In the interview, I share some of the positives and negatives about living in Belfast, talk about the cost of living and share tips with those looking to relocate here.
Here are some excerpts:
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I’d thought that securing a visa would be the hardest step, but it was even more challenging to figure out the processes required for basic things like opening a bank account, getting a phone line and so on. Things were smoother once those were sorted, probably because I had a “trial run” in Japan. (see my post on settling into the UK here).
How does the cost of living in Northern Ireland compare to home?
While Singapore consistently ranks among the most expensive places to live in, the true cost of living in Belfast is higher in most aspects. Wages are not high to begin with, and decrease further after tax and national insurance deductions. Compared to Singapore, eating out, stationery, household products, clothes and public transport are much more costly in Belfast too.
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Northern Ireland, what would it be?
It would be to speak to people from a similar background as yourself who are already living here. Expat friends who also hail from big cities (e.g. Hong Kong, London) find Belfast too small and would cite similar negatives as I have, while those from towns or smaller cities love the size of Belfast and are wouldn’t relate to any of the above negatives. Except perhaps the weather!
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
1. Google Map’s Street View is your best friend
When looking for accommodation, be sure to go onto Google Map’s Street View to scout the area surrounding the property. While religious and political conflict in Belfast is not as bad as it’s made out in the news, you’d still want to avoid streets on which flags of any kind are displayed or have painted pavement stones or lamp posts.
Read more of my interview here!