Moving to another country; a good idea?

Maybe it’s a little too early to be thinking about this, I’m only sixteen, but I lately, an insuppressable urge to move to somewhere else is beginning to eat my mind. I’ll not be able to do anything until I’m about twenty( that’s when my compulsory military training ends; I’m Singaporean), and after that, I’m planning to go to college, somewhere overseas, such as the USA, or Australia.

So what I’m asking here is, would it be viable for me to live it out alone in another country after I complete my studies? Can anybody help me with the costs that may be incurred, and all the other matters that I need to sort out, such as the cost of living, or job opportunities? I would very much like to move to San Francisco, if I can. Would this be a good idea?

Don’t bother me, it is not too early to be thinking about going overseas. And your twenties are the best years to actually do it.

Right now, you have enough time to plan, research, save money… if you take the next couple of years to do this, you’ll be prepared to choose your direction and destination to study overseas.

Working overseas is a whole other thing. You’ll probably have to return after your studies. I have the impresson that it’s difficult for students to simply stay on in a country and start working; to apply for a work permit, you have to be outside the country in question.

You may be able to claim residency and the right to work in certain countries if you have the right ancestry; I can claim this in the UK (“Right of Abode”) because my grandparents were English.

At university overseas, you may even meet a future spouse from another country. Marriage can make it easier to gain residency overseas. My best friend from university (who was from the Canadian province of Quebec) met a girl from Hong Kong when we were at university here in the province of Ontario; they married, and now live in California…

I wish I’d been able to go overseas in my early twenties; my family was too poor to send me overseas or anything like that, and I had no job skills or money until I went to university. Then it was into the working world to pay off debt…

If you get the chance, go!

I don’t know what the cost of living is in Singapore, but San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the United States.

SF’s also full of hippies. That’s a big turnoff, for some. :smiley:

Well, Little Nemo, can you tell me about the cost of living there in greater detail? Is it really,really expensive, or just that many of the things there are priced higher than in other places? The cost of living here in Singapore can be considered high, a normal car can cost up to about S$200,000, taking into account the small land area, the government does not want too many cars clogging up the street.

How about the housing there, is it very expensive? A five room apartment can set you off about S$500,000 here.

Can anyone help me with all the administrative matters that I have to go through if I want to continue to stay in the US,and most likely work there, after my studies? I’m really clueless about all this, I need a lot of help.

I would’nt really consider hippies a big turn off, I’m quite liberal in my mindset, besides, I’d get to experience a lot more culture that exists in this world.

Another country, how ‘bout just another city? Sing must get mighty small when you were born and raised there. I’m not dissin’ your country but it’s a big world out there and you got a lot of places to go. You can always go back to Singapore.

Moving to another country was the most life changing thing I’ve ever done since I’m a white bread no crust from little shit American farm towns kinda guy.

Go for it.


bother, does Singapore offer a study abroad for high school students? I know that many countries do (though Rotary and many other types of organizations). You would live with a family and attend an American HS for a year. It would be a good opportunity to live overseas while not having to pay expenses. (The program pays for them.) You could travel a bit and then see what you like and if there is a place you can stay.

As for documents you would need to work here–paging Eva Luna. Eva Luna, please come to the front office. (She is an immigration paralegal, so can fill you in on the basics.)

But in the meantime, ask around about younger exchanges.

That’s through Rotary, not though. Sorry if that was confusing!

You called?

I’m a huge proponent of living in another country at some point in your life; I think a lot more people should do it. If you want to get a taste of it, I like the high school-level exchange idea that jeevwoman mentions. I have no idea what organizations there are in Singapore, but definitely check out Rotary and AFS. You might ask around and see if any friends of friends have done it, and can share their experiences. These kinds of programs generally handle all the bureaucratic logistics for you, including visas (which, for the U.S., would probably be a J-1 visa for an academic exchange).

I didn’t do an exchange program until college; my university had an organized program set up already, so it was very simple and all my academic credits transferred with no problems (and my scholarship money, which was also nice!). Of course, it was in Madrid and I was a Spanish major, so it made a lot of sense. Later on, I studied in Russia twice through Council on International Educational Exchange (; I’m not sure whether they do high school programs, but they have tons of study abroad and work abroad programs all over the world. These programs frequently also deal with visa logistics for you (although my university didn’t, but that’s another story).

Working abroad is a whole different story, but you’ve got a while before you have to worry about that. For the U.S., much depends on the field you are in, and by the time you’re in a position to figure it out, all the rules probably will have changed. Most U.S. work visas require a professional job offer from a U.S. employer, as well as a bachelor’s degree in a specific field – more on that later upon request. And if you want to enroll directly in a U.S. university, it’s not too soon to start thinking about it – you should be preparing to take the SAT and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exams right about now, not to mention researching schools. The International Admissions office of each school will also give you information about visas. But if you have any more specific questions later, post away! And jeevwoman can tell you more about the whole living abroad angle; she’s worked abroad, which I have not done.

Eva Luna, U.S. Immigration Paralegal
Madrid 1988, Leningrad 1989, Novosibirsk 1995

Your Rotary Contacts can be found here. Contact whatever is closest and ask about Rotary Youth Exchange (for high school) or Ambassadorial Scholars (for university-aged students). I worked for Rotary for several years and though they treat their workforce like garbage, they run a great program. You would need to go through your local club but you would be sponsored by your district (which in this case is the entire country).

I looked up AFS and it doesn’t look like they serve Singapore, but I bet you can google something.

Also, try asking at the US embassy (or whatever country you want to study in) for programs.

You could go through an au pair agency, if that something that appeals to you, too.