16 Aug First Impressions of Singapore
Nuria from the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg gives us her first impressions of Singapore while completing a Public Relations internship as one of Absolute’s Intern Heroes.
5.6 million people, 5 official languages and three major ethnic groups, all packed into an area of 719km2, a tiny country but a very big city. The first thing one notices is the striking contrast between the 30-degree temperature outdoors and the cool air inside the buildings due to air conditioning. The second thing is probably the extensive variety of street food available: Chinese, Malay, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and Western. The third thing is the welcoming nature of Singaporeans.
The heat strikes you once you get out of the office on work breaks. You and your colleagues heading to some food courts nearby. Even though I am the new intern, my workmates have been inviting me to have lunch with them since my first day. Every staff members of the company I work at has showed some interest towards me, regardless of their position.
Lunch breaks are usually long; they last more than an hour. Lunch turns into socializing experience where colleagues leave work aside and often speak about food. They have encouraged me to try local specialties normally available for a small price. My direct supervisor even bought a Durian for me, a very expensive and incredibly smelly local fruit that is not allowed to be carried on buses. Since I would not try it again, the following day they introduced me to Asian pastries. I am thankful because the whole group makes an effort so that I join in.
Even though working hours in PR are from 10 am to 7 pm, now and then the staff decide to have dinner or to celebrate their birthdays together. Their most likely choice will be Chinese food.
The office feels like a small community and its members know one another pretty well. Their attitude has been very open and my contact with locals has been very rewarding. I have also been lucky to meet other Singaporean interns my age who suggest new places to discover.
The one thing I learned my first week here is that Singaporean life revolves around local and international cuisines alike, which serves as an excuse for social interaction. Many locals I have met so far are foodies. So forget about the weather because Singaporean small talk is definitely about food!
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