As an Australian expat living and working in Singapore, there are certainly things I miss about my homeland, and I’m reminded of these when visiting family or visiting the country. We are truly blessed to call home a country with arguably the best beaches in the world, friendly and easy going nature of most people, the wide open space and of course some excellent cuisine (although Singapore may take first prize there). This week I’m sharing the top 10 things I miss about Australia, not as a negative rant, but to express gratitude and allow other Australians who are considering moving abroad to make an informed decision.
- Family and friends
As will come as no surprise, the number one thing that I personally miss is our family and friends back home. While we do have the opportunity to duck home to Perth and see them for longer periods of time than we would if we were living there, it’s not quite the same as popping over for a Sunday BBQ or being able to attend all of the functions and celebrations of friends and family. This also highlights why it’s so very important that as a new Australian expat you start building a strong network of friends and I’ve certainly been lucky enough to meet some outstanding people that I consider life-long friends.
- Great coffee
As most Australians will know, we are proudly ‘coffee snobs’ and do serve some of the best coffee in the world. Thankfully, this has significantly improved throughout my time in Singapore, but you still need to tread with caution and at times be prepared to be a little shocked by the price you might have to pay for a flat white. Throughout my time in Singapore, I’ve seen a number of Australian entrepreneurs open new coffees and bring great coffee here, which I for one am certainly grateful for.
- Our beaches
Australia, in my humble opinion, has the most pristine beaches in the world, and this is particularly true in Western Australia. Whether you’re heading out for a surf, going for a run along the beach or simply want to watch the sunset, Australia is a top location for it. While Singapore is surrounded by water, and home to Sentosa Island, it is just not quite the same as heading down south to Margaret River. Each time I’m back in Australia for Christmas, I will always try and take a short trip down south just to remind myself or how lucky we are.
- Seasons…at times
One of the joys of living so close to the equator is the consistency of the weather here in Singapore. The temperature doesn’t change a great deal throughout the day from morning to night, and one of the key variables is simply whether or not it will rain. As someone who likes to get up early before work to hit the gym, I certainly don’t miss the winter mornings in Perth battling the 5 degree temperature, but the variety in weather throughout the year is certainly something to be missed about Australia.
- Fresh produce
Australia truly is home to some of the greatest fresh produce in the world, and for (mostly) reasonable prices. While it’s become far more possible to purchase a reasonably priced avocado in Singapore over the years, this certainly was a shock when I first arrived to discover some of the price differences when compared to Coles or Woolies. The quality of Australia’s produce is also evident in the cafes and I always aim to sneak in at least one breakfast when in Perth for that perfectly ripe smashed avocado on sourdough toast.
- Affordable and top-quality wine
Australia’s wine regions are some of the best in the world, particularly just 3 hours south of Perth in Margaret River. Given the tax rates that apply to alcohol in Singapore, this can create some significant price discrepancies in purchasing a glass or bottle of wine. During my time in Singapore, I have certainly seen this improve, particularly with more online wine distributors such as Pop Up Wine opening and providing greater choice and price competition to the market.
- Aussie Rules Football
While the Australian TV channel here in Singapore has made most games accessible for expats here, it’s certainly not quite the same as being able to pop down to Optus Stadium to cheer on the mighty West Coast Eagles. The atmosphere and comradery of the games is certainly something that I miss living abroad, and certainly try to squeeze in an AFL game if and where possible when I’m in Australia.
- Rotary and community service
I’ve had the privilege of being involved in Rotary International for over 10 years now and working with a number of clubs in Perth had the opportunity to get deeply involved in the local community projects. Also very close to my heart is Conquer Cystic Fibrosis and while I make every opportunity I can to support their amazing work, there are certainly opportunities that I miss living abroad. There are certainly many great opportunities that we take advantage of to get involved in the local community in Singapore, however it’s not quite the same as in Australia.
- The long business lunch
The long lunches that are still quite prevalent in Australia are far more limited here in Singapore, given the different demands from work and often busy schedules of most expats here. This is certainly a great element of the work life in Australia and something that I hope remains a long-held tradition.
- The Aussie sense of humour
Our attitude and approach of self-deprecation, sarcasm and never taking anything more seriously than needed is certainly something that I miss at times here in Singapore. After all, there’s a reason that Australians are (mostly) well liked across the globe and it’s these qualities that maintain the refreshing and relaxed culture across Australian workplaces and communities.
While I have no plans of returning to Australia any time soon, we are truly are blessed to hold an Australian passport and call ourselves Australians.
To your financial success!
Jarrad Brown is an Australian-trained and qualified Fee-Based Financial Planner with Australian Expatriate Group of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd providing specialist financial advice and portfolio management services to Australian professionals in Singapore. Jarrad Brown is an Authorised Representative of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd – No: 200305462G | MAS License No: FA100035-3
Australian Expatriate Group is a division of Global Financial Consultants in Singapore providing specialist advice to Australians living abroad.
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