Relocating to another country might just be one of the most stressful events in one’s life. From packing your belongings to arranging lodging – there are multiple things you must consider and logistical arrangements that must be carried out. You are required to make several decisions and carefully plan your move in order for it to be smooth sailing. How can you take steps to prepare for your move? Start the planning process early. Create a comprehensive to-do list and plan ahead as far as possible to prevent yourself from feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
In this article, we provide a checklist for foreigners choosing to relocate to Singapore, along with some tips when it comes to living here.
How can you start preparing for your move?
1. Research housing and rental options
Set aside time to do extensive research on housing and find out the procedure for renting in Singapore. Also, decide on your budget, location and essential amenities. Singapore offers public housing, Housing and Development Board (HDB), private condominiums, landed properties and service apartments. If you have young children, choosing a house with facilities like a swimming pool, tennis courts and barbeque pits might be a good idea.
Next, determine which neighbourhood is best for your family based on where your children’s school and workplace are located. Some popular districts for foreigners include Orchard, Holland Village, Tanglin and Novena. Enlisting the help of a housing agent can help take a lot of the leg work out of the process and allow you to narrow down your options quickly. Contact an agent through a reputed site such as PropertyGuru or OrangeTee.
2. Select international schools for your child
While Singapore might be one of the best countries to raise families, you mustn’t overlook how pivotal choosing the right school for your child is. Moving to another country can be difficult for your child. It can mean uprooting them from what they are familiar with – their school, friends and routines. Selecting the ideal school in Singapore can help ease them into a new environment and allow them to flourish.
Consider schools with great culture, a curriculum and syllabus that aligns with that of your home country, an experienced, caring team of teachers and a wide range of extracurricular activities. Singapore offers several excellent international school options, including Chatsworth International School and Dulwich College Singapore International School.
3. Integrate into the community
Having close connections and friendships is key to living a rich life. When you first move, you can quickly feel lonely and isolated. Step outside of your comfort zone and take the right steps to meet people within your community. Before the big move, ask your family and friends if they might know anyone who has migrated to and is currently living in Singapore. This way, you can establish contact before moving.
A significant part of living abroad is soaking up in the local Singapore culture. Research the type of local events such as festivals, concerts, exhibitions, food fests and expositions to interact with the community. Try also to find some online groups for foreigners. Consider joining local meetups and events, such as Meetup.com, Facebook groups, Twitter chats, etc. This way, you’ll be able to connect with other foreigners who speak your native language and share tips about where to eat, what to do, and how to survive.
4. Purchase health insurance
Singapore offers high-quality healthcare. Its healthcare system ranks 12th in the 2021 World Index of Healthcare Innovation. While Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) have access to MediShield Life, foreigners living here are not afforded the same coverage. Your new workplace might also provide you with an employee benefits package through group insurance, but this offers basic coverage, which might be inadequate to cover your needs or that of your family.
Hence, it’s imperative to purchase life and medical insurance as a foreigner living in Singapore. Insurance provides a financial safety net if you have a medical emergency or contract a critical illness. Instead of incurring high expenses from hospital stays or clinic treatments, select an insurance package that offers comprehensive coverage. Consider your budget, the coverage provided, the premium amount and the deductible amount when considering the various health insurance plans.