5 September 2016

Jennifer Gargiulo - Expat in Singapore

Jennifer Gargiulo - Expat in Singapore

We’ve had the chance to talk to Jennifer Gargiulo, an Italian/American expat who has moved to Singapore with her family. Mrs. Gargiulo who has been living there for nine years now works as a writer.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Italy


Q: What made you move out of Italy?

A: My husband’s job.


Q: Where are you living now?

A: Singapore


Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: See above.


Q: How long have you been living in Singapore?

A: Nine years


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

A: Probably when my daughter was hospitalized for salmonella. She was only five, and it was quite serious. Also when my own mother was sick, luckily they both got better. It’s hard having family far

away during these times. Having a broken foot was another time.


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

A: I was teaching English at Singapore Management University, and they did everything for me. I got a letter of consent so I could work on my dependent’s pass. I have health insurance through my husband’s job luckily because it would cost a fortune to live here without insurance.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes: How are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: Yes, and they love it because they arrived here when they were very young: my son, Alexander at four and my daughter Eliot at five months old.


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: Very easy but for two reasons I believe: small children at a preschool where I met other moms and our choice to live in a condo with other expats. I formed a movie club in the condo so that helped as well.


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

A: It’s easy to travel in very exciting and beautiful locations. It’s also nice to just spend time in Singapore on the weekends as the weather is usually very nice.


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

  • How much is a cup of coffee?

A: At a nice café’ it’s about sgd 6. More expensive than my home town Italy, for sure. On the plus side, it costs the same whether you sit down or stand.  Not worth it if you’re getting it to go.

  • How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: Food courts have tasty, inexpensive food.

  • How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: It depends on, but wine can really tip the balance.

  • How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: I don’t smoke so I have no idea about cigarettes, but wine is around $30-50.


Q: How do you find the local culture and people in Singapore?

A: People are very friendly and helpful.


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

A: For most people, the weather is both the positive and negative. My hair would say the humidity.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Yes, of course.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Skype and organizing trip home.


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

A: I think back home after Singapore. We were in Sydney and Dublin before this so time to move back when this adventure is over. Although, one never knows.


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

A: Being far away from family.


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

A: Live in a condo, travel if you can, try the local cuisine like laksa, and don’t forget to bring a sweater to the movies (air conditioning).


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Singapore?

A: They are all quite interesting as they provide different perspectives.