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Relocating from Dallas, TX - Where to live/school advice?

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Posts: 1
Joined: Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:28 am
Location: Dallas, TX, USA

Relocating from Dallas, TX - Where to live/school advice?

Post by thebrowngirls » Sat, 16 Aug 2014 9:50 pm

Hello everyone,

My husband received a verbal offer for a job assignment in SG, and we are awaiting a written offer with the specific details. We know that the job begins at the beginning of January 2015. We are looking for advice on where to live and school recommendations.

- We estimate our housing allowance will be in the $6K - $8K range
- My husband will work near Labrador Park MRT station just west of the CBD
- We would like 3-4 bedrooms, 1500+ sq. ft. We are open to highrise living, but would prefer something like a townhome or a smaller building, or a quieter neighborhood. We would rather have a place that is newer and smaller than older and bigger.
- We are unsure if we will have a car, but we will at least have some sort of transportation allowance for a driver/taxis.
- Need to be close to an MRT station for my husband to get to work
- We have two children, ages 5 and 3 at the time we move
- Tuition will be paid for by my husbands company for international/fee paying school for our 5 year old who is in Kindergarten. We have looked at Stamford American, GEMS, and SAS, and would value your thoughts on these or any other schools we should consider. We know GEMS is not open yet, but if anyone has experience with GEMS in other countries we would love to hear more. My husband will travel about 50% of the time for work so it is more important for us to live near the school we choose than to his office, but would appreciate approximate MRT commute times to these three schools to the Labrador Station, or any other schools we should consider.
- Under his companies standard expat policy we will be responsible for any "non-tuition fees", and we see that the costs of registration are incredibly high! My husband is going to work on some sort of allowance for that.
- An additional school question: Is it difficult to gain admission to school in January since it is not the beginning of the school year?

Nice to have:
- Would love to be able to walk to the local shops, a library, a market, etc. I do lots of sewing and crafts, so proximity to a supply store for such items is a bonus (my husband would say keep me as far away as possible, though!).
- Would like to be in an area that offers extracurricular activities such as ballet class and piano lessons for our daughters.
- No pets, no parents will be joining us.

Our current home and commute:
- We currently live in a 4,500 sq. ft single family home in a Dallas suburb. We know we are not going to have the same life we have in Texas! We are not used to city center hustle and bustle, but are open to it.
- I work from home currently, so I don't have a commute other than to take my daughters on a 15 minute drive to school, and would like to keep our trip to school within a 15 minute commute in SG.
- My husband currently commutes 35-45 minutes one way.

We appreciate your assistance, and are so excited to begin our new adventure. Thank you in advance for your advice!

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Joined: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 6:50 pm

Post by rarkins » Mon, 18 Aug 2014 4:32 am

If you have a car then it will widen your choices a lot, regardless of whether it's used for your husband's work, or school, or both. I can't answer all your points but will help where I can:

I'd refer to Labrador Park MRT as "down south" rather than "just west". I assume you're talking about the right stop though and this is just a Dallas vs Singapore distance perspective!

Don't underestimate the benefit of living in a large condo when it comes to meeting new friends or having children around for your kids to play with after school.

It's common for children to be picked up by school buses, although at ages 3 and 5 it's a little bit your call whether you would want to take them yourself or not. Each school has their own (usually outsourced) service and you need to check if they already pick up from or would be willing to add where you are moving to.

Schools can be rather strict on admission times, so definitely check with them. If you can narrow down your locations based on schools you can likely get admission to, it will make the choice easier. If no luck, try the Australian curriculum schools, which is based on a calendar year schedule.

Both GEMS and Singapore American School are "up north" and quite a long way from Labrador Park. Not easy to find places overlapping in the middle. Without a car for the work commute, these would be difficult.

Stamford International (beware: Google Maps has the wrong location by default) is much more central and if you were able to drive or taxi to school, then you've got a better area of overlap for places reachable via MRT to Labrador Park.

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