
Advantage: The efficiency and coverage of Singapore’s public transportation system is a significant advantage. An expat from the US, where public transit might be less developed, would appreciate the convenience of Singapore’s MRT and secure bus stops. It’s cheap, brings you anywhere and there is no need to look or pay for parking space.
Disadvantage: If you’re used to driving, the high cost of car ownership in Singapore can be a burden for those accustomed to driving. Even if you’re earning well, you’ll likely need to do without a second car that you might be used to back home, taking public transportation or taxis instead.
Advantage: One of the benefits of living in Singapore is access to its state-of-the-art healthcare system. An expat from a developing country may find the healthcare services in Singapore superior to those in their home country.
Climate and Outdoor Activities
Advantage: Singapore’s tropical climate it an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts. And while Singapore is a city state, there are plenty of trails for hiking and other outdoor activities, both in Singapore and in neighbouring Malaysia. A Canadian expat might enjoy the year-round warm weather, a stark contrast to the chilly winters they’re used to.
On the flip side, warm weather isn’t everyone’s preference and on the hotter days, you may find yourself sheltered in air-conditioned spaces.
Cost of Living
Disadvantage: The high standard of living in Singapore comes with a high cost. An expat from India might find the cost of basic necessities significantly higher than in their home country. Want more detailed information on cost of living in Singapore? Here’s a detailed blog post on cost of living in Singapore broken down by categories such as housing, transportation and meals by MoneySmart.
If you settle in a well-paid job, your salary (and the relatively low income tax rate) will likely offset the higher cost of living. If you’re coming in without a high earning job, living in Singapore can be a challenge budget-wise.
Advantage: Singapore’s robust technological infrastructure and people’s openness to try new technology are significant Singapore advantages for tech enthusiasts. If you’re a geek who loves to try the latest technologies, you’ll find plenty of like-minded friends in Singapore.
Advantage: If you enjoy eating out and enjoy trying all kinds of new food, Singapore won’t disappoint. With a cosmopolitan population that’s food crazy, there’s restaurants and food stalls everywhere and catering to any taste. Compared to things like housing and car ownership, eating at a restaurant or food court is fairly affordable and an experience in itself. And even if you’re not that adventurous, you’re likely to find a restaurant that serves the dishes you’re used to at home.
Advantage: Singapore has a relatively open economy with high employment rates. If you’re skilled, it’s relatively easy to find employment. This can be a great advantage if your home country suffers from a high employment rate.
However, in recent years, laws have tightened somewhat. Singapore-based companies now do face quotas and minimum salaries when they hire foreigners: here are the most recent rules for hiring foreigners in Singapore by the Ministry of Finance (PDF).
In conclusion, while there are many reasons to live in Singapore, there are also some drawbacks to consider.
Whether living in Singapore is a good fit for you depends on where you are right now and the kind of lifestyle you enjoy. If you’re still not sure, why not visit Singapore and speak to people who have made the move? And if you do, or you’ve just landed, feel free to drop by at our centre to say hi!
Are you new in Singapore?
Yi Mandarin is a Mandarin school located in Singapore. We offer online Mandarin classes via zoom and in-person classes at our centre. If you are travelling to Singapore or are already in Singapore, be sure to visit us and ask us for a souvenir.