Singapore has established itself as a top destination for expatriate families seeking new experiences, career opportunities, and a high standard of living. In fact, in 2018, HSBC ranked the country as the best destination for expats in the entire world. The size of the expat community in Singapore serves as a further testament to its appeal. According to the Population in Brief 2020 report, Singapore’s expat population consisted of 1.64 million people as of June 2020. This figure represents almost 29% of the country’s overall population, which was recorded at 5.69 million people.
It’s no surprise that expats flock to Singapore in the thousands when you consider that it has some of the strongest happiness indicators of any country in the world, including social support, GDP, and access to health services. This vibrant city-state has much to offer families from abroad, including a thriving economy, excellent infrastructure, and a diverse cultural landscape.
To fully embrace the Singaporean experience, it’s essential for expat families to find ways to integrate into the local community and build meaningful connections with their new neighbors. Here are five strategies that can help you and your family blend in seamlessly while enjoying the unique offerings of Singapore.
Seek Advice from Fellow Expats
One of the first steps towards blending in is to tap into the wisdom and experiences of people who have been in the same boat as you. Singapore boasts a lively expat community, making it easy to find support and guidance even before you touch down in the country. Whether you’re looking for a school with an American curriculum Singapore expats trust, or you’re researching expat-friendly neighborhoods, your peers in the community can surely help you out.
Joining expat groups, both online and offline, will give you opportunities to participate in discussions, ask questions, and share insights. The expat community also frequently hosts events and social gatherings where you can connect with like-minded individuals who have navigated the challenges of living in Singapore. By talking with and getting to know people in a similar situation, you’ll eventually become comfortable and informed enough to start branching out into the local community.
While it’s natural to gravitate towards familiar faces, it’s equally important to forge connections with Singaporeans and integrate more deeply into the local community. Singaporeans are known for their warmth and hospitality, so there’s no reason to hesitate over striking up a conversation, whether it’s at your workplace, in your neighborhood, or at social events. Chances are, they’ll have valuable insights to offer on local traditions, cuisine, and lifestyle.
If you’re looking for even more opportunities to meet people, consider joining local interest groups and participating in activities that align with your hobbies. This will not only deepen your understanding of Singaporean culture but also provide opportunities to build meaningful friendships with locals.
Singapore Nonya Laksa
Sample the Local Cuisine
Food is such a central part of Singaporean culture that eating is considered something of a national pastime. Thus, committing to eating like a local and trying Singaporean specialties with enthusiasm is one of the best ways to integrate better into your new home.
Explore the bustling hawker centers and food markets scattered throughout the island. These culinary hubs offer a wide array of delectable dishes representing various ethnic groups. From mouthwatering laksa to savory chicken rice and flavorful roti prata, there’s something to please every palate. Don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone and try new flavors and textures. Embracing the multicultural food scene in Singapore is not only a gastronomic adventure but also a way to appreciate the diversity that defines this city.
Participate in Volunteering Initiatives
Engaging in volunteer work is a meaningful way to connect with the local community and make a positive impact. Singapore offers a plethora of volunteering opportunities across various sectors, from education and healthcare to environmental conservation and social welfare. Research and discover causes that resonate with you and your family. By dedicating your time and skills to these initiatives, you’ll not only contribute to the betterment of Singaporean society but also develop a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs Singaporeans face. Volunteering can be a powerful avenue for building lasting relationships with locals who share your passion for making a difference.
Fireworks display at the Singapore National Day Parade
Attend Local Cultural and Sporting Events
Singapore’s dazzling cultural scene provides a multitude of opportunities to immerse yourself in the arts, heritage, and sports of the city. Explore the numerous festivals, exhibitions, and performances that take place throughout the year. From the dazzling lights of the Lunar New Year celebrations to the electrifying performances during the Singapore Arts Festival, there’s always something exciting happening.
If you’re a sports enthusiast, it’s also always a good idea to show your support for local sports teams and attend sporting events, which are highly regarded in Singapore. By actively participating in these activities, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for Singapore’s rich sporting heritage and create lasting memories for your family.
As an expat family in Singapore, blending in and embracing the local culture can enrich your experience in this dynamic city-state. Applying the above strategies will help you create meaningful connections, appreciate the multicultural tapestry of Singapore, and truly make this vibrant city your home away from home.