Testimony of an expatriate in Singapore

I arrived in Singapore in July 2006, as a student at an engineering school in France. Not being at all familiar with Asia and knowing that a change of scenery was guaranteed, this was just one more attraction for discovering Singapore.


What’s more, Singapore’s standard of living is quite similar to Europe’s, so when it comes to hygiene, food and health, it’s worth pointing out that Singapore is one of the only countries in Southeast Asia to have drinking water on tap. An insignificant detail that makes life a whole lot easier…

Accommodation wasn’t a problem for me, as the university housed me on campus, so when I arrived I already had a room booked.
At first, the climate is a little hard to bear, especially when you arrive in summer and the mercury soarsSingapore is very humid (over 90% humidity all year round), so you feel the heat much more. However, compared to the research I had done which said it was stifling, it was fine. It does take a little getting used to.

Language is a barrier at the outset, as I hadn’t really practiced English before, it was a bit hard to make myself understood. Making yourself understood, because in France you’re taught the words but not how to say them, which meant I had to repeat canard 6-7 times at a food court (sort of a big cafeteria) ….and understanding, because since Singapore is full of people from different backgrounds Firstly, you have to adapt to all accents and secondly, for some people the accent is very pronounced, which means that even after 8 months in the country some people are still hard to understand, whereas Americans and Canadians on exchange like me are comparatively easy to understand.

For me, adapting to the food was fairly easy because I love rice, but I know that if you don’t like rice you’ll find plenty to eat, but the choice is much more limited.
Singapore is a haven for shopping and food, so you’ll always find what you’re looking for in Singapore (there are even two Carrefour stores).

I love it:

  • its cost of living. In fact, to compare with Europe, food is much cheaper, with only alcohol coming close to the price we’re used to. I don’t smoke but I know that cigarettes are even more expensive than in France.
  • its food, in fact you can eat something different every day: Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Korean,…And it’s cheap….(count 2 € per dish)
  • it’s still warm, indeed no sweater, no scarf…..being 150 km from the equator the trees still have leaves….
  • security in Singapore
  • Its geographical position and standard of living make it an ideal base from which to explore Southeast Asia.

I don’t like

  • monsoon: Singapore’s situation means that it rains a lot all the time, but particularly during the monsoon season in December and January, it even rained as much as half the monthly rainfall in France in one day.
  • the time difference, 7 h in winter with France, to be connected to people in France, family friends, it’s not always easy and often requires going to bed on time.


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