ITE graduate left Singapore for US at 26 years old and flourishing after 15 years

Each year, about 10,000 Singaporeans study and work abroad and many never want to return to a pressure-cooker environment whereby transport is a hassle with frequent break-down and more damagingly the ultra-expensive cost of living coupled with our super-low corporate wages.

Meet Jess who went to the US at the age of 24 armed only with a ITE (its-the-end) certificate and never look back.

After living in the US for more than 10 years (green-carded), married now with two kids and having a thriving career, she still yearns for the day to return home when her kids grow up.

Transitioning: Describe abit about yourself e.g. personal particulars, educational qualification, work experience.

Jess: ‘I once was lost but now am found’ – This phrase sums up who I am.  I am in my early 40s.  I work in a fairly new industry as a Scheduler/Recruiter in an all American company based in Georgia specializing in market surveys (mystery shopping).

I can say that I am a very adaptive person and dare to be different.  I branched out into a new industry which is relatively unheard off in Asia and has only been around for about 25 years in the US.  I am good with people and I scheduled hundreds of people off to work in mystery shopping monthly.

My educational qualification I would say is not fancy.  The only business related education I got was from ITE Bishan.  I graduated with a Certificate in Business Studies (Secretarial Practice).  While in the US, I completed a Christian Counselling associated degree with Liberty University at Lynchburg, VA.

Transitioning: Where are you living now and why do you choose that location?

Jess: I live in Pennsylvania and I stumbled upon where I live now by chance (destiny).

Transitioning: Did you face any adjustment problem initially when you make the move? Any regrets so  far?

Jess: I arrived with only $500 in my pocket, initially hoping that by following an ex-boyfriend to US when he got posted back, that I would be living a happily-ever-after life with him but it did not turn out as I hoped.  We broke up and he threw me out on the street with my belongings about a month after I arrived.

As determined that I was, I made up my mind that I am not returning to Singapore in this state of despair and be a laughing stock so I stayed.  I met a Christian family who took me in and let me stay for free in their house for about 6 months so that I can get started.  I adapted and made many adjustments, being bilingual was a great asset for me and I landed a job with a Chinese manufacturing company which hired me and went on to sponsor a US permanent residency (greencard) for me.  I worked with them for about 12 years.  I have no regrets leaving Singapore and eventually have a family in US.  However, my packing up and left with a boyfriend was not the best example to follow (haha..)

Transitioning: How is the family coping currently? Are they happy or do they want to move back to Singapore?

Jess: I was 24 and single when I arrived in the US so my family did not come with me when I arrived.  In fact, I got married and formed my family here.  Currently, I am happily married with two children a boy and a girl age 12 and 8 years old respectively.  They are happy to visit their grandparents in Singapore but unwilling to move back for now.  I will leave them to decide for themselves when they get older.

Transitioning: What precious lessons did you learn from living abroad? Will you do it again if given the choice?

Jess: The precious lessons I learn while living abroad is no job is too below me as long as it is an honest living.  I learnt to be humble, accepting of imperfections and that I must love what I do in order to enjoy work.  The dollar amount is insignificant.

Transitioning: Was it difficult to get jobs while staying abroad? Describe your job search experience and how different it is from Singapore.

Jess: My job search was easy because there were many church people helping me get started and referring me to suitable jobs.  I was able to get a job relatively fast because I was effectively bilingual.  To this I give the Singapore education system great credit for providing me with such a good bilingual (English/Chinese) language education.

To this day, my language skill is still being utilized even in an all American company where they will have client projects translation for me to work on.

Transitioning: Do you want to return to Singapore eventually or prefer to settle down in your new place permanently?

Jess: I hope to return one day, when the children are grown.

Transitioning: What are your main reasons for wanting to move overseas?

Jess: Being an ITE graduate in the 90s was like an outcast of society.  A lack of prospects and job opportunities were the main factors I left Singapore.  I did not want to let an educational certificate determine my future of working as a secretary or in administrative work forever.  I was very determined to leave.  Young and wild.

