Ask a Local: Expat Spouse in Singapore

Updated: Oct 20, 2017

Rebecca was always very adventerous, so it was no surprise that when her husband got the opportunity to move to Sinapore for work, that she jumped at the chance. Although misses family back in the UK, here are her top tips for living in Singapore:



Tell us a little about yourself and why you started your latest Adventure.


After getting married, my husband and I decided we wanted an adventure before having children. Working overseas seemed like the best way to explore a different part of the world and not be broke travellers. When an opportunity with my husband’s company came up in Singapore, it felt like – and was – the right path for us. 


What has been the Best thing about your experience so far?

Originally we planned to be in Singapore for a couple of years then return to the UK to have children. Four-and-a-half years and two children later…we’re still here! The country is geared-up for families. Not just because it’s a safe and pretty harmonious society. The healthcare and schools are some of the best in the world. And incredible child-friendly locations like the Botanic Gardens, West Coast Park and Gardens By The Bay are designed for children and families to explore. Singapore gives us the kind of outdoor lifestyle that our children wouldn’t get if we were still living in London. 


What has been the Biggest culture shock?

It’s been a while now, so Singapore feels like home. But having to be more careful about where our food comes from is a constant battle. Food from China is sometimes produced with shockingly low food-safety standards. So I’m much more careful to buy from reliable sources. That doesn’t mean shopping in expensive supermarkets though: we use our local “wet market” – Empress Market – which has a great range of organic produce at a fraction of the cost of supermarkets.

Shopping is very complicated in Singapore if you are concerned about where your food comes from and worried about what’s in it. I go to Jason’s market place for food and Red Mart for bulky household goods. 



What has been the Funniest thing you have found?

The funniest thing is probably that we all use Singlish a lot. I mean, why say ‘Yes, of course I can do that for you’ when ‘Can can’ will do just as well? 


What are your Top 3 Tips for anyone following your footsteps?

  • Don’t be too focused on where to move, country-wise. If you want to work abroad, see what’s available in the region and take it from there. It’s the adventure that makes it worthwhile.

  • Get involved in the culture. Lots of expats manage to remove themselves from the local culture and stick to the expensive, expat areas. I find that sad – you’ll miss out on so many experiences.

  • Be kind. There are language and culture barriers. Go into every situation with a willingness to adapt and compromise and you’ll find that most people will reciprocate. 

Helpful Links

Food Groceries: check out redmart.com (similar to ocado) Online shopping: lazada.com (Asia’s version of Amazon) Baby stuff: pupsikstudio.com A good butchers for free range meat is swissbutchery.com.sg

My favourite mall: vivo city mall  It’s got everything from high street brands, food like Jamie’s Italian and Food Republic and supermarkets, Giant (ASDA equivalent) and Cold Storage (Sainsbury’s equivalent)




Rebecca Radley


Have you ever lived in Singapore or been an expat spouse? Share your tips or questions in the comments below.


#expatlife #singapore #movingabroad


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