Living Abroad Spotlight: Singapore

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 8:08 PM

As the global economy expands and more and more companies move overseas, many law firms have begun to open offices in Southeast Asia.  In particular, Singapore has been an active area for international firms.  Firms such as Latham & WatkinsO'Melveny & Myers, and Morrison & Foerster have all opened or expanded offices in Singapore in the last year.  One of the reasons Singapore has been such a popular destination is that it is a great country for expatriates. Of all the common expatriate destinations in Asia, Singapore has been consistently voted as one of the friendliest to expatriates’ families.  A number of features help make Singapore welcoming to guests from abroad:


While Mandarin Chinese is the official language of Singapore, English is the most commonly spoken language and the language of commerce. Children are typically taught in English in schools, although they will be expected to learn Mandarin as well.  On unique feature of language in Singapore is the hybrid language, “Singlish”.  Singlish is a combination of English with words and pronunciations from other languages.  While it can be initially be hard for English speakers to understand, true difficulty communicating is rare.

Standard of Living

The standard of living in Singapore is quite high with ample access to broadband, clean air, and a well-developed infrastructure.  While the government has recently gained international attention for its severity, this in reality has the crime rate low and streets safe.  This high cost of living does come at price, however.  Singapore has one of the highest costs of living in the world.  Still, the healthcare services in Singapore are second to none and the quality of living is astronomical.


Singapore has some of the most well-known, renowned international schools in the world.  With schools like the United World College of South East Asia and Tanglin Trust School expatriates looking for a quality English education for their children have a variety of options to pick from.  Tuition to most international schools is reasonable, with selection being manageable. Additionally, many secondary education schools in Singapore participate in the International Baccalaureate (or IB) program which allows students to earn college credits.  These credits are transferable to a number of international universities, including those in the United States.

Strong Expatriate Presence

Approximately 38% of Singapore’s population consists of foreign workers.  Expatriate support groups and clubs are extremely common, so families seeking others in similar circumstances will not feel alone.

Moving to a foreign country can be difficult for anyone, especially families.  But, in Singapore, expatriate families will face no language barrier, be provided with safe, clean streets, and a have a host of options for providing their children a quality education that translates across borders.  For these many reasons, Singapore has continued to be a popular destination for expatriates working abroad.

For information on other popular expatriate destinations abroad, check out our spotlight on Hong Kong.

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