Also known as the “Lion City”, Singapore is a cosmopolitan city-state with a high quality of life, especially in terms of safety and health. Four major ethnic groups live side by side: the Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians, whose respective influences and heritage blend to provide Singapore with a strong multicultural identity, faithfully reflected in the city’s extraordinary culinary culture!
As a world-leading financial center, Singapore has strong ties to the West and the East, despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world (according to the latest Mercer cost-of-living index), it also remains one of the most popular destinations for expatriates worldwide.
Why study in Singapore?
Quality education and hectic student life
Singapore may be a small city, it is inhabited by more than 5.4 million people and has the highest population density in the world after Monaco. Singapore is alive with life, day and night. There’re 50,000 international students enrolled in the universities in Singapore (excluding university exchanges)!
As one of the most expensive cities in the world, Singapore is ranked 20th in the ranking of the QS best Student Cities 2019. Students enjoy not only the urban, dynamic and multicultural lifestyle of the City, but also the provisions offered to finance their studies. You will be able to work in Singapore during your studies and will be able to claim many academic scholarships.
From an academic perspective, Singapore is proud to have one of the best education systems in the world and continues to adapt its training system by putting innovation and the pleasure of learning at the heart of its concerns. . Two Singaporean universities rank among the top 15 in the world according to the 2020 QS World University Rankings.
A springboard to Asia
Singapore’s excellent geographic location makes it an ideal base for exploring other Southeast Asian countries. It is not uncommon to go to Malaysia or Thailand for the weekend. As for Indonesia, Cambodia, China or India, they are only 5 or 6 hours away.
France and Singapore
France has strong links with Singapore, especially in education. The number of French expatriates in this city-state is certainly more than 14,000 people. In addition, many French institutions have opened a campus, starting with ESSEC, EDHEC and INSEAD.
The teaching culture
You will attend lectures on the theoretical aspects at a very fast pace, as well as more practical tutorials, giving you the opportunity to ask questions and to do exercises, presentations, group work and lectures. Most local students print teaching aids before classes: indeed, the lectures are delivered quickly, which makes them difficult to follow for slow feathers!
It may seem that students are asking fewer questions in class than in France. When you want to ask a question, you will have to contact the teachers in a formal way, calling them ‘Mr’ or ‘Madam’, followed by their last name.
The scoring system depends mainly on the final exam as well as class results and group projects or compositions.
The language of instruction
The courses are taught in English and, as part of your course application, you will need to meet the university requirements for English level. There are usually several ways to do this; inquire at the university of your choice:
Take a language proficiency test, such as IELTS or TOEFL. Check in advance which are recognized by the university of your choice. High scores will maximize your chances of admission. Produce previous certificates or diplomas to certify your level of English or obtain a language exam exemption from the university.
The main universities of Singapore
The two best universities in Singapore, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), rank among the top 15 in the world according to QS World Universiy Rankings.
National University of Singapore (NUS)
Founded in 1905, the NUS, the oldest and largest higher education institution in Singapore, is an independent university, very active in the field of research. NUS ranks 11th in the QS World University Rankings 2020, and has always been in first place across the Asian continent.
To date, it brings together 17 departments and schools across three campuses, as well as three Centers of Excellence Research (NCE) and 30 university-level research institutes and centers, offering an approach aligned with global standards while remaining focused on the expertise and ideas prevailing in Asia.
The university has approximately 38,000 students, including 30% international students from 100 countries, and also offers various student exchange programs, as well as entrepreneurial internships in nine NUS schools abroad (NUS Overseas Colleges). and joint degree or double degree programs with universities of excellence. In fact, 80% of NUS undergraduate students participate in study abroad programs at more than 300 universities in more than 40 countries.
NUS is also very active in entrepreneurial training, focusing on four areas: experiential education, business incubation, entrepreneurship development and entrepreneurship research.
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
NTU is a young university, very active in the field of research and hosting over 33,000 students in eight faculties and schools. According to the QS World University Rankings, it ranks tied for 11th with the National University of Singapore.
It was established in 1981, but was built on the foundations of earlier institutes in 1956, prior to Singapore’s independence. It is now renowned for her longstanding expertise in the fields of engineering, business and education and also offers courses in medicine, science, arts and social sciences. Five research areas are favored by the university: Sustainable Earth, Community in Security, Global Asia, Healthy Society and Learning for the Future. Did you know that NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine is a jointly run school with Imperial College London, one of the top 10 universities in the world? NTU is also home to the Singapore Environmental Life Sciences Engineering Center, the Asian Consumption Observatory, and the Singapore Earth Observatory.
NTU has established 400 partnerships and offers its students the opportunity to study at the top universities in the world, such as MIT, Stanford, Waseda or Tokyo Universities. The NTU is also a partner of large industrial companies, such as BMW and Bosch. The university has about 30% foreign students.
