1 August 2016

Anja van der Vorst - Expat in Singapore

Anja van der Vorst - Expat in Singapore

Anja van der Vorst is a 58-year-old woman who lives in Singapore. Originally from the Netherlands, she moved to Singapore with her husband when he relocated due to job reasons. Presently, she has been living in Singapore for five and a half years.

Mrs. van der Vorst had no problems with the formalities of relocating to Singapore, noting that most of the preparations and work permits needed were all done by her husband. However, she noted that her most difficult experience as an expat in Singapore had to do with dealing with a nasty, greedy landlord. Although she praised the weather and low crime rate, she also addressed that life in Singapore is expensive for expats. “Especially housing is crazy, as is alcohol,” she said.

Like Mrs. van der Vorst’s experience with her landlord, it can be challenging for expatriates to deal with foreign laws and difficult landlords. Expats who are going through difficult experiences while living overseas may be able to find assistance and support from their nearest embassy. Additionally, expats who have to deal with the high costs of rent while living overseas may want to consider obtaining home insurance services which can help keep their home more secure and protected.

Find out more about Anja van der Vorst experiences in Singapore in her full interview below.


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: The Netherlands

Q: What made you move out of your home country?

A: Following my husband

Q: Where are you living now?

A: Singapore and the Netherlands (half/half)

Q: How long have you been living in Singapore?

A: Five and a half years

Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in your host country?

A: Dealing with a nasty, greedy landlord

Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance was particularly difficult in Singapore? What was your experience with these?

A: Done by my husband. No problems.

Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: As a couple.

Q: How are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: My husband has a local contract, so we lead quite a normal life.

Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Singapore? How did you manage to find a social circle in Singapore?

A: Not difficult. I have 4 best friends; two locals, two expats. We do not really mingle in expat circles. I find my friends in all kinds of ways. One in an elevator, one in tango, one on Facebook and one on Flickr.

Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: Ooh, there’s so much! Art, street art, gardens by the bay and much, much more. Haw Par Villa is Singapore’s quirkiest place and best-kept secret.

Q: How does the cost of living in Singapore compare to your home?

A:  A cup of coffee costs between 4 and 6 SGD, but it depends on which type of coffee and in what kind of place. For meals in an inexpensive restaurant, in a food court that could be as low as 6 SGD. That’s as low as it gets in Singapore. Meals in an expensive restaurant can cost 100 SGD, and that’s without drinks. A bottle of wine is extremely expensive, like all alcohol here. If you would like it to be ‘drinkable’, I would say at least 25 SGD. For cigarettes, I don’t smoke.

Q: How do you find the local culture and people in your host country?

A: There is not one culture or one kind of locals. It is a multi-cultural society. Complex and divers. Very interesting. That’s what I blog about.

Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Singapore?

A: I love the sun and warmth. I love that it’s super safe. Every expat will tell you that life here is ‘easy.’ I don’t like that it’s so expensive for expats. Especially housing is crazy. As is alcohol.

Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Not really.

Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I don’t have that. And there are many fantastic media nowadays: FaceTime, Skype, email, Facebook, phoning and snail mail.

Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: We go with the flow. My husband’s job will be in the lead, I guess.

Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: My husband works his butt off. He really makes crazy hours. And our life is quite unpredictable, which is hard from time to time.

Q: What tips can you give other expats living in Singapore?

A: Before moving in a house or apartment, while living there and when moving out, make pictures, document, make more pictures and document some more. Because landlords will try to steal your deposit for sure.

Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about your host country?

A: Apart from my own, you mean? Hahaha… Cheekiemonkies is a great blog, especially for families with children.