Tips to Grow your Community in Singapore

Whether you’re new to Singapore or a long-term resident who wants to grow your network, there are plenty of groups to help you.

Facebook group Expats in the East organises a Halloween meet-up IRL

Meeting Online
Facebook abounds with expat groups. Some groups arrange offline meeting for members, or you can arrange your own. The Meet Up app also has lots of niche groups, so no matter what you’re looking for, chances are there’s a group for it. meetup.com

Expats in Singapore is probably the largest of the expat Facebook groups here, with nearly 24,000 members. It’s run by Aussie expat and local DJ Andrew Mackay. “A friend of mine was an admin but he wasn’t really that involved, so I took it on. I wanted to develop a Facebook group that would play a useful role in people’s lives, instead of just being a noticeboard for ads. Members arrange informal get togethers, from ‘who’s up for Futsal on Friday evening’ to ‘I’m new in town, let’s meet for drinks’.” facebook.com/groups/124648157604640/

Expats in the East was set up by British expat and East Coast resident Kate Moreau in 2017, and now has over 1500 members. “I had been an admin on some of the big Singapore groups (Storks’ Nest and East Coast Mums’ Support Group) but I realised that there wasn’t a vibrant group on the east for anyone who wasn’t a mum. I wanted to offer a resource for men, singles and non-parents. We started a Book Club through the group and last year we were instrumental in organising a Halloween Trick or Treat in Opera Estate in Siglap. It was huge and loved by many. We are planning to join forces with the local Neighbourhood Officer this year for an even bigger event! I think being active in a smaller Facebook group specific to your needs can be immensely rewarding in a new country.” facebook.com/groups/ExpatsInTheEastSG

Also check out: Singapore Expat Wives, Singapore Expat Husbands, Storks Nest (for parents), and Singapore Expat Newbies, all on Facebook.

Books & Beer is a book swap meet-up with a difference

Meeting Face-to-Face
As well as the many groups that ANZA offers, check out some of these fun local meetups:

Books & Beer is a book swap club that meets regularly at different bars, cafes or restaurants. Bring a few pre-loved books to swap, grab a drink and have a chat with other avid readers. Singaporean founders, Melissa Low and Eileen Lee, say: “Part of what we wanted to do was to bring about a revival in the reading culture. Having books as a common topic definitely helps strangers interact, you get far less awkwardness.” They regularly get 60-80 people at the swaps and special events. “Our collaboration with The 1925 Brewing Co. for the ‘Buy SingLit’ campaign promoted not only Singapore literature but also Singapore craft beer.” facebook.com/booksandbeersingapore

Friends of the Museum
All well as free entry to many Singapore’s museums, joining Friends of the Museum gives you access to their extensive program of cultural events and interest groups. An Asian Film Club, an ‘Explore Singapore’ group, a textiles enthusiasts club, and an Asian study group for people who want to learn more about this region, are just some of the ones you can join. fom.sg

Sketch your way to new friends and connections

Urban Sketchers. This group organises monthly ‘sketchwalks’ at outdoor locations around Singapore. Check their Facebook page for locations and come along with your preferred medium (paint, pencil, whatever). All levels of ability welcome. “Urban Sketchers is an international movement (with chapters in many cities around the world) of sketchers passionate about showing their world through on-location sketching,” explains Pat Ng, the chapter representative for Urban Sketchers Singapore. “It started with three people 10 years ago. Today, our sketchwalks draw 70 to over 100 people. We have sketchers aged from four to 80, but the majority are between 18 and 50. It’s a good mix of locals and expats, or sketcher friends visiting Singapore.” facebook.com/usksg

SheSays offers networking events and talks for women in Singapore

Business Networking
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or working in a multi-national corporation, networking is essential to your career. Try these groups:

Creative Mornings hosts monthly breakfast lectures aimed at creative types (like entrepreneurs, developers and designers). These free events include a 20-minute talk and coffee. Creative Mornings aims to bring people from different creative disciplines together. Recent speakers include Sonny Liew, a New York Times bestselling graphic novelist, architect Jason Pomeroy, and editor/publisher Kelley Cheng. creativemornings.com/cities/sg

Austcham or New Zealand Chamber of Commerce. Both Austcham and the NZ Chamber of Commerce have a very active program of events. These include presentations on aspects of doing business in this region, as well as more informal ‘meet and greet’ networking events. Austcham also has a social dragon boat team, and there’s a netball team for the NZ Chamber. austcham.org.sg, nzchamber.org.sg

Singapore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. From starting in business in Singapore to a free ‘create your own website’ seminar, and informal social networking sessions, SCCI has a solid calendar of events worth checking out. scci.sg
Primetime Business & Professional Women’s Association. “We usually run about 70 events in a year, featuring well-known speakers and experts. We also have special interest events, around themes such as finance, law, marketing, entrepreneurs, working moms, career, and so on,” explains Aurelie Saada, President of Primetime. primetime.org.sg

SheSays is a business networking group primarily aimed at women, but some events are open to men also. “We alternate between hosting a panel and a networking event every month – typical attendance is anywhere between 150-200 people. Our International Women’s Day Festival event in March was our most attended event ever, with over 600 women and men joining us at the Accenture Innovation Hub for a day of engaging panels and hands-on workshops,” explains Eleni Sardi of SheSays. facebook.com/shesaysSG/ SheSays