International candidates must have validated twelve years of general education and hold a recognized diploma of secondary education (high school), such as the baccalaureate. They must have a minimum level of proficiency in English. Some courses may impose specific or more stringent admission requirements, such as floor notes, or require skills tests. The conditions and procedures of selection depend on the universities and study programs, it is better to inform you with the university of your choice. Outstanding academic results and Olympic-level athletic performances are both highly sought after.
Once admitted, you will only have two weeks to apply for a Student’s Pass online via a dedicated platform, Student’s Pass On-Line Application and Registration (SOLAR), after which you should receive a letter of agreement in principle (IPA). This letter contains your visa and is essential for crossing security checkpoints. Be aware that upon arrival, all students must submit to and pass a medical examination and are screened for AIDS and tuberculosis (x-ray of the chest), at their expense. Medical curricula also require mandatory blood tests for hepatitis B and C. A positive health check is a prerequisite for obtaining a student pass.
Cost of life
Studying in Singapore is very expensive. An article published in 2014 also linked the increase in the cost of studying in Singapore with the decline in popularity of the city among international students. According to the Singapore Ministry of Education, the cost of studying for foreign students is 10% higher than for Singaporeans. Tuition fees range from $9,000 to $70,000 and average around $35,000. Although they are high, they are often less so than in many other Asian countries. The cost of living for international students is estimated to be between $750 and S$2,000 per month, depending on lifestyles and university courses. However, many international students are able to benefit from scholarships or grants to finance their studies. Students are allowed to work up to 16 hours part-time or full between semesters without a work permit.
Cost of studies and scholarships
Do not let tuition and the high cost of living deter you from pursuing your education in one of the most wonderful cities in the world: most universities offer exchange programs or scholarships. However, according to the Singapore Ministry of Education, you will be required to work for three years in Singapore upon completion of your studies to qualify. Therefore, be sure to check with the university of your choice.
You will find on this page plenty of scholarships, grants and support programs for students, whether Singaporeans or foreigners. Scholarships are usually awarded on the basis of academic merit and a good extracurricular course.
Among the most popular scholarships are the Singapore Embassy Scholarship of the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore, Lee Kong Chian University Scholarships at the National University of Singapore (Lee Kong Chian Graduate Scholarships at the National University of Singapore), the INSEAD and Syngenta Emerging Countries Leadership Scholarships (INSEAD), the Nelson Mandela Scholarships awarded by INSEAD (Nelson Mandela) Endowed Scholarship), the ASEAN Foundation Research Scholarship, the United World Colleges International Youth Scholarships, the Asian Development Bank Scholarship Programs, the United World Colleges (UWC) International Youth Scholarships and Japan (Asian Development Bank (ADB) – Japan Scholarship Programs) or the Science Graduate Program and Education for Agriculture and Development (SEARCA) Graduate Study Program.
Finding accommodation in Singapore at an affordable price can be a challenge. Rents range from $220 to $700 depending on the neighborhood, type of accommodation and number of people living there.
Check with the host office of your university. Student housing on campus and university residences are generally available, but in high demand. University residences are usually reserved for full-time doctoral students, and students following a research program often have priority; in addition, the default lease period is one year, which may not cover your entire curriculum.
There are, however, a number of other options, such as:
Private youth hostels can be a good alternative, although the quality and amenities vary, and cost between $140 and $440
Private apartments rented directly from the owner are the most expensive form of accommodation, with rents starting at $1,000. Sharing one with comrades will of course reduce your individual share, which should then rise to about $400 Singapore per month.
Housing Development Board (HDB) apartments can be a cheaper option than private housing: you can rent a room from $250 a month, and an entire apartment for up to $1,000 a month.
Booking in advance a short stay at a hostel can help make your arrival in Singapore more serene.
What to do in Singapore
Singapore has a thriving arts and culture scene, a plethora of malls, museums, and is also a foodie’s paradise! And as night falls, this industrious business city is transformed into a feverish nightlife center, full of nightclubs, pubs and bars with live music. The areas surrounding Clarke Quay or Orchard Road are particularly worth visiting.
Singapore also has an easily accessible ecosystem of rainforests, marshes and nature reserves. The island’s heritage trails are also a great way to discover its history, monuments and sites. If you are a sports fan, there is a wide range of first class facilities and outdoor activities such as windsurfing, wakeboarding or dragon boat racing.
Singapore’s public transport is extremely simple, with a dense network of MRT trains and buses serving most places.
Local dishes to taste at least once
The geographical location of Singapore and its busy port have made it a melting pot of cultures, imbuing the island city with flavors from neighboring countries such as Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Vietnam and even Japan ‘sublimating their influences into a gastronomic fireworks.
Many people find expensive food in restaurants in Singapore; There are, however, many choices of catering services, both on and off campus, with hawker centers being the most affordable but often the most tasty in Singapore.
From spicy crab chicken rice and fish-head curry to laksa soup to dim sum (steamed appetizers) and hand-drawn noodles, it’s all here!
Did you know?
Singapore is sometimes nicknamed ‘The Little Red Dot’, in reference to the way it is represented on many maps of the world and Asia. It is perhaps one of the smallest countries in the world, not exceeding 719km², but it is nonetheless a major power on the economic scene.