Singapore has undoubtedly got an appeal for digital professionals across the globe. With over a 1 million foreign workers, it’s clear to see the attraction for the growing expat community; from its tropical climate, exceptional cleanliness, minimal crime rate not to mention the incredible architectural icons and art spaces.
We’ve shared plenty of articles on ‘Setting up a business in Singapore’ and even a ‘Guide to living in Singapore’ but over the coming weeks we will be exploring the real challenges of moving to work in Singapore from the people who have done it. Last week we spoke to Jason who moved from the US to Singapore.
Thana, a social media manager originally from Thailand now lives and works in Singapore, shares his experiences:
1) What first attracted you a role in Singapore?
It was a good opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone. I had lived my whole life in Thailand and always wanted to live overseas to explore and grow.
It’s a experiencing a new environment that attracted me, so when I got a job offer it was an easy decision. I knew I would learn a lot in Singapore, not only in terms of developing my career but also learning how to live and take care of myself alone.
Since Singapore is a SEA/APAC hub for many companies, it provides a great opportunity to work with people from different nationalities and backgrounds which was very appealing.
Most importantly for me personally, Singapore didn’t feel too far from home (Thailand) and I didn’t have to consider adapting to different cuisines or climates as these are fairly similar.
2) What was the biggest challenge?
Finding a job in Thailand has always been a difficult process unless you want to relocate from Bangkok – there are very few opportunities. It was very clear from the outset that is was a much easier process in Singapore.
Salary was also an issue because even though salaries are higher than what I had experienced in Thailand, I had to consider the very high living costs in Singapore and weigh up my options. Accommodation, in particular, is a huge expense in Singapore – so it meant I needed to do a lot of research beforehand on the right areas and types of accommodation that would suit my budget.
Another big challenge for me to tackle was the fast-paced environment. You can feel a sense of competitiveness and ‘Every Man for Himself’ at first when you arrive in Singapore – that I hadn’t experienced in Thailand, so it took time to get used to my colleagues and become comfortable. I believe this would have been the same in any country I moved to work.
When you start a new job and relocate to a new country, it is a huge ordeal and I think it would be the same in any country, but what makes it slightly harder is the language barriers. My English is pretty good, but I am far from fluent, in Thailand, it was never necessary. Singapore is such an international environment, with many different mother tongues, so for me, that has been a challenge, really taking the time understand different languages and accents.
3) How long have you been in the role?
I’ve been in my role in Singapore for 1 year and 2 months now.
4) What advice would you have for someone else making a similar move?
Be patient. I believe we all have our own motivations to move to another country. Everyone will have an aim and wish you accomplish their personal goals – so attitude is very important.
Embrace everything, and be positive. You will get to grow personally and professionally and have a truly valuable experience. Many people dream of making the move but feel too afraid, but I say ‘take the challenge and look ahead and just go for it’. You won’t be disappointed.