Singapore is a remarkable country. Known as one of the “Four Asian Tigers,” Singapore has experienced rapid economic growth while simultaneously becoming one of the freest economies in the world. The stereotypes of Singapore as being too politically authoritarian and rigid (chewing bubble gum is banned) disregard the country’s complete other face.
Singapore is composed of 60+ islands and home to four official languages: Malay, English, Tamil, and Mandarin Chinese. That Singaporean culture is so diverse makes studying at the universities in Singapore much more enticing.
Studying abroad in Singapore is best for students who only speak English and are interested in Asia, city life, mixed cultures, languages, high standards of living, food.
There are three universities in Singapore: the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Nanyang Technological University, and the Singapore Management University. NUS has the only public policy school in all of Southeast Asia and ranks amongst the top 50 universities globally. Although there are only a handful of universities to choose from, you have a few study abroad options if you want to get to Singapore.
The first option is to enroll directly into your university of choice. If the university you attend is not a partner of the university you want to study in during your time at Singapore, some universities like the National University of Singapore offer a non-graduating program for exchange students.
Enrolling through a provider program rather than directly on your own may streamline the process and also gives you access to assistance when it comes to housing, activities, and visa applications. This is a good option for those who have unfamiliar with traveling and studying abroad. However, it also may limit your area of study or the locations you can visit. Check the provider programs available to determine which option is the best fit for you.
How to Choose a Program
Because Singapore is a smaller country, finding the perfect match for you may need some work. Language, housing, and the types of courses offered should all influence your final decision.
Because English is one of Singapore’s official languages, it is the main language of instruction for most academic topics. About 35% of the 4.5 million people speak Mandarin but by no means will you need a sound knowledge of Mandarin to get around and learn effectively. If you’re interested in experiencing Asian culture without battling the language barrier, Singapore may be a good fit for you.
In many programs, students can experience a home-stay for a more personal and culturally immersive experience. Alternatively, they can live independently with other students in city apartments. Education First’s Program in Singapore offers both options. Programs like GlobalLinks offers hotel stays as a form of accommodation for their students.
Globalinks offers Asian history and Mandarin classes at the University of Singapore. Similarly, Education First sponsors a Singaporean program in English that covers subject areas from political science to biology.
The standard of living in Singapore is high, so be prepared to spend more than you may be used to. This will, however, vary based on your area of study and the type of lifestyle you lead. While in Singapore, plan to budget up to $100 USD a day on food, housing, transportation, personal expenses, and outings -- less if food and housing is provided for you in your program fees.
Depending on the type of program, the provider, and the length of your stay, the cost of studying abroad at Singapore can range from $5,000 to over $20,000. On average, programs cost around $10,000 for a summer or semester long stay.
Scholarships are available for students with needs. Singapore University provides a generous scholarship to help ease your experience while studying abroad.
- The Education Abroad Network Sequel Scholarship has a variety of scholarships for undergraduate students studying in East or Southeast Asia.
- Freeman Awards for study in Singapore are generous financial packages to help U.S. undergraduates.
Contributed by Daniel O'Kelly
Study Abroad Programs in Singapore
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