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... stories, adventures and all things related to life in Singapore and Southeast Asia by AWA members

AWA Member Spotlight: Caroline Beaumont

Caroline Beaumont moved to Singapore with her husband and two teenage sons in 2019 from Shanghai where they had spent 5 years. She is originally from the U.K.

  • Did you know much about Singapore before moving here?

I didn’t know very much at all about Singapore before moving here, other than it was hot and steamy and quite small!

  • What have you enjoyed more about Singapore than you thought you would?

Before moving to Singapore we spent six years in Shanghai, where I was involved at the kids’ school and had a wide network of expat friends. People told me that the expat community was harder to access in Singapore and it was more difficult to make connections. I haven’t found that to be the case. There are lots of opportunities in Singapore which allow you to pursue hobbies and interests as well as make friends with local Singaporeans, something that didn’t really happen in China.

  • What has been a pleasant surprise?

The main pleasant surprise has been how easy it is to live here. Having English as one of the main languages has made it super easy to navigate everything. Also just how easy it is to access the rest of Asia whether just for a weekend break or longer vacation. Changi truly is a dream of an airport! I have also been surprised at how rich the history of Singapore is. For such a small island it really does have a great wealth of places of historical interest as well as a range of museums and galleries.

  • What have you struggled with that you didn’t expect to be challenging?

We were here during covid and not being able to see family for so long was very difficult but it definitely made me appreciate the privilege of being able to travel freely again.

  • What habits make you feel most settled in Singapore?

Pursuing my three main hobbies of running, reading and singing have all helped to make me feel settled in Singapore. Joining the AWA running group, and forming great friendships which have extended beyond running, was especially cherished during covid. We still carried on running and encouraging each other with challenges, sharing running soundtracks, and running virtual races. The AWA was a great place to find a book club with a diverse group of women who enjoy reading a wide range of interesting and thought provoking literature.

Singing in a wide range of choirs, including the AWA one, has also helped me to feel more settled. I am now singing with the Numama choir, a wonderful group of ladies who sing, dance and perform together in two concerts a year and also enjoy attending live performances, theatre productions and the odd KTV lounge or bar together!

Mother, father dressed as Santa, 2 boys wearing Santa hats
The Beaumont Family at a Christmas-themed Parkrun
  • Have you or do you volunteer with a group and how has that enhanced your living here?

In September 2022 I began training to be a docent guide at the National Museum of Singapore. History was my first love - my undergraduate degree was in History and Politics, and it has been wonderful to come full circle and rediscover that love again. The training schedule was busy and sometimes taxing, with weekly lectures, field trips to museums and other historical sites around Singapore in addition to weekly reading, course work and regular presentations.

Despite the hard work it has been very immensely rewarding and by far the best thing I have done in my ten years living overseas. I have enjoyed studying again, being busy and I have also made local and international friends. I am now a qualified guide and enjoy passing on what I have learned about Singapore’s rich and varied history to both tourists and locals. The Friends of the Museums organisation offers lectures, tours and study groups and if history or art interests you, it is a wonderful organisation to be involved with. Unfortunately it is also known to be addictive - I have just enrolled to undertake the training to be a guide at the Changi Chapel and Museum!

  • What life lesson have you learned during your time in Singapore?

Caroline with her dog CJ

I have always been a loyal friend and have remained in contact with people from all the various stages of my life. Staying connected with the friends you make as an expat is wonderful and knowing you have friendships and friends encouraging and supporting you from all over the world is truly special. Not being afraid to put yourself out there and creating new friendships is the most valuable life lesson I will take. In addition to this, I have discovered, although it took me a long time to get to this point, that you can create a fulfilling, creative, busy life as an expat even if you are not working in your chosen career. Not working has given me time to invest in deep friendships, learn and try new things, volunteer and pursue hobbies that I would never have the time for if I was working. For too long I framed not working as a negative and somehow as a failure, but more recently I have learned to embrace it as a positive and something to treasure.

  • When you are homesick or experiencing cultural frustrations, what do you tell yourself that helps?

When I experience something different to what I am used to, I try to remember that I shouldn’t expect things to be the same as in my home country. If it was the same as the UK it would be boring and ordinary. I try to embrace the differences and seek to always remember that I am a guest here and behave accordingly.

  • What do you miss from home that you can’t find in Singapore?

The main thing I miss, aside from friends and family, is the variety that comes with the changing of the seasons. And the cold outside with the opportunity to wear boots and woolly sweaters! Otherwise, anything I can’t get here can wait until I travel home, then it becomes even more special when I get to experience it again. But having Marks & Spencer here does help!

  • What aspect of your personality has been a strength that you have relied on during your transition to Singapore?

My sense of humour and my willingness to try new things.

  • What did you do to meet people for friendships as an expat? What advice would you give first time expats?

My advice is try things, get out there and be aware that not everything will suit you or be what you are looking for. You might do a number of things just once - that’s okay. Keep looking and then after a while you will start to find something that sticks and people who stick too! The expat population is transient, so I would also advise that you work hard to keep your friendship group evolving over time to avoid the sense of being the one who is “left behind” when friends leave or repatriate.

  • What is your favorite Singapore holiday to celebrate (e.g. Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Haji, Qing Ming, National Day, Deepavali)? How do you celebrate it?

Chinese New Year is the most special holiday for my family as it reminds us of the wonderful time that we had living in China. We have a feast on Chinese New Year’s Eve - with fish and dumplings to bring us good fortune for the year ahead. And aside from Christmas, it is the only time that I will make an effort to decorate our home for the festivities.

Thank you, Caroline, for your wonderful insights!


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AWA members are women who come from many countries and life experiences but they all have one thing in common — they have chosen to live in Singapore. Some members are new to Singapore,  while some have been here a long time or have returned to Singapore after time away. Our magazine - written and curated by AWA members - focuses on a diverse range of topics including wellness and family, travel tips, cultural events and information, and other helpful tips around navigating and experiencing life in Singapore to it's fullest. 

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