Why study in Singapore?
Singapore is a developed country with a strong and globally recognised education sector. Students from all over the world are increasingly coming to Singapore to obtain qualifications that will bring them success in the careers of their choice.
The climate in Singapore is typically tropical as the island is almost on the equator. The weather all year round is similar, with temperatures ranging from about 28 – 32 degrees Celsius. However, there is a monsoon season between November and January when there will be torrential rain almost every day in the early morning and mid-afternoon, for about an hour.
Culture and religion remain entwined in Singapore, far more than in the West. Throughout the year, a constant stream of festivals and celebrations in the streets and temples reflects the diverse beliefs and backgrounds of this multicultural society, comprising of Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs. Many of the major Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu festivals are marked by public holidays and Christmas is just one more holiday – for which shops stay open.
Cost of Living
The standard of living in Singapore is amongst the highest in Asia. Compared to countries in western continents, the cost of living here is relatively low, and basic items like food and clothing are very reasonably priced.
When planning your budget, you will need to cater for these items:
- Books & Stationery
- Medical/Hospitalisation Insurance
- Personal Expenses
An international student in Singapore spends on average S$750 to S$2,000 a month on living expenses. This amount varies depending on your individual lifestyle and course of study. These estimated cost ranges in the table below give a rough guide of the basic expenditure an international student may incur per month.
To know more about the exchange rates based in your home currency, please visit www.oanda.com/convert/classic
Item Cost Per Month (in SGD)
|Accommodation||$350 – $1,500 (rental varies with geographical area, type of accommodation, demand, facilities provided and the number of people sharing). For budgeting purposes, it would be advisable to use $550 p.m. as the basic rate for room rentals.|
|Ultilities||$50 – $80 (not applicable for boarding schools). Is often included within the room rental cost.|
|Food||$300 – $450 (Based on $10-$15 a day for 3 meals). Note: Included in boarding fees, Boarding Schools usually provide two meals a day. Not included in room rates, Halls of Residence normally offer meals at extra charge.|
|Public Transport||$20 – $100 (varies with types of student concession pass)|
|Telecommunications||From $30 (varies with usage and promotional packages subscribed).|
|Books & Stationery||$30 – $100 (varies with course)|
|Medical Hospitalisation Insurance||$5 – $8|
|Personal||$100 – $200 (varies with individuals – clothes, toiletries, entertainment, haircut, miscellaneous)|
*Please note that the average estimates were derived based on recent prices and they serve as a reference only.
Traveling in Singapore is both easy and economical. There is an efficient public transportation network, which offers taxis, buses, and the modern Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail system. With its excellent public transport system, Singapore is, without a doubt, the easiest city in Asia to get around
Singpapore’s modern Changi International Airport is vast, efficient, and organized. There are banking and money-changing facilities, a post office, which is open 24 hours a day, credit card phones, free phones for local calls, Internet facilities, free hotel reservation counters, luggage facilities, restaurants, day rooms, fitness centers, saunas, business centers, and over 100 shops. The airport even provides free films, bars with entertainment, hairdressers, medical facilities, a swimming pool, and even a mini Science Discovery Museum. In other words, Changi International Airport has almost everything a visitor would require.
There are three airport terminals: Terminal 1 – 3. The Changi Skytrain, which is a monorail, shuttles between the terminals. Located on the extreme eastern end of the island, the airport is about 20km from the city cente and is connected to the rest of Singapore via the MRT system.
Singapore has over 15,000 air-conditioned taxis, which provide comfortable, hassle-free traveling at reasonable costs (though higher compared to public buses and trains). Visitors can flag them down anytime. To further ease visitors, well marked taxi stands are available outside most major shopping centers and hotels. An extra charge will be added during peak hours, as well as for advanced booking.
Clean, punctual and air-conditioned, Singapore’s MRT subway system is a hallmark of efficiency. It is the easiest, fastest, and most comfortable way of getting around Singapore within minutes. Do note that there are fines for littering, smoking, eating and drinking in MRT stations and on board the trains. The MRT operates from 6 a.m. to midnight at frequencies of 3 to 8 minutes.
Singapore’s bus network is extremely frequent and comprehensive. Visitors rarely have to wait more than a few minutes and a bus will get them anywhere. If you are planning to travel a lot by public transport, it is best to purchase a copy of the TransitLink Guide, which has a list of all bus and MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) services. You can also buy the TransitLink Card, a stored value card that can be used on both the MRT and bus. Most buses operate between 6 a.m. to midnight.
