Having previously spent a few days in Singapore on my travels through South East Asia I was eagerly anticipating the opportunity to live here for six months.
As well as the chance to indulge heavily in the national pastimes of eating and shopping - both favourites of mine - it was also a chance to experience life in Asia as a resident (albeit a temporary one) rather than a backpacker.
The Lovells office here is located in the UOB Plaza building in Raffles Place. My office is located on the 59th floor with an amazing view of Marina Bay, somewhat different to my usual view of St Paul’s Cathedral.
My apartment is less than a half hour walk from the office although the 15 minute commute via the air conditioned MRT (Singapore’s underground) is a far more appealing prospect than sweating it out in 30 degree heat and 70 per cent humidity. The building also has a gym and a pool, which considering the number of eating establishments located seconds from the building are essential amenities in avoiding constant expansion of the waistline!
I am sitting within the finance team and enjoy the fact that I’ve been exposed to a range of different practice areas. I have worked on banking and project finance transactions and I’m constantly learning about this area of business. As a third seat trainee, still trying to decide in which area to qualify, the variety offered by an international secondment is proving extremely valuable in the decision making process.
One of the main advantages of a secondment to Singapore is that a number of firms send trainees here, meaning you have a ready made social network and a host of willing travel buddies. As a regional hub, many places are a mere few hours away, allowing for weekends to be spent relaxing on a Thai beach, scuba diving in the Philippines, or even trekking around the amazing temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. That’s not to say Singapore doesn’t have its fair share of weekend entertainment. Beyond the obligatory shopping trip along Orchard Road, there are a number of museums and galleries worth visiting, and although the arts scene does not rival London, there are enough plays and musicals showing to satisfy the casual theatregoer.
Of course, one of the big weekend pastimes revolves around eating amazing food in glamorous settings. Singapore’s legendary Sunday brunches involve a buffet of gourmet food consisting of delights such as Wagyu beef, lobster and the freshest sashimi, all washed down with free flowing champagne and costing less than a three course meal in most London restaurants. Each hotel has its own brunch variation and we trainees out here have accepted the mission to try them all before we leave!
Singapore is a fantastic place to spend six months and I know I’ll miss it when I leave although I suspect it won’t be long before I return again.