My semester abroad (February – July 2013) was really one of the best times of my life!
Due to its diversity and its central location, Singapore is the ideal place to meet interesting people from all over the world and to make great trips (for little money) across Southeast Asia!
In addition to many cultural attractions, the city has a colorful nightlife – there really is something for everyone!
That sounds exciting, would you say? Then read on 😉
Country & people
In addition to Malaysian, Chinese and Tamil, English is also the official language in Singapore – so you can be sure that you will be understood everywhere with English and that you can be helped.
Many Singaporeans speak the so-called “Singlish” – a funny “accent” that often created a good mood for us German abroad students. Words like “okay lah” or “can can” were simply adopted after a few weeks.
You can find more about this under the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb9koJlkjNc Apropros diversity – this is not only reflected in the people, but also in the food. In Singapore there is a “food court” on every corner where you can eat vegetarian, Indian, Chinese, Indonesian or European / American meals.
The city is very clean. The main reason for this is probably that heavy penalties are imposed for any kind of “wrongdoing”. For example, you are not allowed to eat or drink in the MRT (subway) (penalty: 500 SGD, approx. 300 EUR). Throwing cigarette butts or chewing gum on the floor is also a bad idea. Don’t let this put you off, though – I haven’t heard from any of the other students that they have received a sentence.
- Learn more information about Singapore and Asia on healthinclude.
Singapore also offers you a very well-developed transport network. The MRT network allows you to get around the city quickly and safely. Buses also run approximately every 10-20 minutes.
If you get late (the MRT runs until around 11 p.m.), you can also take a cheap and comfortable taxi.
In addition, you can always feel safe in Singapore. Walking through the city with your wallet in hand – you don’t have to worry about that in Singapore. You can even drink the tap water without hesitation.
What fascinated me most was that so many different cultures live together so harmoniously – you find a Hindu temple next to a mosque, a mosque next to a church. Really impressive!
To all the girls who read this: Look forward to not having to pay admission for a semester.
Every Wednesday there is free entry to Ku de Ta, 52nd floor at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. From there you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city!
For all other weekend activities there is a guest list on facebook where you can register. Here you can find out about new clubs every week, discounted entry for men and free entry for girls.
The Clarke Quay Bridge is usually the ideal meeting point to go to a location together from there.
But even if you don’t feel like going out to party – eating out on Arab Street or simply going to the Imax 3D cinema are good opportunities to spend a nice evening.
Singapore is very centrally located. That means that you can book a direct flight from Changi Airport to Kuala Lumpur, Denpasar (Bali), Bangkok, Phuket, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Sydney etc. almost everywhere. Various low-cost airlines such as Tiger Airlines (subsidiary of Singapore Airlines), Scoot, Jetstar etc. offer good value for money. You can also travel comfortably to Malaysia by bus.
James Cook University
The Australian James Cook University is well organized. The contact persons Shelly and Kim are available for questions at any time.
The JCU staff will help you with the registration as well as with the apartment search.
Two “assignments” have to be done in each subject. Mostly in the form of a presentation, an essay or an online quiz. With a little diligence, however, these can be mastered easily. At the end of the semester, a “final exam” is written in each subject.
The lecturers at JCU are also very friendly. However, there are a few things you need to be clear about: The level at JCU is definitely lower than at your home university. Nevertheless, the demands made are relatively high. I would like to give a brief example of this: After a presentation, the lecturer gave only positive feedback. He said before the course that it was one of the best presentations he had heard in the subject. Nevertheless, the result was 75 points, which is just a two at our home university. Students who had been studying at JCU for a long time told us that it would be impossible to get 100 points.
Cost of living
Singapore is not a cheap country. Groceries are relatively expensive, e.g. a mug of Philadelphia costs SGD 5.60.
In that time you learn to do without a few things – but when you travel to the surrounding countries you can really enjoy yourself again.
For a double room in an 8-person shared apartment, my fellow student and I each paid 800 SGD + additional costs of around 30 SGD, i.e. around 500 EUR per month.
At almost every MRT station there is a shopping center and / or a large supermarket (sometimes 24 hours). If you want to go shopping – the prices at H&M and Co. are similar to those in Germany.
I am really happy that MicroEDU was always at my side with the organization and the application process!
The competent contact persons there will forward all the forms to be filled out and remind you of deadlines or that formalities are still incomplete or missing.
Otherwise I can only say in conclusion: Singapore offers you the opportunity to get to know the continent of Asia in a completely different way!