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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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FOREIGN STUDENT CAN’T MAKE FRIENDS IN S’PORE, “NO ONE INTERESTED TO SPEND TIME WITH ME”

I’m a foreign PhD student at a research institute in Singapore (no classes, just private research). Scientists aren’t generally known for being a sociable bunch, but I have really tried to make friends with my Singaporean colleagues.

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However, none of them are interested in spending any time with me outside of work, even lunch is a struggle (it probably doesn’t help that most are older than me). I feel quite isolated generally.

I’ve been here a year and through circumstances, the only people I have managed to accumulate as friends are a few other foreigners from various parts of the world, this was by no means a conscious decision and none are even from my home country.

Whenever I read complaints about annoying ang mo who don’t integrate, I feel like I am reading about me and that’s not who I want to be. I really want to make some more friends and spend more time with actual Singaporeans but I have no idea how. I’m sick of being sat alone in the corner of my local hawker feeling sorry for myself.

I am definitely not rich, my PhD is funded by the institute and I get a small stipend to live off that mostly goes on rent, so it’s not like I can do lots of activities on the weekends.

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When I do go out, it seems that everybody is already with their clique and people really don’t seem to interact outside of it. I tried joining free exercise classes on Healthy 365 but there doesn’t seem to be any young people. So my question is this…

Where can I meet young (20’s / 30’s) Singaporeans on a budget?
Where should I be hanging out?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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