There’s tons to do in Singapore: enjoy a lush afternoon high tea sesh, or make a day out of museum-hopping around Singapore’s under-the-radar museums.
But first, gather the girlfriends or bundle the bros.
Here’s where to meet fellow expats in Singapore. You can never have too many friends!
International social clubs, such as the British Club, Hollandse Club, The Swiss Club, Tanglin Club and The American Club provide newcomers a one-stop-shop for events, networking opportunities, sports teams, eateries and other facilities and amenities (e.g., pools, gyms, after-school tutoring). Membership fees tend to be steep, but these clubs may be the closest you can get to “home” without hopping on a plane. And many are surprisingly diverse: Hollandse Club boasts members of 40 different nationalities.
Country-specific associations, including the American Women’s Association of Singapore, Association Francaise de Singapour, Australian & New Zealand Association, Indian Women’s Association Singapore, The Japanese Association, Singapore and Kowloon Club, host regular newcomer meet-and-greets and run social and special-interest activities, from golf rounds to language-specific book swaps to karaoke sessions.
NEXT: Networking sites →
“I found many groups with my professional and personal interests,” says Italian expat and writer Anh Thu Nguyen. “They were very useful in making new friendships.”
Make virtual friends – ask to join closed Facebook groups, from the various Expat Wives and New Mums to more specific ones like Lebanese in Singapore. Then, “listen” a bit before jumping into the conversations.
Giving.sg is a comprehensive portal to find volunteer activities at more than 360 non-profits in Singapore, or to fundraise for or donate to your favourite causes, from animal care to migrant workers’ rights to helping underprivileged children and more.
Culture vulture? Friends of the Museums’ docent training programme turns art lovers into various language-speaking tour guides at nine of Singapore’s museums and heritage institutions. The extensive training includes lectures, field trips and recommended reading, preparation of gallery talks and more.
Riding for the Disabled Association Singapore is a unique opportunity to work with horses in Singapore while providing free equine-assisted therapy for children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. Many of the horses are retired from the racing and polo arenas.
My Active SG lists public sports centres and their operating hours. Use it to find interest groups and book facilities.
Singapore Sports Hub has Learn-To-Play lessons, with certified coaches and equipment, plus Free-to-Play games.
Or get back to nature with the Nature Society‘s guided nature walks, bird and butterfly watching excursions, workshops and courses, overseas eco-trips and various environmental and conservation projects.
Cooking classes in Singapore’s foodie paradise appeal to every palate. Bhanchha Cooking School at Bollywood Veggies offers a farm-to-table approach; Cookery Magic brings Chinese, Malay, and Indian classics to your home kitchen; Little Green Kitchen proves that vegetarian cooking is anything but boring.
Or, try Singapore’s Community Centres that are in every neighbourhood and offer a range of sports, arts and lifestyle classes. And you can’t beat the cost: Membership is $12 for five years!
Teams, like the Singapore American Football League, Singapore Cycling Federation and Singapore Cricket Association, always welcome newbies. Go to Singapore Rugby Association for more about men’s, women’s and youth teams.
Or take your water activities to the great outdoors with dragon boat teams and paddling clubs, such as the Gaelic Dragons Singapore and Singapore Dragon Boat Association. Sailing clubs include the Singapore Sailing Federation and no-membership-required SAF Yacht Club and Changi Sailing Club.
Like it or not, expats in the Lion City tend to congregate at certain types of places – and most of them involve good food and shopping.
Must-visit: Cluny Court, a charming historic building that’s full of chic stores and eateries, too.
Or live where expats live – make your life way easier, and move into a serviced apartment. Try Far East Hospitality.
By Pooja Makhijani, The Finder / Updated October 2019