Singapore Expats

Expat community?

Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.
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Expat community?

Post by Vanessa83 » Tue, 24 Feb 2009 4:37 pm

Relocating to Singapore in April/May 09, we are staying for around 2-3 yrs, wondering what is the best area to live in, preferable a place where most expats gather, e.g. in Sydney expats tend to gather at Coogee and Bondi....


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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 24 Feb 2009 6:30 pm

As the various Int'l schools are located all over the island you will find enclaves everywhere depending on schooling, leisure preferences, travel distances, whether or not you will be using public transport or have a car. Traditionally everybody thinks of Holland Village but since the American School moved to the north side of Singapore there is enclaves everywhere. If you are a beach type, you would do well to think about the east coast. A lot also depends on your package housing allowance which the smaller it is the further out from the business district you will be.

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Post by durain » Tue, 24 Feb 2009 6:32 pm

there's no one place where expats will gather. singapore is small as well, so expats are spread everywhere, not like in rhodesia where expats will have to gather together. so just enjoy singapore and mingle with the locals.

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Post by rosborn » Mon, 02 Mar 2009 9:53 pm

There does seem to be enclaves and I can only comment on those I have heard of / visited.
Bukit Timah, Holland Village, River Valley, Tanglin, East Coast are just some of the areas that are popular with expats. What we found (and our last locale was Sydney, Manly) is that where you live will depend on some of these factors i) budget ii) commute/place of work/school iii) desire to work to certain amenities or not, iv) facilities v) if you will have a car.

We live in a condo in River Valley. This is approx. 2-3kms from the city, walking distance to going out hubs but a drive to beach and key parks. Because it's close to the city good condos and certainly houses cost more / or you get less than if you go further out.

When we first arrived, we were driven around by an agent to check out different areas. This is something I highly recommend. For us, we wanted a short commute to work (10 mins) and ability to walk places rather than drive. We have also found our condo - called Aspen Heights - to be fantastically international and friendly. As a first move I do recommend the right condo for meeting people. I say' right condo' because I heard from friends that their aren't like ours. Having now racked up a year, I would prefer a house - even a small one - to get the outdoor space for the kids.

Having said that, poring over the expats papers you should quickly be able to amass the key social activities in your area and meet people through these...and therefore a house will be fine to start.

You do tend to get more for your money on the east coast vs holland or bukit timah or river valley for that matter. Go and see several areas.

Leases tend to be 2 years but because of the rental slow down you should be able to i) get a substantial discount on the advertised price (I seriously suggest offering 25% less as a starting point) and ii) negotiate a year term so you can then mix it up if you want a change. Also I can't recommend enough that your contract has a diplomatic clause that allows you to get out after 14 months (if you have a 2 year lease). Leases are watertight and if you job situation changes and you have to leave you don't want to have to pay it out for the remainder of the lease term.

good luck!!!

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Post by andreaaadb » Tue, 10 Mar 2009 1:37 pm

Ya..agreed....there really is no one place where expats will stay tog cos Spore is really small.

But there are places where they hang out! Check out this magazine called Juice or IS..they can be found at most cafes...there shld be a whole list of things for you to do.

And if you wanna meet pple, hang out with your workmates and get them to introduce you to Sporean freinds.

No pt just hanging out with other expats although they wld be most able to give you expat advise...but if you intend to stay for 2 -3 yrs...make Sporean freinds.

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Post by sierra2469alpha » Tue, 10 Mar 2009 2:12 pm

I'm with Andrea on her excellent points - no use being an expat if all you want to do is live and breathe with people from your home country. Aside from the somewhat xenophobic connotations of doing so, it does beg the question "why come here in the first place?".

If you want to create your own little Coogee or Bondi, go for it. Those types of places are one of the reasons we left.

P & C

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Post by road.not.taken » Tue, 10 Mar 2009 6:33 pm

sierra2469alpha wrote:I'm with Andrea on her excellent points - no use being an expat if all you want to do is live and breathe with people from your home country. Aside from the somewhat xenophobic connotations of doing so, it does beg the question "why come here in the first place?".

If you want to create your own little Coogee or Bondi, go for it. Those types of places are one of the reasons we left.

P & C
I think expats come here for a variety of reasons, with all kinds of expectations and all kinds of baggage. When all is said and done: whatever makes you happy is fine -- some people have all expat friends, they are not better or worse expats, they are just operating in their comfort zone, doing what they have to do to make it to tomorrow, hopefully with smile on their face. Just as those who feel the need to go more local, are operating in their own comfort zone.

I think it's a little silly to put on a Expat Warrior Suit of Armor and try to 'out do' others. Live and let live.

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Post by idhenners » Sat, 14 Mar 2009 4:50 am

My general experience so far with colleagues and friends is that the younger single crew appear to be attracted towards Clarke Quay / Robertson Quay / Bugis... familes seem to have a habit of heading further out along the east coast where you get much more space, and the lazy gits among us end up 2 minutes walk away from our offices :)

As with the other posts here, there is no real area that attracts expats more than others. I'd think a little more about the experience you want to have. Do you want bars & restaurants on your doorstep? Would you rather have more space and green area? Do you mind the commute to work?

At the end of the day Singapore is so small and the transport so cheap and effective that there is no real need for expats to congregate in a single area!

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