Age at time of emigration: 23
Length of stay: Currently 6 months of a 3 year contract completed
Location (area of country): Central/West Singapore
Currently working in: Alexandra Hospital/ Jurong Medical Centre – Outpatients Musculoskeletal
1) How long ago did you go to Singapore?
6 months – October 2012
2) How did you find the process of preparing to work in Singapore?
The hospital was very supportive in the months before I arrived in Singapore. They provided me with contacts of letting agencies for accommodation, submitted all the applications to gain my employment pass to enter the country, gave me information booklets regarding culture, transport options, areas of interest, were flexible with my start date and answered any questions that I had regarding Singapore. Overall the process was easy and straightforward as I only had to fill out 2 or 3 shorts forms and the hospital did the rest.
3) Were you able to choose to work in an area that interested you?
Employed in a public hospital, so currently starting my rotations in Musculoskeletal Outpatients. Have the opportunity to rotate into areas such as: ICU, General Medicine, Geriatrics, Orthopaedics or Sports.
4)Did you find it easy to integrate into your work environment?
Very easy. Each new member of staff in Alexandra hospital is paired up with a buddy for the first few days, who introduces you to every Physiotherapist, arranges lunches and tries to make you feel as comfortable as you can be starting your new job. Following this is a month long orientation period, which allows you to visit and experience the environment within the different Physiotherapy departments.
5) What are the 3 best things about working in Singapore?
- Broadening of cultural awareness
- Development of foreign languages
- Gaining experience in a first class healthcare system
6) What are the 3 worst things about working in Singapore?
- Longer working hours
- Occasional language barriers
- Increased number of patients per day
7) How many holidays did you have per year, and do you think you had sufficient free-time to travel during the year?
21 days annual leave is provided, along with 11 public holidays, so 32 altogether. Definitely enough time to travel around as Singapore is only a short distance from countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Australia.
8) Could you work with sports teams while living there? If so, what sport, and at what level team?
Within the hospital there is an opportunity to work in the Sports department as one of your rotations. Patients come from a variety of sporting levels and backgrounds including amateur to elite rugby, hockey, basketball, athletics and soccer players.
9) On return to Ireland, do you feel Singapore helped or hindered your search for a job, in a way that gaining experience in another country would not? Was it significant from the point of view of your CV.
1) What part of the country did you live in?
2) How would you describe the weather in comparison to Ireland?
Tropical climate with an average of 30 degrees each day. High levels of humidity, no distinctive seasons, heavy monsoon rainfall between November to January.
3) Would you recommend going over with friends or by yourself? Why?
There is a huge Irish and expat community in Singapore so this support network accommodates people who move with friends or by themselves to find accommodation, make friends and integrate into Singaporean culture.
4) What did you make of Singapore’s culture when you first arrived?
Singapore is a melting pot of different cultures, you name it, Singapore’s got it! The majority of the population are Chinese, Malay or Indian, so on arrival it was a little daunting to be faced with so many different customs, accents and beliefs. After a few days the shock disappeared.
5) Did you have a good social life while there?
The social life in Singapore is excellent. Plenty of groups to join within or outside of the hospital: GAA, hockey, rugby, dragonboating. There is a good variety of pubs, clubs and bars to visit also, but unfortunately they can be quite expensive.
6) What are the most popular past-times in Singapore?
Anything to do with food and travel! Locals love to talk about and introduce foreigners to their favourite dishes or travel to one of the many islands surrounding Singapore for a weekend break. Other than that, Singapore is quite similar to Ireland regarding the sports played: Rugby, soccer, hockey and even GAA! Other interests include: Dragonboating, floorball, pickleball to name a few.
7) In comparison with Ireland, is it expensive to live in Singapore? What did you find was the most expensive aspect of living there?
Certain things are more expensive than Ireland and some are cheaper, so I guess it eventually works out the same. Travel and food are a lot less expensive in comparison to Ireland, but rent and socialising are definitely more expensive.
8) What are the worst things about living in Singapore?
- Not for people who don’t like hot weather or humidity
- High socialising costs
9) What are the 3 best things about living in Singapore?
- Excellent location for travelling and exploring
- Broadening of cultural experiences
- Safe, secure environment for expats
10) Why did you return to Ireland?
And finally, the big one…
How would you rate your experience overall (both professionally and personally) in Singapore?