 

 

Gilbert Goh

 

 

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23 Responses to “ITE graduate left Singapore for US at 26 years old and flourishing after 15 years”

  • Amos exposed PAP hypocrisy:

    I am sure brat Amos will also be a success in the US. US has its problems but it is a big country with opportunities and unlike Singapore paper qualification does no determine your future.

    Singapore has many paper-generals in Government who studied in top universities overseas but the country is a mess. They are only “good-on-paper”. Want proof? Just look at LHL and your current situation. Aren’t you and your family worse off since he became PM?

    Bottom line: LKY’s PAP “picks-the-winner” scheme is a failure because its main objective is political not economic. Bury his arrogant, self-serving, incompetent and pro-alien party with him at the next GE.

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  • Trust only myself:

    Jess left Singapore for US at 26 or 24……confused or typo error?

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  • exSG:

    Yeah, I agree with Jess, Sillypore will meet with its downfall once the new PM takes over. I may be born here but what the gahmen has taught us is every man for himself and so it shall be. No use helping Sillypore. I say, earn as much as you can and f*** off out of this doomed place. Sure there are troubles everywhere you go in the world but its the troubles here that will bring about its downfall.

    To someone here and I will repeat what his brother said. I have not confidence in you and your gahmen. We lack faith in you.

    Last but not least, anyone wants to see how he shakes hands with the most powerful leader in the world, go to

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUWjHn-NPFQ

    hahaha

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  • Take care of yourself:

    Red dot is only reserved for scholars.

    Can volunteer for $million job and keep it even if fail to perform.

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  • LIONS:

    Blame is on lee ah long for dumping aliens here n offering our decent jobs to them.
    Fark lee ah long,nothing more to say.

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  • Rabble-rouser:

    The frank advice I would give to many young S’poreans is to get off their butts [leave parents & their comfort zone] & venture overseas like Jess did. The problem is not only with the PAP but also with S’pore parents who had bought into PAP’s Prosperity Doctrine [Lock, Stock & Barrel] which IMO is obsolete in today’s Knowledge Economy. Too many S’porean parents are still wedded to the PAP’s extinct Ideal of a Meritocratic World with a Job-centric focus of a good academic education -> well-paid jobs -> expensive house & continental car -> comfortable retirement with ample funds. Sadly, this ideal world concocted by PAP had evaporated into the mist around 1998 ACC, early 2000s the moment when the Internet & technology came into our lives. It is now a grim & challenging future.
    The PAP themselves are unable to come to grips with the Knowledge Economy & the Technologically Disruptive Future. Our PM LHL even had to resort to reading & re-reading his father’s historical speeches for clues, directions & old ideas on how to confront this overwhelming & scary future
    PM LHL’s ‘Double Down’ bet on Globalization continuation for S’pore had completely lost everything when Donald Trump’s 1st act on coming to POTUS office on Nov 2016, was to cancel TPPA. And it is clear that the Developed Economies are ending Globalization process.
    S’pore parents are themselves hurting their own children by providing them with the comforts of life in S’pore. For example, many S’porean Millenials drive expensive Continental cars paid for & instalments funded by caring & adoring parents. Some young couples buy expensive private apartments with D/pymt supplied by parents & a portion of their mortgage paid for by them. In a sense, many of them are not even aware of the harsh realities of life because parents had provided them with a comfort zone using their savings. Those kids who have adoring parents providing them with everything will not be able to confront the future unlike a survivor like Jess. I fear the S’pore & for them.

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  • rukidding:

    Too bad tat 70# chose to be “hookwink” and live in an “artificial dream” design to “trapped” you ….but yet “managed to con you feeling asset Rich and that they are with you, for you ?

    Look at how even an Indian can become a Malay and be “approved” to take part in a Presidential election ?

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  • Hacken:

    Exactly my sentiments. PM LHL relies on the mechanisms of propaganda, of buying out young Singaporeans, and by providing bread and circuses. He bolsters this impression by providing various public amenities, ranging from the essential to the trivial and things of mere entertainment-value. This took the form of allowing electric scooters whizzing in and out like motor bikes whilst motor bikers had to pay COE, road taxes, petrol and then also easy access to loans and bank credits. Little do they realize that they are only being given back a small portion of what was initially stolen from their parents.

