Singapore is no stranger to expatriate families. The city-state is home to a population of about 1.56 million non-residents from all walks of life, from students and dependents to employees and entrepreneurs. Of this number, it’s estimated that about 30,000 of the expats living in Singapore are from America. The two countries have maintained strong economic and defense relationships for more than five decades, with many Americans choosing to study, work, and live in Singapore and vice versa.
Perhaps you are thinking of doing the same. You may look forward to expanding your business in Asia and turning Singapore into a springboard for your entrepreneurial endeavors. It may also be that you can accept an overseas job posting from a company with an office in Lion City. Either way, it’s crucial for you to prepare your family for this big step and to set your expectations early on so that you won’t have a hard time adjusting to your new location.
You can start by taking note of the following details about the country, which many Americans often find surprising:
Some Schools Make Use of the American Curriculum
Singapore might be half a world away from the US, but this doesn’t mean you’ll have difficulty finding a school your children can quickly familiarize themselves with. American curriculum Singapore schools exist, and they provide students from the US and other countries with a place to experience continuity of learning.
Enrolling your children in such a school ensures they will retain familiarity with the American education system and won’t have any trouble picking up where they left off should your family return to the US. Still, the schools that use the American curriculum in Singapore foster an international community of learners. Your kids will still be exposed to various people, customs, languages, and traditions during their time there.
The Prices of Certain Types of Goods Can Get Pretty High
The countries surrounding Singapore may be well-known for having lower living costs than the US, but the same often can’t be said of the city-state. Do note that living in Singapore can be a bit more expensive than living in many of the cities in the US.
According to some estimates, the average cost of living in Lion City is 15% more expensive than the average. Singapore is a frequent placer in the world’s top most expensive cities. Items that can be considered “vices,” such as cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, are sold at quite a hefty price. Rent can also be costly here, let alone buying property. As such, be financially prepared before moving into the country.
The Public Transportation System Is Efficient and Economical
The US is a vast country, and in sparsely populated areas, many people must have their vehicle to move around and even run everyday errands. Singapore, on the other hand, is very small in comparison. That makes it much easier for the country to provide its residents with an extensive and accessible transportation system.
The costs of owning a car in the city-state can be very high because of the taxes involved, but if you need to get anywhere in the city in a quick, safe, efficient, and economical manner, you’re likely better off relying on Singapore’s convenient and extensive train and bus systems anyway.
It’s Safe to Roam the Streets at Any Time of Day (or Night)
Singapore is relatively safe; it has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. For many Americans, walking on empty streets deep into the night can seem unsafe, but not when living in Singapore.
Here, people don’t even bother to look behind their backs at night. The country has a strong culture rooted in obedience to the law, and severe punishments are given to law offenders. These serve as effective deterrents to criminal activity, and they may put you at ease when you imagine a life for your family here.
The Heat and Humidity Can Be Quite Oppressive
Singapore is a modern city-state, but that doesn’t mean it’s free from the high heat and humidity levels typical of tropical locations near the equator. The heat here can be quite unbearable, especially if you have to deal with the high humidity level simultaneously.
Prepare to get a lot of sun and a lot of rain during your time in the city, and make sure that the clothes you pick will keep you cool and fresh no matter how sticky it gets. But remember that even if it rains, you’ll still be able to get where you need to, thanks to the country’s extensive transportation systems and network of covered walkways.
It’s Easy to Feel at Home in Singapore as an American Expat
There are plenty of differences between Singapore and the United States, and moving to the Lion City will require you to confront these differences firsthand. Still, you won’t have a hard time finding a place for yourself and your family in the Singapore community.
This cosmopolitan city-state is home to different types of people who coexist harmoniously and make conscious efforts to develop a welcoming community. You’ll no doubt see this for yourself once you make this country your home for the next few years.