Home » Living in Singapore » Living here » Useful tips for life in Singapore: From clubs and charities to jobs and businesses
Living here

Useful tips for life in Singapore: From clubs and charities to jobs and businesses

Building a Social Network


Social and Sporting Clubs

Most social clubs offer pools, gyms, restaurants, youth camps and classes. Clubs are a fantastic way of meeting other expats and will provide an instant network. Likewise, sporting clubs, such as the Singapore Polo Club, are an excellent way to meet friends with similar interests. Clubs can be expensive, so try to meet current members and ask about the facilities. Also do some comparisons of locations, membership rules and prices.



Except for a clubhouse and facilities, associations offer many of the same social benefits found at clubs, without the expensive membership fees. They are a great way to get involved in the community. A low annual fee is usually charged and may include a monthly magazine that will keep you up to date with social activities.

Associations are generally linked to nationalities, although citizens of any country can join. Groups like the American Women’s Association (AWA), The British Association (BA), or the Australian and New Zealand Association (ANZA) organise sports leagues and regular meetings, outings, charity events, book clubs and social gatherings.

Other women’s organisations include the Scandinavian Women’s Association, the Italian Women’s Group, the Indian Women’s Association and the Spanish-Speaking Women’s Association.

Women can also meet and network at several other professional associations, including PrimeTime Business and the Professional Women’s Association. The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) is a national coordinating body of women’s organisations and groups in Singapore that acts on their behalf.

Another way of meeting people with whom you will instantly have something in common is through your university alumni association – log on to your university’s website to find out more.


A Reader’s Tip

“If I could do one thing over, I would jump right in and make friends. Even if you believe that you will be here only a short while (we all did at some point!), join an association and introduce yourself to strangers. Everyone has been in your situation and is very happy to welcome new faces and friends.”

Starting a Business

Many expats come to Singapore with a host of fresh business ideas; others discover an entrepreneurial streak once they’ve settled in. If you do have a great business idea, though, how do you turn it into a real-life proposition?

First you’ll need to apply for an EntrePass through the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). This involves writing a detailed business plan and financial projections and furnishing a security deposit of $3,000. Successful applicants will be issued an Approval-In-Principle letter within 2 to 6 weeks.

The business must also be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) as a private limited company with at least $50,000 in paid-up capital. This can be done simply online using a Singpass (apply at www.singpass.gov.sg).

Fees for registering a company are $15 for the name application and $300 to incorporate the company. The registration is usually approved within 15 minutes for online applications.


Useful websites

The Ministry of Manpower:www.mom.gov.sg
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority:www.acra.gov.sg
Singapore Personal Access (Singpass):www.singpass.gov.sg
Entrepreneur’s Resource Centre:www.erc.com.sg
International Enterprise (IE) Singapore:www.iesingapore.com
Economic Development Board:www.edb.gov.sg

Looking for Work

If you’re accompanying your spouse or partner on a posting, one of the biggest decisions you will make is whether or not to work here.


You might decide to further your present career or perhaps to explore something new. English teachers, for example, are in perennial demand, and a short course in teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) can start you on that path. Conversely, a plethora of marketing personnel here might mean that your skills are in less demand than they were at home.

Search firms, online sources, classifieds and expat associations can all be helpful when it comes to finding work. The American Association’s Career Resource Center for Expatriates (CRCE) is particularly useful, offering advice on resumes, workshops, and career counselling.


Useful websites

Korn Ferry:www.kornferry.com
Michael Page International:www.michaelpage.com.sg
Robert Walters:www.robertwalters.com.sg
Sterling HR Consulting:www.sterlinghrconsulting.com


If you don’t want to work fulltime, or you don’t need to, a good way to keep your brain in gear, meet new friends, and do something helpful for people is through volunteering. It’s a good addition to your CV, too. There are plenty of local charities, old-age homes and so on that can give you a few hours a week. Here’s a whole list of links to get you started.


Useful websites

Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD)www.asdsingapore.com
Association for Persons with Special Needswww.apsn.org.sg
Caring for Cambodiawww.caringforcambodia.org
Children’s Cancer Foundationwww.ccf.org.sg
Children’s Surgical Centre (Cambodia)www.csc.org
Club Rainbowwww.clubrainbow.org
Dover Park Hospicewww.doverpark.org.sg
First Handwww.firsthandvolunteers.com
Friends of the Museumwww.fom.sg
Habitat for Humanitywww.habitat.org.sg
Make a Wish Foundationwww.makeawish.org.sg
Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA)www.rdasingapore.org
Red Cross Societywww.redcross.org.sg
Singapore Dance Theatrewww.singaporedancetheatre.com
Tabitha Foundationwww.tabithasingapore.com
The Humaneity Foundationhttps://www.humaneity.com/