Singapore Guide: Living in Singapore

  • By Sithikorn (Win) Kittivatcharapong
  • on 24 Feb 2020
  • Categories : Culture, Destinations, Life Experiences, Tips Advices, Travel, Welcome Guide



The "Lion City" is one of Southeast Asia's brightest gems. With such a vibrant atmosphere and its own distinctive culture, Singapore has to be on every single person's bucket list. It is also home to multinational companies and exciting new start ups. An internship in Singapore will surely spice things up on your resumé. You might be wondering what a daily life in Singapore looks like. Look no further. We have the answer to your questions, concerns, and considerations about life in Singapore. 

Nestled near the equator, Singapore neighbors Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Its geographic location makes it the center of everything in Southeast Asia. This island nation is characterized by its strategic port trading location and its strong free-market economy. Singapore is considered to be one of the four economic "Asian Tigers" of East Asia, alongside Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. Among other things you will come to discover, this small and beautiful city-state is clean, modern, orderly, and safe. 

Here is what a life in Singapore has to offer you:

Singapore is the Hot Pot of Southeast Asia

Singapore culture

Singapore's cultural diversity covers all 700 square kilometers of land. The diverse range of ethnicities and religions is reflected in the fact there are a total of 4 official languages: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. It's not just for show either, there will always be translations in various different languages around you during your stay in Singapore. There is strong religious diversity as well with the population being spread evenly between many different religions. The biggest majority, Buddhists, comprise of only a third of the population. The remaining two-thirds are 18% Christian, followed by 17% who are non-religious, 15% Islam, 10% Taoist, and 5% Hindu. For this reason, an internship in Singapore will allow you to explore many different religious holidays that are celebrated in the country.

Not only is Singapore a unique blend of Asian culture, but many aspects of Western civilization are present as well. British colonial rule can be seen in the architecture of older buildings and in its existing status as one of the most important ports in the world. Singapore has a president as the head of state and a prime minister as the head of government, a reflection of the British monarchy and political system. Like many parts of the world, Singapore adopted some Christian holidays, despite not being a Christian nation. So you can expect Christmas Day and Good Friday to be office holidays. The prevalence of English language is also very noticeable. 

Singaporeans Can Speak Good English Lah

Singlish

English was pushed hard by the government to be the universal language shared by everyone in an attempt to unite the various ethnic groups. As a result, Singaporeans are fluent English speakers. Many Singaporeans are bilingual with English being the go-to language, and this is highly encouraged in various settings such as schools and offices. So if you are either looking to practice your English skills or feel more comfortable living in a country of English speakers, you are looking at the right place.

Another common tongue in Singapore is Singlish. Singlish is a branch of English in Singapore that has evolved as a result of incorporating aspects from the many other regional languages such as Malay, Tamil and various Chinese dialects. As a result, Singlish will be difficult for non-Singaporeans to understand and even harder to speak. Picking up a basic understanding of some Singlish phrases is highly recommended if you plan on living in Singapore long-term.

Check out this Singlish dictionary if you are curious to learn a word's meaning!

Singaporean Cuisine

An internship abroad will never be complete without trying authentic food. Singaporean cuisine is unique in its own style and taste. But what is Singaporean cuisine? Singaporean cuisine has extreme depth and diversity, with a lot of the dishes having cultural ties to various countries in Asia such as China, Indonesia, or even India. Be sure to try some of these famous Singaporean dishes during your internship in Singapore!


The Hainanese Chicken is probably one of Singapore's most simple, yet mouth-watering, dish. This is a rice dish with steamed chicken on top. The pieces of chicken are cut into thin pieces and what makes the dish very tasty are the sauces that come with the chicken. This traditional dish actually originated in the Hainan province of China but was made popular in Singapore due to the influence of Chinese immigrants residing in the Lion City. 

The next dish is Singapore's national dish and while an interning there, be sure to try it. Edible for both lunch or dinner, the Chili Crab dish can be enjoyed anytime during the day. The dish comes with sambal sauce (local chili and shrimp paste), tomato paste, and eggs. The crabs come in gigantic sizes and will definitely be a delicious delight for anyone seafood enthusiast. Be sure to try out Singapore's Chili Crab at Melben Seafood, a local Tze Char restaurant.

Always start the day with a good breakfast, it is the most important meal of the day. Luckily, a traditional Singaporean brekkie will get you fresh right off the bat. Kaya Toast with Kopi is a traditional Singaporean breakfast that is not too sweet nor salty. The dish is a balance between a lot of things, such as, eggs, sugar, milk, or even, pandan leaves. The signature elements of this dish are the Kopi, which is coffee, and the Kaya toast.   

One Ez-Link Card to Rule Them All

Singapore MRT

Getting around Singapore is a simple matter, thanks to the comprehensive and modern public transportation infrastructure. An internship in Singapore would mean accessibility to mass transportation systems but more importantly, it will be very easy to travel around the country. You only need one card to do it all, the Ez-link cardAll of Singapore's public transportation; the MRT, LRT and bus system, use ez-link stored value cards. Avoid time wasted counting coins and queuing for single trip tickets. With this card, you'll be able to go anywhere. Your card can also be used at some restaurants and retail stores, on top of transportation and various other applications. Tickets can be purchased at train stations as well as 7/11 convenience stores and have a minimum top-up value of SG$10. Additional information about EZ-Link cards is available on their website.

When public transportation isn't convenient, you can grab a cab. Ez-link cards also cover some taxi services, like SMRT and CityCab as well. Taxis can be expensive, depending on surcharge and additional fees that may increase your fare. So if you are looking to save money, taxis are not recommended. A safe and easy method of getting a taxi is locating a taxi stand. Look for them around hotels and malls. Alternatively, you can try to hail a cab, but keep in mind they will drive past if they aren't allowed to stop.

You can also call or use an application to bring a taxi to your location. Here are some of Singapore's taxi services to get you started:

Working in Singapore 

Undoubtedly one of the best countries in the world to live in, an internship in Singapore would give you a lot of insight, and glimpse, into the corporate world. Companies and start ups in Singapore are of the highest quality and will open doors to new and exciting opportunities. Singapore is a center for everything in Asia; business, money, media, you name it. Household and well known companies have large headquarters in Singapore but, what is it like to intern in Singapore, and what are some of the perks of doing so? 

With a booming economy, you will be able to live a rather lucrative lifestyle with a standardized pay check. In addition, Singapore also has one of the most globalized economy in the world. Matthew Bulley, an APAC Director, once said that, "Singapore is a brilliant country to live in and it is run like a well structured company."  Singapore is also a center hub of Asia. With one of the world's most impressive airports, Changi Airport is home to thousands of incoming and outgoing flights. It will be very easy to find a flight from anywhere around the world to Singapore. An internship in abroad means that you would need to get a work and residence permit. Luckily, Singapore is very interested in acquiring talents overseas while acquiring new residence to boost the country's economy. 

Singapore internship

You are Ready for Your Life in Singapore

Now that you have learned more on Singapore, you are ready to start your life there. The country has a lot to offer you, whether you remain for a brief duration, or end up staying long-term. Singapore has a thriving economy thanks to its strategic ports and anti-corruption agenda pushed by the government.

If living in Singapore is not for you, perhaps consider traveling? Experience Singapore from a tourist's perspective! 

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What do you like or dislike about living in Singapore? Let us know in the comments below!

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Internship in Singapore

About author

Originally from Thailand, I attended an international school in Bangkok from kindergarten until senior year. I got my bachelor's degree in marketing communications from Emerson College in Boston, MA and I'm extremely passionate about (almost every) sports, digital marketing, and learning about different cultures around the world!

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