If you want to experience the best of the East and the West, Singapore stands out as the top destination for foreign students aiming for high-quality education. It is also a great location for adventurous students who would love to have easy access to popular Southeast Asian destinations.
If you think you may like to study in Singapore, it is best to know the pros and cons of staying there before making a move. Read on to get to know what these are and let us know your verdict!
Pros of Studying in Singapore
English is the Medium of Instruction
Singapore is in Asia, but you do not need to worry about learning a brand new language to get into a university. English is the language used for teaching inside the classroom and it is also common to speak English outside of a university setting.
However, you had better check if the university you like requires a certificate that proves your fluency in English or provides an English proficiency examination before admission.
Less Expensive University Fees Compared to US and UK
Singapore is indeed expensive if you compare it to its Asian neighbours, but if you compare it with the other popular destinations for studying abroad like the US, UK, or Australia, you will see how Singapore is far more affordable than these destinations.
Remember that total fees for undergraduate and postgraduate studies may differ depending on the course you take and the university you choose.
Singapore has some of the highest ranking universities in the world including the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. There are also foreign universities with branches in Singapore like the Chicago Business School and Technische Universität München that can provide the same quality of education as their main institutions.
Singapore may be a small country but it is rich in different cultures that you likely will be curious to experience. See diverse ethnicities, religions, food, architecture, and cultures blend together in one place. You can get to know about other cultures right away inside the classroom.
Safe and Comfortable Environment
Singapore is known to be a country with strict laws. However, you can guarantee yourself that these laws helped create a safe space for locals and foreigners.
Moreover, the country’s well-developed infrastructure and convenient transport system make it easier for foreign students to roam around the country with ease.
A Wide Range of Business Programmes
Singapore is often a considerable option for studying business because of its popularity as an innovative and competitive country in the field. Big companies and even startups are common there.
In Singapore where business, investments, and entrepreneurship are everyday keywords, you will not have a hard time finding the best MBA specialisation for you.
Cons of Studying in Singapore
Although English is the language for teaching, the diversity of cultures in Singapore has made way for locals to have their own unique language: Singlish.
Singlish is a mix of Malay, Tamil, Hindi, Hokkien, Mandarin, and English that you will surely hear when you stay in the residential areas of Singapore. You can even just go to a nearby hawker centre or market and you will probably encounter the language.
The language itself is not a big disadvantage to studying in Singapore, but it would be helpful to have a grasp of it while staying in the country.
Maintaining a Budget
It can still be pretty expensive to live in Singapore especially when you like to hang out in bars and restaurants. The country is small so rental spaces are expensive, and so are utility bills. Do not get shocked when food and drinks are far more expensive than what you pay in your hometown.
If you want to eat out on a budget, there are many hawker stalls available which can be the best places to see the local culture and have a taste of local food. There are around 13,800 hawker stalls around the country.
Realistically, it is best to get cooking if you want to save more without starving yourself. You can get to cook your favourites too as Singapore’s markets will have the ingredients you will need.
International Student Limits
Although the country welcomes foreigners, the government has capped the number of international students in universities since 2011. It brought down the number of foreign students from 18% to about 15%.
The cap may not affect you depending on the field of study you want to pursue, but do not expect to see as many foreign students compared to the US and Europe.
Are you interested in studying in Singapore? If you’re currently studying in Singapore, let us know your thoughts about your university here.
Editor’s note: This article was first published on the 9th of July 2018. We’ve updated it for current readers.