“A lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.”
―Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Two years ago, if you told me that I would ditch a chance at Silicon Valley and choose a little red dot over travelling across 5 continents, I’d laugh at your face for two reasons. Firstly, I wouldn’t think I’m anywhere near as talented for those opportunities; Secondly, who on Earth would give that up?
And today I’d apologize. Because that’s exactly what I did. I decided to move to Singapore. Now, before you close the tab (because who would listen to this idiot?) faster than Yamcha dying, hear me out: you should totally consider following my footsteps! Why? Read on.
Singapore is so tiny geographically, that you could essentially drive around the whole country in a few hours. Yet, travel is the island’s strong suit. “Travel where?”, you scoff. Why, anywhere you like! Flights from Changi, one of the coolest and most well-connected airports in the world, are usually a steal.
So if you’re feeling like chilling on exotic islands, heading over to K-pop/Anime land, meeting clients in HK/KL or visiting our western friends, you won’t have to burn a hole in your pocket.
You can even meet people from all over the world without travelling! Being one of the most visited in Asia, Singapore never runs out of a diverse array of awesome tourists. NUS and NTU also attract a massive chunk of exchange students, most of them on their first visit to Asia!
Last but not the least, you can afford to visit your family often – and that makes the transition so much better!
FOOD AND CULTURE
If you’re living on-campus, the thought of cooking dinner after a packed day at school makes you lose weight – because you decide that your (*ahem* sub-par) dish isn’t worth all the effort.
Thankfully, that’s rare if you’re in Singapore! Almost everyone eats outside. It’s cheap, it’s delicious, and there are tonnes of options. Almost any food-court/hawker-centre would include the major Asian cuisines, and western/fast-food is widespread.
If you’re craving something more specific, like Arabian or Bengali, you can head on over to Arab Street or Mustafa Centre. Most importantly, if you’re a Muslim like me, the best part is the widely-available,strictly-controlled Halal certification. Now you don’t have to live on Instant Noodles forever!
The culture in Singapore is also a mixture of a lot of different ones. It is an example of a Westernized Eastern society. Singapore also boasts a very diverse population from various races, ethnicities, religions and 4 official languages.
If you want to experience a range of cultures and how they interact peacefully, Singapore is the place to be!
WORLD-CLASS (YET AFFORDABLE) EDUCATION
As useless of a metric standalone World University Rankings are, they are sometimes worth something (bragging rights, for example). Singapore has 2 of the world’s top 15 universities, NTU and NUS.
Once you’ve experienced the scenic campuses, modern facilities, excellent opportunities on top of academic rigour, it’s not tough to see why. And it’s way cheaper than their counterparts elsewhere. Even if you don’t qualify for the range of scholarships, you can easily avail government grants, interest-free* bank loans and work-study schemes.
Yes, getting in is quite competitive; staying on the right side of the bell-curve even more so. But the obstacles are there for good reasons. As long as you don’t become kiasu, and manage your priorities well, you’ll have a hell of a time here. So if you’ve ever wanted to experience the forefront of academia, you know what to do.
Singapore pays well-enough to live comfortably in this expensive city-state. Add to that the fact that major MNCs have regional headquarters in this global-financial hub, and you have a very hard time deciding where to apply.
If selling your soul to the Corporate world is not your forte, make your way to the startups. Thanks to the government’s support, the startup scene here is blooming, with lots of them gaining considerable success and traction in the world-stage. It’s your time to steal the show.
SAFETY AND HEALTH
It is unbelievable how safe singapore is. Crime rates are very low (the worst I’ve seen is jaywalking!), and explicit racial bias is non-existent. What’s even more surprising is how this city from the future, with it’s astonishing skyscrapers and well-planned infrastructure, still manages to mesh with nature so well.
Well enough to be the greenest city in Asia! This is a living example of how advancement and nature can go hand in hand in the fight against climate change. With pollution levels so low, it’s very easy to get addicted to the serene atmosphere.
I’m typing this from the rooftop of NUS’s newest Engineering building, taking in the ocean breeze, and using the nearby rainforest for white noise. And I must say, what a view!
So to finally answer the question in the back of your mind – No, I don’t regret it. If you don’t believe me, you only have one way to find out 😉
Just don’t blame me if you start speaking Singlish ah!
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