With current entry restrictions and border controls due to the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, your plans to relocate to Singapore may have been delayed or postponed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for your upcoming relocation to Singapore. While relocating to Singapore is an exciting prospect, the transition can be stressful for both you and your children.
Do remember, however, that Singapore is a community with a large expatriate population, so you will not be alone in your experience. Allow those of us at One World International School to provide you with useful tips that will help both you and your children as you prepare for your relocation to Singapore.
Be Prepared for Expat Stress
The idea of moving to a new country is exciting — especially when that new country is one that boasts a subtropical climate that allows you to relax in a swimming pool throughout the entire year. In this uncertain time of the Covid19 pandemic however, outdoor group activities are on hold and many sports facilities are closed for the next month and may open depending on the evolving situation over the following months. This can be challenging for adults and children alike but this is a new reality around the globe and needs to be taken in stride during this unusual time.
Additionally, once the initial excitement of moving to Singapore wears off, you and your children will likely start to feel homesick. Expat stress is real, and it's particularly challenging for children. Sometimes, they do not understand why they are feeling sad or frustrated.
As a parent, be aware of the signs of anxiety and stress in your children. Remember that the transition and the adjustment will take time, and remind your children that they will not always feel this way. You can help curb these negative feelings by engaging in family activities together, exploring your new community in whatever ways that are possible and staying in touch with your family and friends from back home.
Adopt New Customs and Learn Local Culture
Singapore is a clean, modern and technologically-advanced city. It is a melting pot of cultures, but there are still many time-honoured traditions and customs that are prevalent in its society. As a parent who is relocating to Singapore with children, you should take the time to learn more about the local customs in Singapore. Share these customs with your children prior to the move, and teach them the best ways to adapt to their new home.
The best way to greet someone in Singapore is to shake hands firmly and offer a small bow. Children are expected to show respect to their elders, so it is important that you instil this in your child prior to their arrival. Once your children are enrolled in school in Singapore, they will quickly adapt to the customs of the community.
Join Virtual Clubs or Activity Groups Once You Arrive
You may feel like a tourist when you first arrive and it’s fun to check out the best visitor attractions in the city. However, the best way to acclimatise and get to know your neighbours is to live like a local. With the limited opportunities for meeting new people or groups of people at the moment, consider joining virtual clubs or activity groups, because this will help you meet people in Singapore online and form new friendships.
One of the best ways to learn about these organisations is through your child's new school. School officials will often have recommendations for groups that expatriate families can join in order to get involved. Here is a list of online events and activities that you can enjoy from the comfort of your couch.
Try Out the Public Transportation System
Learning the public transportation system in any large city can be challenging, but fortunately, the Singapore public transit system is quick, efficient and easy-to-use. Public transportation will allow you to immerse yourself in the community and become familiar with the local neighbourhoods.
Many new arrivals in Singapore are impressed with how clean and comfortable the public transportation system is. As an added bonus, children over the age of ten can safely use this system on their own, so it's a great way to help them get to and from their own activities.
When you first relocate to Singapore, use the public transport system during non-peak times. With face-masks now made compulsory in Singapore and retail businesses still not back to normal, people are encouraged to keep movement minimal in Phase 1 of the lifting of the circuit breaker (until end of June). It is advisable to travel and use public transport only when you need to during this time.
Take Time to Explore and Visit Schools and Neighbourhoods
You will find many housing and neighbourhood options when you relocate to Singapore. It’s easy to find a place to live that fits your own unique needs and preferences. As you explore Singapore, be sure to bring your children along with you. Let them visit nearby schools, and involve them in your decision about their education in their new home.
If visiting schools and housing options physically are not possible during this time, consider virtual tours of schools and homes. Also, it is a good idea to inquire with schools to find out how they are dealing with the Covid-19 situation to be assured that your children will be safe at school.
Relocation is never easy, but it doesn't have to be an upsetting or stressful experience. If you are relocating to Singapore with children, you should use the resources that are available to you to prepare for your upcoming adventure.
Learn more about the enrollment procedures in Singapore schools by checking out the OWIS Relocation page.