Studying and Living for International Students
Singapore is a multi-cultural city located at the heart of Southeast Asia and characterized by an excellent education system and a secure financial and industrial centre. Over the years, this little country nicknamed “The Little Red Dot” has built up an international reputation as a hub for top-notch education and research, alluring international students, researchers and professionals from all over the globe and is referred to as the world’s busiest port.
Singapore offers a high, yet affordable, quality of life. An international student in Singapore spends on average about SGD 750 to SGD 2,000 a month on living expenses, including accommodation, utilities, food, transport, clothing, telecommunications, books & stationery, medical and personal expenses.
Singapore offers several student accommodation options and depending upon your budget, you could choose among those alternatives. Various accommodating alternatives are: hostels, halls of residence and an independent flat.
On an average, you will shell out S$500 to S$1,000 per month for a private home stay, while you may expend S$250 on one room only to $1,000 for the whole flat per month on Housing Development board option. For hostels, the average expenditure would be S$140 to S$440 per student per month depending on the number of students sharing the room.
Halls of Residence
Halls of residence are generally for full-time postgraduates with new students in research programs often given precedence. Some universities only offer on-campus accommodation for limited period of time, generally one year.
Private Shared Flats
Private shared flats are expensive, but if shared with fellow students, cost can be thinned out. Costs will vary with size, location and the facilities provided.
A hostel is an economical accommodation with primary facilities available. The hostel rooms are available on sharing basis. Hostels vary in quality and in facilities so be sure to check the accommodation before settling.
Housing Development Board (HDB) Flats
HBD is a cheaper alternative to private housing.
Living in a Flat
This is the most expensive option and can cost anything from S$1000 upwards.
Singapore owns a very well-developed transportation system and all parts of the country are easily accessible via the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system and bus services. Travelling in and around Singapore is easy and convenient. Fares can be paid by cash or EZ-Link card which can be used for both the MRT and public buses.
Getting Around by Bus Services
Buses in Singapore generally run from 5.45am to 11pm. You can pay your fare by EZ-Link card or cash.
Travelling In and Around by MRT Services
You can pay your MRT fare with the EZ-Link card or the Single Trip ticket which can be purchased at the MRT station.
Getting Around by Taxi
Taxi service in Singapore is easily available, convenient, and moderately priced. Most cab drivers are conversant in both English and Mandarin.
EZ-Link is a contactless store-value card which is primarily used for paying public transport fares, i.e. buses and the MRT. The cost of your journey will be automatically deducted when you alight from the bus/MRT. The EZ-Link card can be purchased from any MRT station or bus interchange.
- Tertiary Student EZ-Link Card: With tertiary Student EZ-Link card you need to pay only once a month and can even go for monthly concession plans for the MRT, buses or both.
The application for your EZ-Link card can be made three to four weeks after matriculation. Simply go to www.transitlink.com.sg
to confirm your personal information before proceeding to apply for the EZ-Link card at TransitLink.
Working While Studying
International students in Singapore's public universities and polytechnics, as well as foreign institutes of higher learning, are allowed to work part-time of up to 16 hours per week during term and work full-time during vacation. They simply need to obtain prior permission from the Student Liaison / Affairs Office of their respective institutions.
Health and Safety
Singapore is a very safe place to live and study. The assistance and emergency networks in Singapore are widespread and well equipped for any potential emergencies. There are Polyclinics which are medical service providers. International students can see a doctor at any polyclinic by producing their Student’s pass. These medical service providers are inexpensive.