Relocation to Singapore
This page covers guides on expat Singapore relocation, expatriates staying and living in Singapore. Information and tips when relocating to Singapore includes culture shock, cost of living and others. All information an expat or would-be expat needed to know.
Our Information Guide to you to help ease the transition of relocating to Singapore. Relocating to a new place can be very stressful. We have compiled information that can be very helpful with the many issues you may consider. Here are some of the issues:
Coping with Culture Shock
What is culture shock?
Culture shock is caused by the stress of being in a new culture. It is a normal part of adjusting to new foods, customs, language, people and activities.
Symptoms of culture shock are:
- Unwarranted criticism of the culture and people
- Constant complaints about the climate
- Utopian ideas concerning one's previous culture
- Continuous concern about the purity of water and food
- Fear of touching local people
- Refusal to learn the language
- Preoccupation about being robbed or cheated
- Pressing desire to talk with people who "really make sense."
- Preoccupation with returning home
- Overly concerned with health
- Distrust of hosts
- Withdrawal of people
- Lowered work performances
How can you cope with culture shock when in Singapore?
The most effective way to combat culture shock is to step back from a given event that has bothered you, assess it, and search for an appropriate explanation and response. Try the following:
Are you misunderstanding the host people's treatment of you? Where can you find more information about this aspect of the culture? Behavior which seems rude to you, may not be intended as rude. Polite customs are different for each culture. When situations seem senseless, remember the hosts may be following social rules unknown to you. Ask questions about social customs. And plan how you may want to act to this similar situations in future.
If you are still bothered by a situation, find ways to minimize the irritation. Is the situation necessary? If not, you may be able to avoid or minimize involvement.
What do you miss the most which was enjoyable in your home country? Look for ways to meet these desires or replace these with something new. For example, if you miss your favourite American steak, go to an American steakhouse or head to the supermarkets to cook some yourself. In Singapore, expatriates are fortunate as we are very cosmopolitan, it is very easy to find a treat from your own country as Singapore serves up many cultures' food.
Develop friendships with both Singaporeans and people from your own country. At times the friendships with culturally different people will seem very taxing. That is why it is important to have people from your own country or area to spend time with also. This helps you re-energize for interacting cross-culturally. However, isolation in either group alone causes more adjustment problems.
Talk to people from your country about your stresses and ask how they have dealt with the same situation.
Continue improving your language proficiency (watch TV, listen to the radio, read books in English).
Have a sense of humor. Allow yourself to see the humor in misunderstandings or embarrassments. Laughter heals. Singaporeans are generally very easy-going and helpful.
Exercise and a nutritional diet also help to reduce stress.
Remember that some culture shock is a normal part of adjusting to a new country. However, the more severe symptoms mean the adjustment process is blocked and you need help to move
into a more comfortable stage.
Find a place where you feel comfortable and spend time there. In Singapore, you can head down to the East Coast beach.
Have certain times during the week or day when you don't think about your research or problems, just have fun.
When problems seem to be building up, mentally step back from them. Divide your problems up, understand each one, and work on them one at a time.
If headaches and stomach aches become a constant problem, realize that they may be a sign of emotional problems, not just physical problems. If medical doctors and medication do not work, it might be time to see a counsellor.
It is important to maintain regular life patterns, for example eating meals at regular times and sleeping and exercising regularly.
When you begin to feel depressed, ask yourself: "What did I expect? Why? Was my expectation reasonable?" Sometimes, you may be setting your expectations from people too high, so lowering your expectations and try to understand the other party's intentions will also help reduce your stress level.
Learn the culture and customs of Singapore. Singapore is very multi-ethnic and cultural based, expatriates are normally treated as a part of the family.
Disregard your old assumptions and expectations. Be open to learning new things. Explore new ways of living and compare these to your own. Become more aware of both your values and attitudes and those of your host country.
Adjusting to a new culture requires a good amount of re-examination of your own values and outlook. Try to do that as you live in the new culture.
Throughout the period of cultural adaptation, take good care of yourself. Read a book or rent a video in your home language, take a short trip if possible, exercise and get plenty of rest, write a letter or telephone home, eat good food, and do things you enjoy with friends. Take special notice of things you enjoy about living in the host culture.
Although it can be disconcerting and a little scary, the "shock" gradually eases as you begin to understand the new culture. It is useful to realize that often the reactions and perceptions of others toward you--and you toward them-- are not personal evaluations but are based on a clash of cultural values. The more skilled you become in recognizing how and when cultural values and behaviors are likely to come in conflict, the easier it becomes to make adjustments that can help you avoid serious difficulties.
Cost of Living
The job seeker can either live rather cheaply in Singapore, or can live a life of luxury. Salaries are competitive, and numerous benefits (such as recreation facilities and bonuses) make working here a rewarding experience.
Food is relatively cheap in Singapore. Food courts (which are often air-conditioned) or what are commonly called hawker centers are recommended for an expensive, hearty meal. However, restaurant prices are higher. Take a look at our Eating in Singapore .
Those on expatriate compensation packages may also receive additional benefits, such as transportation/car allowances, housing, childcare, payment of school fees, entertainment allowances, and work-related benefits. According to Mercer survey (1 June 2003) on the cost of living, Singapore is easier to stretch the dollar than that of Hong Kong and Beijing, making it cheaper for expatriates to live in. Singapore fell eight places from 24th to the 32nd position, in a survey of cost of living of 144 cities. The survey measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each city, including housing, food, clothing and household goods, transport and entertainment.
Cost of utilities - Electricity, Water and GasSource: www.singaporeexpats.com