An International Student’s Guide to Living in Singapore
- 20th March 2018
- Student life
Singapore’s first-rate infrastructure, extensive transport system, and high-quality education system contribute to her status as one of Asia’s most liveable cities. The country is also known for its multi-cultural diversity and delectable fare, hence it is no surprise that people from all over the world continue to flock here every year.
If you have your sights set on studying in Singapore, there are things you can do to make your stay here much smoother. Read on for six tips to survive the city jungle:
Settle your accommodation before moving
Choosing a suitable accommodation is one of the most important decisions you will make as an international student coming to Singapore. For peace of mind, we recommend that you look for accommodation before you arrive in Singapore as there is usually strong demand for good units. The sooner you search, the higher your chances of finding a place that meets your needs and budget.
From hostels to HDB flats, there is a variety of accommodation for you to choose from. Some factors to take into consideration include:
- Cost – This includes the unit’s monthly rental fees, rental deposit, security deposit, administrative charges, agent fees, etc. It’s also good to note that housing in Singapore can be more expensive within the city area.
- Location – Besides being conveniently located, check if amenities like public transport, grocery stores, food outlets and banks are easily accessible from the apartment.
- Length of Lease – The minimum lease of a unit is typically one year, but do negotiate and settle the terms of lease with your landlord.
- Others – Consider the type of premise, unit size, and the furnishings provided. You should also consider the number of people you will be staying with. If you aren’t comfortable with crowds, look for units with fewer tenants.
Familiarise yourself with our public transport
Singapore’s public transport system is highly interconnected – you can easily travel from the heartlands to the city in 15 minutes! Trains are the fastest way to travel around in Singapore while buses can get you to more specific or remote places. An EZ-Link card is necessary for travel on public transport and can be purchased at any train station or 7-11 store.
Improve your English
Although Singapore has a multi-ethnic society, the most common language spoken in the country is English. In Singapore, there are English programmes catered to students of all proficiency levels. Such programmes will not only help you to improve your pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary but also enable you to use English academically and professionally.
Join campus activities
Being so far away from home for a long period of time can be difficult for many students. Participating in campus activities is a good way to forge friendships, gain meaningful experiences, and contribute to the school. It will also allow you to learn more about yourself and develop your soft skills. Plus, your involvement in such activities will add value to your resume!
Seek out good study spots
Studying in public places is common in Singapore. Just visit any Starbucks outlet and you will likely see a row of students absorbed in their study notes. Besides cafes, other conducive study spots include community clubs, library@orchard, Changi Airport, and 'pay-per-use' study spaces such as Desk Next Door and The Study Area.
Read up about local cultures and customs
When you’re on foreign land, the last thing you’d want is to offend the locals and be labelled as an uncouth tourist. Do some research about the cultures and customs in Singapore before you roam the streets. Furthermore, Singapore has strict regulations on things like alcohol and smoking, so be sure to find out more about the dos and don’ts to avoid getting into trouble.