4 Tips for Your Move to Singapore

Jay Kenton

Just like many of our students will be doing in the coming months, I moved to Singapore not so long ago myself. I had travelled around the world before, including a number of visits to Singapore. But as you know, coming to live in a place is different than visiting as a tourist for a week. 

If you’re anything like me, you may have moments where your feelings on coming to Singapore may range from excited to apprehensive, so here are some suggestions for you to think about as you begin your adventure.

Singapore is unique in all the world – a society that is pragmatic and grounded in the present, yet very forward-looking in its focus on sustainability and becoming one of the world’s great financial hubs. It’s a wonderful melting pot of languages, cuisines, and cultures from East and West and you’ll probably find a bit of the familiar in your first days in the "little red dot".

But don’t be fooled – it is a place all its own, even distinct from its island neighbours.

Realising that it didn’t fall neatly into my expectations was one of the things that has helped the most in adjusting to this tropical city-state.

1. Dive in 

Since you won’t really be able to replicate your experience in (fill in the blank) countries you’ve already visited, dive in to all this society has to offer you. In other words, accept what is instead of lamenting about what isn’t.

Your budget for drinks out may need some adjustment. But on the other hand, the amount of fresh tropical fruits you find in the local wet markets will probably make those un-ripened store-bought versions you saw back home pale in comparison. My favourite fruit here happens to be mangosteen!
2. Get to know the locals

You’ll find a people that’s well-cultured, tolerant, respectful, and even humorous. I have always found the richest international experiences when I make the extra effort (and it does take effort) to get out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in what’s around me.

You may even pick up some local slang, which can quickly endear you to newfound friends. Just do it, lah!

3. Reach out 

Don’t be shy about reaching out to MBAs, your faculty, or the Student Life team here. An MBA student may prove to be a good connection for housing. Faculty have consistently told me they really enjoy being able to help students, but they don’t always know of a need if you don’t share it.

And your Student Life Team can’t wait to meet you! We are here to help facilitate club events, foster social times, and assist with the one-off question you might have about the non-academic side of your experience.

4. Venture beyond

Take time to get to know the island beyond the immediate One North neighbourhood (where the INSEAD campus is located) or the City Centre.

If you like nature, there’s the Treetop Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir. If you are a foodie looking for something unique, get some fresh seafood by the fishing villages near Punggol on the northeast side of the island.  Have you ever seen nocturnal wild animals in their natural habitat? Check out the famous Night Safari in the central part of the island.

There is plenty to keep you busy when you’re not studying or on campus.
Here's to a stay that’s memorable and enlarging, in all the best ways!