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  • clowns running the country:

    I came back to Singapore and remained unemployed for 4 years.

    So many of my local friends also replaced by FTs.

    You really want come back and sit around?

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  • Amos exposed PAP hypocrisy:

    QUESTION: If “ITE” stands for “Its The End”. What does “NUS” stand for?

    ANSWER: NUS stands for “No Use Singaporean”. Only “good on paper”. Also spineless – just goes with the flow. Likes “group think”.

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  • nathan:

    Those true bred Singaporeans emigrated to the USA are not dafts. Why should they return volunteeringly to Singapore to enslave themselves to the PAP government all over again from the ‘Land of the Free’ They have done their calculation correctly and well. Why should they return here to join the rat infested race in Singapore.

    They are no more quitters than the PAP, who quit on them. Augmenting the workforce with foreigners all over the world under the pretext of the 6.9M population. Welcoming foreigners with scholarships, leaving the locals to fan for themselves overseas to further their studies. Building more condominiums encroaching on public space sometimes right smacked in the heartland.

    It’s the people who borne the blunt of the costs of the G’s population policy in economic, social and cultural and political terms. The G is insidiously changing the face of the electoral demography. Half of the Singapore population structure will consists of new citizens with more PRs waiting in line to become citizens very soon to vote for the government of the day out of misguided gratitude that the PAP is a good and caring government.

    Those who went away and not coming back know the score. They be returning to a worse place than the one they have initially left behind.

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  • Bystander:

    Come back only to visit your parents, other than this, you and your kids stay put in the US. There is no future for you and your children.
    We are pushing our kids to ditch this country too.
    MRT woes, fighting with foreigners for jobs, the highest costs of living in the world, policies force thrust into our throats, enough to frighten you folks off.

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  • Homeless Cat:

    Seconded.

    nathan:
    Those true bred Singaporeans emigrated to the USA are not dafts. Why should they return volunteeringly to Singapore to enslave themselves to the PAP government all over again from the ‘Land of the Free’ They have done their calculation correctly and well. Why should they return here to join the rat infested race in Singapore.

    They are no more quitters than the PAP, who quit on them. Augmenting the workforce with foreigners all over the world under the pretext of the 6.9M population. Welcoming foreigners with scholarships, leaving the locals to fan for themselves overseas to further their studies. Building more condominiums encroaching on public space sometimes right smacked in the heartland.

    It’s the people who borne the blunt of the costs of the G’s population policy in economic, social and cultural and political terms. The G is insidiously changing the face of the electoral demography. Half of the Singapore population structure will consists of new citizens with more PRs waiting in line to become citizens very soon to vote for the government of the day out of misguided gratitude that the PAP is a good and caring government.

    Those who went away and not coming back know the score. They be returning to a worse place than the one they have initially left behind.

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  • Migrated:

    She was lucky to go on free ride to USA courtesy of her ex bf.

    Don’t think she could go there on her own merits via skilled migration armed with only ITE cert.

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  • gvybhunj:

    Not all can be like her

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  • dxrcftvg:

    gvybhunj:
    Not all can be like her

    but all can try.

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  • Jess is a smart woman:

    Jess is a smart woman. She has the x-factor to venture and determination to achieve her goal.

    Clap! Clap! Clap!

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  • oxygen:

    @ Rabble-rouser

    THE BABY-BOOMER GENERATION HAVE A LOT TO BE BLAMED TOO – they are the only generation that take cares of their aged parents and sacrifice much of whatever they accumulated on the millennial generation. The result is a caterpillar generation which seat-warmer called the “strawberry generation” who thinks and behaves life is like an endless banquet.

    Rabble-rouser: The frank advice I would give to many young S’poreans is to get off their butts [leave parents & their comfort zone] & venture overseas like Jess did. The problem is not only with the PAP but also with S’pore parents

    The strawberry generation won’t survive any fall or challenge. They behave like their parents’ accumulated wealth is like a life-long ATM.

    Rabble-rouser: Those kids who have adoring parents providing them with everything will not be able to confront the future unlike a survivor….. I fear the S’pore & for them.

