by Amber Lobe
Since moving to Singapore, one of the most common questions I find people get asked is, “Where do you see yourself five years from now?" We never really know the answer unless we have certain circumstances— never would I have expected to be living abroad, pursuing a career in which I did not earn a degree five years ago. I had always planned to travel, but Singapore was not on my radar. I didn’t even know where it was on a map! Being young with no ties, it was a no-brainer to say yes to this opprutunity. It was an opportunity I could not pass up. Though it was an easy decision, it was still an emotional one—packing up all my things, all the “unknowns,” moving somewhere I had never been far from home. However, I had to take a leap of faith and just go.
Being as culturally diverse and expat-friendly as Singapore is, the transition of moving has been quite easy. I enjoy that I can get to know people from all around the world and hear about their experiences. Singapore is relatively westernized for an Asian city. The closest U.S. comparison I can think of is New York—but Singapore is cleaner, greener, and seems safer. There is a well-respected “no gum chewing/spitting on the street” rule, and the fine for throwing even a cigarette butt on the ground is extremely high. It is really humid here which would be challenging, but it is nice to go outside without a jacket. The food is AMAZING, and there is a wide variety of it. Singapore is also a hub for traveling. I love how conveniently easy it is to travel to neighboring countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It is also relatively cheap to do so. I look forward optimizing my experience by exploring all the neighboring counties, and even some of the further ones such as Australia or Japan.
There have been a few adjustments that have been more difficult. Unfortunately for me, smoking is a norm here. Additionally, learning the metric system, converting pounds to kilograms and miles to kilometers has taken some time. Drinking here is special and can get quite expensive. To put it in perspective, I don’t expect to get a beer or glass of wine for less than $12-$15 (1USD=1.41 Singapore dollar). You don’t even want to know what it cost for a bottle of liquor.
I don’t know how long I will be living abroad, but I know that I can always go home to Washington. For my peers, it seems to be more common than not to get out and explore the world. I can guarantee anybody who has traveled will encourage you to have the experience. If you are thinking about traveling abroad, just do it.