An orientation trip sounds at first like a paid holiday. Especially people who have never been “outside” for a long time can easily fall into this trap. Different countries, different traditions. Of course it is easier today to inform yourself on the Internet, but according to the proverb: it always comes differently than you think, unexpected surprises await us. Now this is not quite so extreme with Singapore, since the island is highly developed and offers in some areas more than we know it from Germany. Nevertheless, it is quite different.
If you plan to live in another country, you can use this chance to clarify some things in advance.
First and foremost the question: Do you really want that? There’s no point in believing you can live like you do in your own Country. For me, a stay abroad means getting involved with the other culture and learning the language. Putting my own culture on ice a bit. With children this is less easy, because you have to keep in mind that they have to settle back in Germany after a few years. For this it is necessary, for example, to take over some of the traditions and habits. This starts with tidying up the own room, the question about school and doesn’t end with baking Christmas cookies, whose ingredients are not always good to get. My children don’t go with me this time, they’ve grown up a long time ago. That makes it easier.
So I have already made friends with Singapore on the Internet. I didn’t want to leave the search for a hotel to the company. A four or five star standard is not equally good within Germany or Denmark, but abroad the differences are often much more drastic. Since I’m trained by profession to the weak points, which I discover also on an Internet side, it took a while until I found “our” hotel. In addition to cleanliness, order and ambience, the location is also important in Singapore. With the temperatures and the high humidity, I don’t want to walk for hours.
What did we use the time for?
Before departure we arranged appointments with an agency on two days to see apartments in different objects.
Arriving at the hotel, we first had to change our clothe. Then we just start to look around. A city map is not really a help, but Google is. The first touches with the people, with habits like left-hand traffic – which of course is also reflected on escalators and sidewalks – and the first meal. Food in Singapore is not food like we knew it in China and Indonesia. And of course not at all, like Asian food in Europe.
In the course of our stay we familiarized ourselves with the opening hours and the kind of shops. So we could complete our list with things we would rather bring along. In principle, you can get anything you want. Sometimes similar as we know it. But the question is where and for how much? Especially at the beginning you usually don’t have such an overview and it is stress-free to have certain things in reserve.
We drove a lot of public transport and taxis because it doesn’t make sense to have your own car. First of all, it is extremely complex to get one and very expensive, in addition there is the daily rush hour and secondly you can take a rental car if you want to go to Malaysia quickly. This works very well with the European driving licence. The public transport is very cheap. In the subway stations, you can buy a kind of cheque card at the counter and then simply load it at the ticket machine. Now you only have to put it on a display and you will be shown the remaining amount. Very practical.
Of course the “most important” tourist attractions. Then you have to do this later only with your visitors 😉. But this also gives you a good impression of how they deal with foreigners. Of course, from now on we are the foreigners here, this was an important observation. Conclusion: Foreigners are treated obligingly here 😊.
An overview of the medical system can also be done. The numerous hospitals (private and public) advertise in the local magazines. But also in the entrance halls of the Hospitals where you can find the names of the doctors. Then Google or Facebook groups and the overview is completed. Findings: The medical system is excellent.
It may sound strange, but the question of what wear people here in everyday life is not unimportant. I couldn’t do much with the “casual” statement from the Internet. I don’t know much about brands. I buy my clothes after “I like” and “I don’t like”. I also see second hand shops as an alternative to save resources. Also my husband needed more information. As already suspected by him, nothing works without a long-sleeved shirt. “Casual” means in his environment simply without tie and jacket. Tourists are seen immediately 😉. Of course, this doesn’t mean that in the future I will only be seen in a chic dress and high heels, but it is also part of integration to adapt to the general public in certain situations. Or not, but then you have to be able to do it consciously and not get underdressed somewhere 😉.
Cost of living in Singapore is 10.24% higher than in Germany. Rent in Singapore is 118.63% higher than in Germany (numbeo.com).
Probably there are still a few things I forgot to mention here. If you wanted to know something specific, just write me a message.