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Interview with Jarrad – an Australian expat living in Singapore

Updated 31 Oct 2013

Jarrad Brown is an Australian expat living in Singapore. Originally from Perth, he moved to Singapore to gain international exposure and experience as an investment advisor. Despite having to contend with the humidity and missing family and friends back home, Jarrad is enjoying the superb quality of expat life in Singapore.

Learn more about Singapore in the Expat Arrivals Singapore guide, or read more about Expat Experiences in Singapore.

About Jarrad

Jarrad Brown - An Australian expat living in SingaporeQ: Where are you originally from? 
A: Australia

Q: Where are you living now? 
A: Singapore

Q: When did you move to Singapore? 
A: July 2013

Q: Did you move to Singapore alone or with a spouse/family? 
A: With my partner

Q: Why did you move; what do you do? 
A: I was working as an investment advisor in Perth, Western Australia. I thoroughly enjoyed my work and the opportunity to work with the clients I had. I felt that I needed to gain international experience, both in building a client base and managing investment portfolios.

Living in Singapore

Q: What do you enjoy most about Singapore? How would you rate the quality of life compared to Australia? 
A: I enjoy everything being open in the evenings, as it allows me to get a lot more done during the week. The quality of life is superb and the only downside to living in Singapore compared to Perth is the humidity.

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home? 
A: I miss family and friends, as well as my clients from Perth. I also miss being able to buy a great bottle of wine for a reasonable price.

Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life in Singapore? Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?
A: There have been no real culture shocks in the move to Singapore.

Q: What’s the cost of living compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular? 
A: The rental prices of accommodation are certainly higher in Singapore as well as the cost of wine; however, eating is much cheaper so all up, it is relatively similar to Perth.

Q: How would you rate the public transport in Singapore? Do you need to own a car?
A: I use the bus and MRT as well as a taxi every now and then. I don’t own a car and have no immediate plans for that to change. The public transport is superb here.

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Singapore? Have you had any particularly good/bad experiences with regard to doctors and hospitals? Are there any hospitals you would recommend?
A: I have not had any experiences with the system here to date.

Q: What are the biggest safety issues facing expats living in Singapore? Are there any areas expats should avoid?
A: I have not experienced any safety issues to date here.

Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in Singapore? What different options are available for expats?
A: The standards of housing are entirely varied. I was fortunate enough to move into a brand-new condo with great facilities. I did have the opportunity to see some of the older options that I could only describe as having a great deal of ‘character’.

Q: Any areas/suburbs in Singapore you’d recommend for expats to live in?
A: The East Coast has some excellent dining options and is very close by public transport to everything.

Meeting people and making friends

Q: How tolerant are the locals of foreigners? Is there any obvious discrimination against particular religions or women, etc.?
A: Not that I have noticed to any great extent yet.

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends in Singapore? How did you go about meeting new people? 
A: Yes, expats here in Singapore are all in the same boat, so are very open and approachable to making new connections and building the expat network here.

Q: Have you made friends with locals, or do you mix mainly with other expats? What advice would you give to new expats looking to make friends? Any social/expat groups you can recommend?
A: Both, I feel it’s important to mix with both expats and locals; otherwise it diminishes the point of being in a foreign country. The chambers of commerce, sporting groups, Rotary and other charity groups are great places to start.

Working in Singapore

Q: Did you have a problem getting a visa or work permit for Singapore?
A: There were no great issues in this regard.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in Singapore? Do you have any tips for expats looking to find a job there? Which resources did you find most useful?
A: The MAS website was useful for tracking down potential employers for myself, being in the financial services industry.

Q: How does the work culture in Singapore differ from home? Do you have any tips for expats doing business in Singapore?
A: Working hours are much later than Perth; a typical working day for most seems to be 9:30/10am until 6/7pm. I tend to start work earlier (7am to 7.30am) which allows me to work without distractions for a few hours. Working as an investment advisor, it is a very independent career path in building your own client base.

Family and children

Q: Did your partner have problems adjusting to their new home? Do you think there are any specific challenges for a trailing spouse?
A: No, my partner runs a successful training and coaching business teaching executives and salespeople how to utilise the power of LinkedIn to generate sales and business leads. There is certainly a strong appetite for her skills in Singapore.

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals?
A: Speak to as many other expats as you can before and during your move. You will be amazed how much time and stress you can save by just asking others.

~ Interviewed October 2013

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