We continue our online interview series on Singaporeans residing abroad. As many as 190,000 Singaporeans now work and study overseas and in this particular interview, we feature someone who has just emigrated to Wellington, New Zealand.
Transitioning (T): Thanks Philip for agreeing to answer our questionaite for an online interview for Singaporeans residing abroad. First of all, tell us abit about yourself e.g. personal particulars, educational qualification and work experience.
Philip (P): I have a Bachelor of Engineering degree from NTU and also a Diploma in IT.
I’m also MCSA 2003 and ACTA certified.
I have 14 years of combined experience in Project Management and Customer Quality Engineering support with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and MSI Computer (Shenzhen, China). As I have a real passion for training and development, I completed the Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment (ACTA) course in Jul 2009 to realise my passion in this area. My last job was Associate Trainer with Eagle Infotech Consultant, conducting training in Microsoft Office programs such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint and Science Enrichment programs at Primary schools.
T: Where are you living now and why do you choose that location?
P: Currently I’m living in Wellington NZ. I chose here because I have an established network of friends and relatives in Wellington. My brother-in-law has been in Wellington for the past 6 years.
T: Did you face any adjustment problem initially when you make the move? Any regrets so far?
P: Not really, as I have visited New Zealand on 4 occasions in the last 5 years. I like the healthier work-life balance lifestyle that New Zealand can offer and also to enjoy the many great outdoor activities that New Zealand has. We are also looking to family re-unification with my wife’s brother and his family here in Wellington.
No regrets so far.
T: How is the family coping currently? Are they happy or do they want to move back to Singapore?
P: My wife is here with me. She love the lifestyle here compare to Singapore and the weather here is great. She is happy here. No plans to move back in the near future.
T: What precious lessons did you learn from living abroad? Will you do it again if given the choice?
P: You have to learn to adapt. The lifestyle here is very different from Singapore. There are no big shopping malls here. Eating out is expensive you have to learn to cook to save money. You must like nature and great outdoors to enjoy life here.
You must also learn to cope with the cold weather in Winter where the temperature can drop below 0 deg.
You will learn to slow down your pace here as the work is not as stressful as in Singapore. Here everybody goes back at 5pm.
If given a chance I’ll do it again as it’s a great place for me to retire.
T: Was it difficult to get jobs while staying abroad? Describe your job search experience and how different it is from Singapore.
P: It was tough to get jobs in the first few months I was here. The employer here are looking for your skills and how you are able to blend in to the Kiwi work culture.
Are you able to speak well and understand their accent? I have to do some volunteer work to get a feel of the Kiwi work culture here so as to gain the experience to put into my Resume.
T: Do you want to return to Singapore eventually or prefer to settle down in your new place permanently?
P: I will settle down here permanently if I can find a good job and get my PR here.
T: What are your main reasons for wanting to move overseas?
P: The main reasons are to escape the stressful lifestyle in Singapore and also to escape the hot weather.
In Singapore my wife practically works 12 hrs each day. She goes to office at 9am and get gets home after 9pm. Life is too short to be working so hard each day. Here they only work 40hrs each week. Everybody goes back at 5pm.
I move here to have a healthier work life balance and enjoy the cold weather and the great outdoors.
T: What is your advice for those Singaporean migrants who have newly move abroad?
P: You have to be mentally prepared to downgrade yourself. You may not get the kind of pay you have in Singapore.
The only reason to move abroad is to have a healthier work life balance. Money is not the factor. You have to adjust your expectations and you’ll be fine.
T: Any last words from you?
P: Patience and perseverance. You have to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to come by and persevere.
Don’t be discouraged if you cannot find job initially. Keep on trying and you will be rewarded.
You must have to courage to want to change.
End of interview and thank you.