As the young middle class begins to spend more on entertainment, Singapore’s nightlife has also grown with its increase in interesting night spots. There are a large number of bars and discos, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated in Singapore today. Pool, wine, and cigars are the norm and that is what the young-at-heart are indulging in these days at the various groovy hangouts. Visitors can choose between exciting bars, clubs, discos, and karaoke. Serious “fun” is also available in the form of Chinese street operas, night markets, theater productions, classical music performed by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, dances performed by the Singapore Dance Theatre, international bands, and off-Broadway productions. Singapore’s nightlife does, indeed, make the country a truly bustling city.
Eating is a national pastime in Singapore. Furthermore, with the variety of places to enjoy this pastime, it is no surprise at all if the phrase “eat to your heart’s content” had originated from Singapore.
Malay, Chinese, Indonesian, Peranakan, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Korean cuisine, and more compete one another in the “battle of the taste buds”! On top of that, there is Singapore’s vast array of hawker stalls and restaurants that range from global franchises to gourmet delis to posh six-star settings. To further promote this delicious pastime, there are seemingly endless food promotions and tours – including the Singapore Food Festival in July – which are held throughout the year.
Furthermore, food and entertainment often go together like hand and glove. Many places offer both excellent food and entertainment options, thus enabling you to enjoy the best of both worlds in one location.
Indeed, all these attractions have created a food paradise like no other. Food has become something that is thoroughly appreciated by every Singaporean and visitor alike.
A passenger service charge should be incorporated in the air ticket (including tickets issued outside of Singapore). If this has not been done, you may be required to pay the charge during check-in. In some cases, the airline may absorb the service charge. Passengers who are in transit for less than 24 hours may leave the airport without having to pay the service charge upon departure from Singapore.
It is perfectly safe to drink water straight from the tap in Singapore. However, for those who prefer bottled mineral water, local supermarkets and grocers always have ample stock.
The electrical current in Singapore is 240 volts AC, 50 cycles per second. Singapore uses the square-shaped three-pin plug. You may need an adapter or transformer for foreign appliances, which are available at most hardware stores.
Drug abuse is viewed very seriously in Singapore. Illicit traffic of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances is strictly prohibited.
Travellers across the world are understandably more concerned about personal safety and security issues today than ever before. The Singapore Tourism Board would like to assure all visitors that the situation in Singapore remains calm and stable and it is business as usual.
The Singapore Government has and will continue to be vigilant in ensuring that Singapore remains safe. It has stepped up security measures at key installations and other sensitive places. The Government has also made it known that extremism originating from religion or race has no place in Singapore and it will not hesitate to take action against any extremist or terrorist groups or individuals.
Smoking is not permitted in public service vehicles, museums, libraries, lifts, theatres, cinemas, air-conditioned restaurants, hair salons, supermarkets, department stores and government offices, etc. Offenders can be fined up to SGD 1,000.
Tipping is not encouraged as most hotels and restaurants in Singapore already levy a 10% service charge on customers’ bills. Tipping is not a way of life in Singapore and is prohibited at the airport.
Work / Employment
International students are not allowed to engage in any form of employment, whether paid or unpaid, or in any business, profession or occupation in Singapore during the validity of their Student Pass unless they have the consent in writing from the Controller of Immigration. Violators will be prosecuted by law.
The exceptions are for full-time undergraduates of Polytechnics and Universities that are allowed to work part-time of up to 16 hours per week during school term. However, they need to obtain permission from the Student’s Liaison/Affairs Office of their respective Polytechnics and Universities. During their vacations, they are allowed to work full-time as the Ministry of Manpower has exempted them from applying for work permits.
In addition, foreign students who are full-time matriculated or registered students of institutions approved by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) are exempted from the Work Permit regulations. They can work part-time during term time for less than 16 hours per week, as well as full-time during school vacation period.
Before you look for part-time or vacation employment, please gather more details, ensure you meet the conditions and seek prior approval from the approved institutions (Immigration Department). Sometimes, the employer may require a letter of authorisation from the approved institutions to indicate that the students are allowed to work during the school holiday.
For details of the Work Permit Scheme, students can also contact the Work Permit Department of the Ministry of Manpower during the official operating hours:
Work Permit Department
Ministry of Manpower
18 Havelock Road
OneCall Centre: (65) 6438 5122
Fax: (65) 6539 5344
8am to 5.30pm (Monday to Friday)
8am to 1pm (Saturday)