    How can such dumb parents providing a larger proportion of their kids mortgage and car think their kids got hope of survival when they are gone or their $$$$ depleted at the ATM.

    To make that worst, their housing costs is inflated of false affordability reach because interest rate is at 30 year low. Having over-leveraged means they are forced to live with thin margin of savings. When the artificiality of banquet lifestyle choice turns adverse, they got wafer thin margin of cushion support of debt-servicing capacity. Minus income loss via a job loss or or financial resources erosion if their parents’health care costs skidded on sudden escalation, they have no fighting chance even if they try hard at limited adjustment of their standards of living – still trapped by mortgage burden and car expenses.

    I suspect that those who committed on property at its last cycle peak of 2011/2012 – backed by strong financial backing of parents – will be trapped as interest rate must inevitably move up from this point. When the days of reckoning comes, my best guess is a lot of these condos will be on cheap stop-loss selling spree – each waiting to find buyers but instead finding a lot of eager desperate sellers like themselves seeking an exit door at survivable loss.

    CHINESE WISDOM SAYING IS NOT WRONG – no banquet lasts forever. A lot of millennials are not aware of this and they don’t understand wealth must be earned on your own before it is available to spend.

    Right now, when the crash comes, THEY GOT NO PILLARS TO GRAB AND HANG ON TO.

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  • Dr. Chan:

    Just wondering how she could get a Green card without marrying her ex-boyfriend and armed with only an ITE cert.
    Even Fake/fraud marriage needs at least 2 years to change Conditional green card to Unconditional after verifying that the marriage is real.
    Also, one needs at least a bachelor’s degree and a job offer with verifiable income to qualify for a H1-B.
    I went to Med School. Took me 10 years to get my green card.
    This story doesn’t make sense.

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  • Free Rider:

    of courses can, how you think so many FT in SG? all got merits? all got skills? got real cert from real university, you heng already!!

    Migrated:
    She was lucky to go on free ride to USA courtesy of her ex bf.

    Don’t think she could go there on her own merits via skilled migration armed with only ITE cert.

    ““Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!””

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  • Dr Tan:

    My brother is a dentist further his training in USA, it took him more than half a decade to get his green card but my cousin whom married an American got her green card earlier than my brother, it’s definitely quicker to migrate to USA by spouse visa than skilled migration.

    That ITE lady was very lucky to catch a free ride to USA from her ex boyfriend.

    Dr. Chan:
    Just wondering how she could get a Green card without marrying her ex-boyfriend and armed with only an ITE cert.
    Even Fake/fraud marriage needs at least 2 years to change Conditional green card to Unconditional after verifying that the marriage is real.
    Also, one needs at least a bachelor’s degree and a job offer with verifiable income to qualify for a H1-B.
    I went to Med School. Took me 10 years to get my green card.
    This story doesn’t make sense.

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  • Green Card of USA:

    even quicker if you make million$$ salary.

    “EB-5 application can be approved in less than 1 year”

    http://www.visaamerica.com/our_services_overview/

    Dr Tan:
    My brother is a dentist further his training in USA, it took him more than half a decade to get his green card but my cousin whom married an American got her green card earlier than my brother, it’s definitely quicker to migrate to USA by spouse visa than skilled migration.

    That ITE lady was very lucky to catch a free ride to USA from her ex boyfriend.

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  • Green Card of USA:

    EB-3: for unskilled workers (employer/sponsor required), skilled workers and professional workers (with university degree).

    The above is called “Employment Based Green Card”. No problem with ITE cert or no cert, as long as sponsored by employer.

    H-1B Visas are “TEMPORARY VISAS” for Workers in Specialty Occupations.

    http://www.visaamerica.com/our_services_overview/

    Dr. Chan:
    Just wondering how she could get a Green card without marrying her ex-boyfriend and armed with only an ITE cert.

    Even Fake/fraud marriage needs at least 2 years to change Conditional green card to Unconditional after verifying that the marriage is real.
    Also, one needs at least a bachelor’s degree and a job offer with verifiable income to qualify for a H1-B.

    I went to Med School. Took me 10 years to get my green card.
    This story doesn’t make sense.

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